Dear Ms. Belle,
My husband is a very good man. He provides well for me and our three kids. I don’t have problems with him like some of my friends who ended up separating with their husbands because of their extra-marital affairs, long trips away from home, insensitivity to their needs and such. In my case, my husband plans regular family outings for us. He also helps our kids in their homeworks. In short, he is devoted to the family. There is only one problem.
He is never on time. What seems like a small issue can be annoying so much so that it becomes a cause for a quarrel between us. The children are affected not only because my husband and I argue about it but also he makes them feel unimportant because of his propensity to be late—not to mention that it’s a waste of time for everybody. Even among friends, we have gained the reputation as “the family that arrives when the party is over.” Let me tell you about an incident. We planned to attend Sunday Mass at 9 a.m., then have lunch at the beach. We all woke up early, prepared for Mass and readied our gear for the beach. The father of the family wakes up early also, but for some reason, he takes his time by watching TV, goes down for breakfast when everybody has finished, reads the paper while eating.
And when he finishes, we are all dressed and ready to go and it is 8:30 a.m. I prod him to move faster and he says that he has to go to the toilet. He gets hold of a book and by the time he finishes it is 9 a.m. We all complained and he gets irritated, saying that he is hurrying. He bathes and dresses, and when he’s done, it’s 10 a.m. and Mass is over. We decide we go to the one scheduled at 11:30 a.m. He says there’s a lot of time. He opens his laptop and does some work. Again, we remind him of the time but he says that he is not finished yet. All in all he is ready at 12 noon.
As expected, we missed the Mass and go straight for lunch. It takes him an hour to decide where to go, and by this time the children and I have lost our appetite. More or less, this is the same scenario for all occasions. The kids sleep late because he insists on helping in homework and he arrives late in the evening. It is so irritating, frustrating… I cry many times. What do I do about my husband’s habit?
I have encountered people whose tardiness have become second nature to them. One kind is generally laid-back and passive. They are those who really take a lot of time in whatever they do, tend to go through all sorts of detail, meticulous, very cautious–you get the picture? This type of person can be very valuable in the backroom area of a corporate setting. He will take time to go over details and spot things that so-called fast thinkers and doers miss. The other type of person who is often late is plain arrogant. Everything is according to his or her time. Many bosses tend to be this way. Their time is more precious than those of his subordinates. And they expect those under them to wait. Then again, this person would be early if the person they are meeting are important enough, up there in the society ladder or someone whose favor they need. I think you need to assess your husband’s tardiness. Is he simply slow and very cautious? The conscientious type who looks into every little detail? Or does he value his time more than yours or the children’s? Does he come on time when meeting important people? If he is the laid-back type, you’ll just have to pressure him to speed up. But if he is the arrogant kind, you and the children really need to talk to him squarely about this and come up with a compromise, if not a solution.