Walking The Walk

by : Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 14, 2003

I have a very important question. My wife moved out of the house last year with our young son and daughter. We have done some excellent counseling and made excellent progress. She actually moved back home two weeks ago. You can't believe the relief.

We broke up because of my controlling personality, but there were no financial or drug problems, nothing of that sort. I am a physician. We had a stable home and job for 15 years. I think she just got tired of not being heard and appreciated.

I believe I have made many important changes for myself and her.

There may not be an answer to my question, but how long does it take for things to be okay again once a couple reunite? Days or months or years? I am a patient soul, but life is quite short. I guess I am asking, what does it take to soften a hardened heart and how long?


Hal, it may be possible to say how long an illness takes to run its course, but it is not possible to say when, or if, things are going to be okay with your wife.

In Stephen King's novel "From a Buick 8," there is a state police sergeant whose men trust him and know they can always rely on him. The author says, "They knew this, not because he said anything, but because he walked the walk."

Do you walk the walk of a man who loves his wife? Do you walk the walk of a man your wife can love? Are you alive to her presence? Those things cannot be faked, and your wife is sure to know the difference.

Your profession makes heavy demands on time, but life is like a box. There is only so much space. If you try to pack too much in, some items will be crushed out of existence. Do you make the time for your wife and family? Do you have that genuine desire?

We would not say you should be thinking of your wife when you are with a patient, but when you are with a patient, do you forget you are a married man with a wife you love?

To the extent the future is yours to decide, it depends on your genuine feelings. In one of the Martha Grimes mysteries, a man explains why his relationship didn't last. When I passed a flower store, he says, I didn't have the urge to buy her flowers.

Wayne & Tamara

Man Or Beast

I am a woman, 21, devoted to saving a relationship with a 31-year-old abusive, bipolar, unfaithful man-child. I must say he is a Freudian nightmare in that he has as many issues as anyone I ever met. It would be so much easier if I wasn't deeply in love with him.

He drinks and spews out the most hurtful things. When he wakes up and is sober, he does not remember what he said. I keep wondering if alcohol is acting as a truth serum, or making him say things he does not believe.

He claims sex and love are two completely different things. Although he swears he wants to be faithful to me, he keeps making the argument that men are programmed to spread their seed as widely as possible. That, he says, explains his unfaithfulness.


Stella, at 21 you are standing in the center of a circle, free to go in any direction. Why move in his direction? That is one degree out of 360, and it is one of the worst. You need to look inside and determine why you are choosing this course.

When you tell him goodbye, tell him if this was the wild kingdom, he would be one of the bucks that never got a doe. The real males would relegate him to the bachelor herd.