It was 9:30 pm. I was watching TV. My spouse came home, walked into the living room and asked, "Do you want something for supper? I'm going to grill some hamburgers."
Sure frustrated the heck out of me. 9:30 at night. I just responded, "No thanks. I've already eaten." Bubbling up in me was the boiling sarcasm: "Um, NO. Dinner time is between 5:30 and 6:30." I had lost a majority of these battles over the past 20+ years, and gave up the ghost on the war.
See folks, this is one of the tiny battles I cannot get my mind to accept. I had strived for a consistent, dependable dinner time when my children were growing up. Most times we ate without Dad, as he was still out on a job. After the children and I ate, I just left the food on the stove so my spouse could eat when ever he got home. A large percentage of the time, he had eaten a 'late lunch at 4 or 5' so he just put the stuff away.
Then when the late teen years arrived, each of them - one son and one daughter - were assigned a day to make supper. My goal was to teach them about nutrition and responsibility. There was only a few basic guidelines.
1. Let us know in advance if dinner will be ready later than 7 pm.
2. If you need something special from the grocery store, let me know in advance.
3. You can make the same thing every week if you want. Dinner needs 3 basic components: A main dish, and 2 side dishes. Hot dogs, chips and a fruit/vegetable is acceptable. Spaghetti, sausage links, and a salad is acceptable.
4. The goal: Learn to cook, learn about scheduling time to prepare, and share responsibility of dinner time with all family members.
My spouse had an assigned day also. He usually brought home dinner from KFC or some take-out.
The hardest thing - my spouse continually neglected his day. And then got angry at US. I heard all the excuses I care to hear. "Got hung up at work." "Time got away from me." "I forgot."
How does a person build boundaries around that scenario? It all boiled down to: I cannot rely on my spouse to do his fair share.
And that behavior permeated into all the aspects of our family life. Getting things repaired. Getting home in time for attending an event. Planning holidays. Following through on attending a family event - he consistently decided he needed to stay home and 'get stuff done.'
My children are grown, and one is married. There is no 'shared responsibility' at my house. I eat when I want. Some days my spouse still comes home and grumbles there is no prepared dinner. I have lost every shred of desire I have to make that dinner time work.
If I marked on the calendar when he neglected his day, he got angry. If I did not have marks on the calendar to chart his neglect, he denied it was happening. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. No accountability. None.
I do not need him to agree with me to know what a sad state of affairs this is. He does not see it. At all.