Dear Amy: I retired from a very stressful job three years ago. I usually worked 50 to 60 hours a week.

My wife was able to quit work about 25 years ago, staying home to finish raising our son.

She is amazing, and though we have been able to afford outside help, she took care of the house and cooked most of our meals. We shared yard work about 50/50, but she ended up doing more because gardening became an almost full-time hobby for her – she is a master gardener.

When we had water leaks in the house, she learned how to repair and redo a lot of damaged sheetrock.

She took care of the family bills and almost everything that needed doing in our life. She did not seem stressed, but I know she worked hard.

Since retirement I have picked up a few duties around the house, but my wife probably still does about 60 percent inside and 75 percent outside.

We both have hobbies and friends.

I have suggested we downsize from our rather large house and large yard, but she does not want to.

I suggested hiring cleaning help years ago (even before I retired), but she does not want that.

She does not complain often about my limited contributions but when she does, she cannot understand why I don’t find yard work as fulfilling as she does.

I am not bitter at all about our arrangement, but now I want to enjoy my retirement.

We’re in our late 60s and have the time and energy now to enjoy our life.

If I want to avoid working around the house 25 to 30 hours a week, am I in the wrong?

Again, she won’t accept outside help or downsizing, both of which I am for.

– Probably Lazy

Dear Probably Lazy: This phase of your life is called “retirement,” and if you want to spend less time planting the roses and more time smelling them, you should!

Your wife should also spend this phase of life doing what she wants to do.

For gardeners, time spent in the garden is “… like a beach” (to paraphrase Emily Dickinson). What looks like work to you might be a great joy for her.

You and your wife should have a formal sit-down meeting where you mutually agree to assess where you are and discuss where you are headed. This should be the first in many conversations about your future.

You left your office when you retired, but when your life’s work is maintaining a household and garden, you are always surrounded by a never-ending chore list.

What does retirement look like for a hyper-competent drywall-hanging worker-bee? Ask your wife! (Should you take on a regular chore, like bill paying?)

Many house-proud people resist outside help. Would she be willing to hire someone to handle the mowing (or house cleaning) for a month to see how it goes?

Dear Amy: My fiancée and I are getting married this fall. We are excited, our families are excited, and our planning is chaotic but coming together.

When I learn that someone is getting married, I always congratulate them, but I’ve never asked if I was going to be invited to the wedding.

This is weird, but we’ve had several people greet our news by asking, “Are you guys going to invite me to the wedding?”

Most of these people are in our more distant circle of friends and family and a couple of them are definitely not going to be invited.

We don’t really know how to respond.

Your thoughts?

– Groom to Be

Dear Groom: Splitting hairs a bit, but “Are you going to invite me” is slightly different from “Will you invite me?” At least these people aren’t outright asking to be invited.

At this point in your planning, you should respond: “We’re still in the planning stages and are wrestling with our numbers, but we’ll send out save-the-date notices next month.”

Dear Amy: I appreciated your response to “Hanging Up,” until the last line.

This man was wondering how to cope with his stepdaughter’s frequent daily video calls where she would showcase her 3-year-old daughter.

You suggested that he should initiate a call (good idea), but then said he should open with, “How’s my adorable granddaughter doing?”

No! My stepdaughter finally told us that she felt disrespected when we always asked about her child before we asked about her. We understood.

– Successful Stepfather

Dear Successful: Great point! Thank you.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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