Dear Carolyn: My husband and I live in a rural area of our state, where our grown children will not plant roots when the time comes, maybe in about five years. I want to move near my children and possible grandchildren one day. My husband says he is never moving.

I did not live by extended family when I was a child nor did I have family nearby when raising my own. I am weary of all the driving — typically five to six hours one-way. We are close to our children and I believe they would want us close by — not on same street but the same town. This situation gives me anxiety.

I guess I just have to wait until they settle down to figure it out, but it weighs on my mind.

— Rural

Rural: You don’t “just” have to wait. You can wait and prepare.

Specifically, you can wait and scrimp and scrape and pinch and save. Every penny. Assuming you’re in a position to, of course, given the asymmetrical economic crapstorm we’re in right now.

But even if you’re stretched at the moment, look to the future you want as inspiration to stretch a little harder.

And if you own your home, then you can also tend to it as the asset you may need it to be in a few years. Decluttering, for example, is free, and useful even if you stay put. Ask a local real estate agent what steps, if any, pay off.

Because every bit of money you can secure or plan for now is power, flexibility and self-determination later. When the time comes for your children to settle, you will be so glad you thought ahead on behalf of your future self — whether these savings ultimately help finance the relocation you want, or a tiny compromise apartment just for you near the kids, or the transportation you hire to cut your driving.

Or whatever else. “My husband says he is never moving” plants a flag decisively for him. You are alert to changing circumstances and aware of your own history, needs and preferences. Use that, and your five-year lead time, to be thoughtful and proactive about what your husband’s intransigence means — and doesn’t mean — for you.

Dear Carolyn: What is the best way to support a spouse who received feedback at work regarding project-management skills that is upsetting to them? And, based on what I've seen at home, accurate. The latest nonwork example happened just yesterday.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the feedback was not delivered well — I would be upset, too.

Is there ever a time and place to address the core issues? The last thing I want to do is make them feel attacked on all fronts!

— Supporting

Supporting: I think your best option, she said ice-queenily, is not to look gift feedback in the mouth.

The loving-partner version is to prepare your spouse a favorite warm beverage and listen sympathetically. And, sure, agree the guidance was poorly delivered. But (if you’re asked) must be heeded regardless, to keep the boss happy. Right?

This true thing needed to be said, and when the workplace became the messenger, you got spared. So be as soft a cushion as you can without muffling the truth.

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