DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been married to my husband for 40 years, and I have this huge problem with his facial hair. He has not shaved in about 18 years, and he has a huge beard. I would beg him for years to shave it. He would laugh and tell me to deal with it. His facial hair is disgusting; food gets in it, and he doesn’t bother to clean it out. My husband and I have not been intimate in years. I find him gross because of his beard and his overall lack of cleanliness. He doesn’t seem to care at all. How can I get my husband to shave his beard? – Miss the Man I Married, Memphis, Tennessee

DEAR MISS THE MAN I MARRIED: The chances that your husband will shave his beard after 18 years are slim, don’t you think? That said, the promise of sexual intimacy is often enough to turn a man’s thinking around. Why not start a shift in your relationship? Rather than the threat of chopping off the beard, offer to groom it for him. Invite him to shower with you, and during that shower, take the lead and bathe and groom him. Or offer to give him a head and beard massage in your sink, the way we used to wash our children’s hair. The point is that if you show him that practicing basic hygiene will help the two of you to get closer, he may open his eyes to the concept.

You, in turn, will need to get your mind right on what you are willing to do to encourage the seismic change that you want. Trust that it needs to include intimacy.

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DEAR HARRIETTE: Over the past two years, I have had five jobs across the United States. Every time I take a job, I say to myself: This is the dream job, and this is where I want to live. However, after the third month of employment, I get bored, and I start to make plans to find another place of employment. This is getting tiresome because I am 45 years old, and I would like to settle down and eventually start a family. How can I find some solace in settling down? Can you offer any advice? – Drifting Memory, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

DEAR DRIFTING MEMORY: Let this be your wake-up call. For whatever reason, you have been running away from responsibility for a long time. Stop for a moment and write out a list of your choices in recent years. Make another list of your desires for the future. Compare your lists to see how you can make them compatible. To “settle down” and start a family requires a level of consistent responsibility in order for you to be successful. Perhaps your “dream job” needs to look different. Consider what your dream really is. Allow your answer to guide your steps. If your dream truly is to share and build a life with someone, look for a job that can support that.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.