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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Extensive experience fostering family relationships through consultation / counseling.
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Good afternoon,Here is my concern. My wife and I have

Customer Question

Good afternoon,

Marriage concern. My wife and I have been married for 9 years. We have a great marriege and 2 beautiful kids. Ever since we have gotten married, my wife has been obsessed with work. She works long hours, when she gets home, sometimes at night, checks her emails on vacation and so forth. It is really bothering me and I have asked her to stop. I dont mean to stop working but stop coming home late, and working all the time. It has really been bothering me for a while and I cant seem to get through to her. We have had a conversation on what she wanted me to change about myself and what I wanted her to chenge about herself. I have done my part and continue to do my part but she has not. It was ok for a day or two but than it just went back to normal. Even the kids are saying that mommy is always late.

Another part that bothers me is when she has to travel for work. I dont like it and I dont want her to do it. I dont mind the occasional business trip but lately it is getting out of hand. I trust her 100% and I know I might be a bit selfish, but this is how I feel.

All of this is putting a strain on me and I dont know what to do anymore. Please help!!! This is really the only problem we are having in our marriege.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

It sounds like you'll need to revisit this conversation, but approach it differently. You mentioned that this is putting a strain on you. I'd say it's putting a strain on your marriage as well (although it doesn't sound like she understands how serious the problem is). Try sitting down with her again and simply say, "I know we've discussed this before, but perhaps I didn't make it clear how serious this is to me." While the specific plan for what you're going to do to change things is very important, it's also important to come to an agreement on the broader reasons for why this is necessary. Perhaps the conversation should begin with what is most important to both of you in your lives (priorities). Then discuss whether both of your actions in life support where you've ranked things (family, work, friends, etc.) This might help her to understand that either a) your priorities don't match or b) she's not living in a way that reflects what's most important to her.

A good friend of mine used to be a lot like your wife. He worked terribly long hours and was never home with his family. He's one of those men who is constantly under stress (work-related) and never seems to have a free moment in his day. Then his wife was in a car accident with their twin sons. He got a call from the hospital saying he needed to come right away. He later told me that was the moment when we realized how his priorities had become so far out of order. Suddenly the hectic meetings and deadlines were meaningless and he dropped everything to go to the hospital. He said it was a huge reminder of what's important in life. It's unfortunate it took something like this for him to realize this and he later told me how saddened he was that he missed so much when he put work first. You're welcome to share this story if you'd like and use it to support and explain YOUR priorities. Talk about the times you wished she was there and how this behavior affects your entire family. Try not to lay guilt here, you're putting the problem on the table and hoping to come to an agreement and brainstorm some solutions together. I wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

For Jennifer,


Thank you so much for your answer. I have talked to my wife about priorities before and she ranks her family at the top pf her list. One of the issues is that she basically does what her father thinks is right. Her father thinks that work is important and she must do whatever she has to do to get ahead.


One example I can give you is something that happened to me back in December. I became ill on the subway going home from work. When I got home the first thing I did was to call my wife and let her know what happened. Instead of rushing home to see what happened with me, she did not come home until 9 pm. I was absolutely devastated. This is not how I am or how I was raised. I would of dropped whatever I was doing and rushed home to be with her.


This is just something that is terribly bothering me and she makes me feel guilty about it everytime I bring it up. She even went as far as telling me that I am jelous of her job.


What do I do?

Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
That's certainly not an example of making family a priority in her life, is it?

It sounds like you've tried to discuss this problem several times and don't seem to be getting anywhere. I'm sorry you're made to feel guilty about all of this -- I certainly don't think this is something for you to feel guilty about wanting.

Have you considered couples counseling? Counseling is a safe place for you to share your feelings with one another and work toward a common goal under the guidance of a professional. It may be an eye opener for her if you tell her this is becoming a marriage in which you're beginning to feel unhappy and you want to do what you can to solve that problem. You're not threatening, just explaining that you've obviously come to the end of your problem solving ability as a couple (with regards XXXXX XXXXX issue) and you want help. This isn't what you want your marriage and your family time to look like and it's time to do something to change that. A counselor would help to facilitate the conversation, provide an objective perspective, and share ideas for what has worked for other couples experiencing similar issues. This would also be the ideal place for both of you to explore what your expectations are of this marriage, experiences that have shaped your values in life, and what you might want to change about your life together.

I do think this an issue that will only get worse if it's not addressed (by both of you). You'll continue to feel resentment and she'll continue to shut down and push back when the conversation arises. Ask her to go to a few counseling sessions to see if you both feel it's something that could help -- for the sake of your happiness as a couple and for your family. I hope she's open to this.
Jennifer and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

For Jennifer,




Like I told you before. My wife's job is creating a problem within our family. Everything else is great. I love her with all my heart. Her job is ruining everything. I dont want her to travel. I feel very strongly about it. I had closed my eyes on it before because it was once in a blue moon but now it becoming an every couple of weeks thing. Now there will be International travel as well. I really cannot deal with it. She says that I am selfish but I dont think so. Even if I am, if something happened to her during her travels I would not be able to live with myself.


She says that I do not want her to suceed, but that is not true. All I want for her to do is to look for a job were she can be happy and we as a family can be happy.


I know that it cant be 100% my way but it also cant be 100% her way either. She refuses to speak to her boss in regards XXXXX XXXXX traviling and calling in to the meeting like other people do when she can. She does not want to change jobs because she thinks that she is respected at her current job and wont be respected at her new job.


What do I do?

Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
It's not selfish of you to want more family time together and to ask for a compromise on an issue that's obviously impacting your relationship in a very negative way. Did you ask if she'd be willing to go to couples counseling?? Explain that you have several issues to work on... Not only the ability to problem solve more effectively, but also to help each other understand each perspective, communicate clearly, and respect one another's feelings and values. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX is an appropriate avenue for your relationship at this point since you seem to be hitting a dead end each time you bring it up (causing further resentment, more distance, potential for greater problems).
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

for Jennifer,


Thank you so much.


The last time we spoke, I gave her 3 choices.


Choice #1 - Speak with her boss and let her know that she cannot travel on business. Tell her that she would do anything possible including calling in for the meetings like other people do.


Choice #2 - Find another job that does not require travel.


Choice #3 - Consider divorce since I cannot and will not deal with this anymore. I have compromised enough. Its her turn.


She picked choice number #4 which was not even on the plate - Quit her job altogether.


So instead of working something out with her manager or looking for another job, her solution to all this is to quit her job alltogether.

Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
Is #4 an option? I'm assuming you mean she'd stop working entirely. For some couples that's a reasonable option. If it is for you as a family, perhaps it's worth considering -- with a caveat that she use the decided upon time to look at other employment options. If it's not a reasonable option for your family, then it's simply not one the two of you can consider. You may even tell her you considered her choice to see if it might be something you could possibly do and although it would be nice, your monthly budget simply won't allow it. Now that you've considered her idea, perhaps she could considered one or more of yours.

I didn't see counseling as an option... Is this something you're opposed to trying for the sake of saving your marriage?

How did she react when you mentioned the possibility of divorce??
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

For Jennifer

I have asked her about couples counseling but she had insisted that it is me who needs to see a counselor.

We had a serious talk when she got home last night. At first she was very defensive and when I told her that its either that or divorce she was basically like ok, divorce than divorce. But I guess as she thought about it more and as we spoke more, she started singing a different tune. She had said that she will update her resume so we can look for another job although she still feels that at 31 years old its too late to start a new job. She is also now talking about going back to school, something that I have been talking about for years. She has a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Mathematics and I think there can be a much brighter future for her than to be doing paperwork all day. I think a successful marriage must have understanding and sacrifice. I have understood her for almost 10 years and now its her turn to understand where I am coming from. Do you agree?

Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
I do agree, although I'd hope that mutual understanding and effort to see each other's perspective is there all along. I am glad she's seeing now how important this issue is. If family is truly her first priority, I can't imagine she'd risk losing it entirely for the sake of a job. It will be important for you to support her through this transition as she begins looking into other career options and the possibility of furthering her education (both daunting tasks!) Keep the focus on how exciting a change in life can be and how this will positively impact the entire family. Ask her on occasion what you can do to be supportive through this process. It sounds like she's finally realizing she needs to compromise on the matter and try to see where it is you're coming from. If you feel that she is doing this solely to avoid divorce (and not for the benefit of being home with family) I'd still encourage you both to work through this in counseling since the issues will run much deeper at that point and you both may have some strong feelings about the matter. I wish you both the best of luck in this!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

For Jennifer.


Well, another day, another change of everything. We had another talk last night that started with me asking her if she had updated her resume. Basically, she says she loves me and she loves her family but she is not ready to make the change. In her words, if she goes to another job and is unhappy there, she would blame me and she does not want that. Its the same reason with school and not working all together because we need the extra income.


This is absolutely devastating to me. The way this is working out is me making all the changes in how I feel and taking it as it is. She will continue to work and do what she has been doing. Sure we can go to counseling but in reality unless she realizes herself how difficult and devastating this is on me, she will not change. I guess I will have to live with it. Its basically a take it or leave it situation. I know that I may not be right in some ares of this discussion but this is how she taught me to feel about her job. I try to explain it to her but her answer is always that I am doing it to myself.


What do I do now?



Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
I'm so sorry to hear this... Did you explain to her that the resentment and blame she's worried about feeling is very familiar to you?? You're already there. Ask what she thinks would happen after months (years?) of feeling that way.

Counseling may still help -- It's amazing what an outside perspective can do for allowing us to see what we're doing and how it's affecting those around us.