My Spouse Says I Work Too Much, But I Have to Provide. How Do I Respond?

My Spouse Says I Work Too Much, But I Have to Provide. How Do I Respond?

Are you married to your job?

This is a common issue in many marriages. Maybe one spouse owns a business that consumes them, or their 9-5 job is so demanding that they might as well live there. Still, you have to continue providing for your family, so you keep pushing forward. Does this sound like you?

Workaholism can cause your spouse to feel sidelined, at best. As you devote most of your time to work, they’re forced to pick up your slack at home. And if you previously spent a lot of time together, they likely resent the current situation. So what do you do about it?

Take a Step Back and Acknowledge the Situation

First, acknowledge that you’ve been so invested in your work that you’re not showing up at home. And second, say the same to your spouse. If you feel like it’s appropriate to apologize, let them know you’re sorry that you’ve made them feel sidelined.

Let your spouse know that you’d like to make it up to them, and ask what you can do to make that happen. Their response might overwhelm you if they have a lot of ideas and feelings, but listen and take note of their answers. Let them express their feelings without qualifying or correcting their statements.

Negotiate a Plan Together

Once you’ve begun to address the issue, sit down together and negotiate a plan. The changes you make don’t have to be drastic. In fact, we’ve worked with many couples over the years who have experienced dramatic positive effects from small changes.

You don’t have to stop working or providing in order to improve your marriage. However, you do need to set aside times when you’re focusing on your spouse and your relationship. For example, consider setting up date nights where discussions about work and business are off-limits.

Don’t Be Too Rigid

When it comes to improving your work-life balance, neither of you needs to be too rigid about the changes. It’s a good idea to try to stick to your plan as much as possible. Still, you both need to understand that high-performing couples will experience disruptions.

For example, certain professions have more demanding times that may interfere with your new plan. Surgeons can’t control when they’ll be called in for an emergency. Soldiers can’t control their deployments. High-powered entrepreneurs have to take calls, meetings, and opportunities that interfere with routines. Still other careers have seasons of high demand that require working longer hours.

If date night gets derailed one week, regroup and reschedule. Every week won’t look the same, especially for someone in a profession like yours. Throughout it all, let your spouse know they’re important to you and maintain open communication so you can continue to better prioritize each other.

Need some extra guidance for finding and prioritizing more time for your marriage? Take a look at our book, Your Time-Starved Marriage, to get started. You can pick up a copy here.

Do you deal with workaholism in your marriage–from one or both spouses? How do you make time for one another for a healthier balance? Let us know in the comments.

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