I'm a 32-year-old new bride. I'm thrilled to be starting my own marriage after watching so many of my friends take the plunge years ago. But I have a question. I have worked hard to develop my career (I'm in marketing) over the past number of years. My job requires longer hours than his, periodic business dinners with clients, and I travel at least twice per month. My husband has recently started making disparaging comments about my job. We always joked about it during our courtship, but since we got married, his negativity has increased. On one hand, I see where he's coming from because I'd rather spend time with him than at my desk or with colleagues. But on the other hand, can I really step back from my career for marital reasons? How should I handle this sudden jealousy of my career?
Dear Working Woman,
If you and your new husband weren't itching to spend more time with each other and didn't mind the fact that work keeps you two from being together, I would be worried. It's natural to want to spend all your time together when you're newly married. So, don't think too hard of your new husband for resenting how much of your time and energy your job takes up, and the travel that keeps the two of you away from each other.
What's not clear is exactly how resentful is your husband of your work, and whether his resentment is beginning to effect other areas of the marriage. From what you say, your husband's jealousy of the time you spend working is not sudden after all. During the courtship he was already expressing some negativity.
I know, I know: You thought he would get over it. You thought things would work themselves out. But that hasn't happened. That's because things work out in marriage only when the two parties involve work at working them out. So, the two of you have some talking and negotiating to do.
Your new husband has to appreciate how much your work means to you and get real about how much time is required to do the work that you do. As for your part, you will have to decide how important your marriage and work are to you, and how much you are willing to sacrifice, from one season to the next, work for marriage and marriage for work. Sometimes quality of time will have to suffice over quantity of time. At other times, you will simply do your best and accept that someone is going to feel cheated.
Take a survey, and you'll find that trying to strike a balance between work and marriage is the number one concern of nearly all high achieving women (and a few good men). And no one gets it just right all the time. During some seasons of your marriage or career, striking a balance between the two is easier. During other seasons, balance is pure fiction. But you work at it. You get it right. You get it wrong. But with marriage comes the pledge that you have a lifetime with each other to keep working it - together.