Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I am currently in a marriage that has gotten worse over the past 15 years. I met my husband in college and we were both ambitious. I studied to become a lawyer and he studied to become a sports journalist. We both accomplished our goals. Before we jumped into the workforce we discussed the possibility that I could make more money than him at some point. Well, that is exactly what happened.
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He is a sports journalist for a small company and I am a partner in a law firm. I make almost $50,000 more than he does. The money does not matter to me because he knew that my heart was set on making a difference in the legal system. However, whenever I put in some extra time at the office he criticizes me and tells me that I am slacking on my motherly and wifely duties. He also tells me that no woman should put her career before her family. At times, he makes me feel like I have to choose. I am tired of him complaining and feel like I should quit my job. Can a Woman Be Successful at Being a Mother, Wife and Career Professional?
Wife with Many Roles
Dear Wife with Many Roles,
I am going to jump right in and answer your question. Yes, I do believe that a woman can be successful at being a mother, wife, and career professional. I believe that the key to balancing all three roles is developing a teamwork approach. However, it is unfortunate that your husband sees your passion for your career as being a burden on family and married life.
There are some men who believe that women should sacrifice their happiness in order to accommodate others. Unfortunately, this 19th-century thinking is the source of many unhealthy relationships and marriages. The best thing that you can do is to assertively let your husband know that your happiness is not sustained or maintained by being a one-dimensional woman. I used the word “assertively” which means that one behaves in a confident manner while expressing his or her needs.
You do not have to choose between your marriage and your career, but you do have to respect your husband’s thoughts. I did not say agree with his thoughts but respect them. Respect means that you listen and hear him out. This is important because you have to give respect in order to get it. If you want him to respect your thoughts and needs, you have to do the same. Once you listen to his thoughts and assertively express yours, ask if he is willing to come up with a solution or solutions. Seek compromise, not a battle for power. The key to resolving this issue is to work as a team. Let him know that your heart can be shared between what you love and whom you love.
If you find that your husband is not open to dialogue and solution finding, seek professional counseling for yourself. Seek guidance before you make any decisions. Your happiness should not be sacrificed, but your marriage should not be destroyed either. A professional like myself can help you develop a schedule to accommodate everyone’s needs including yours. Also, you might need help with understanding what appears to be insecurity and jealousy. The money issue might be more of a concern to your husband than he is letting on. Get some professional help in order to sort through things.
As you work through your dilemma, do not lose faith because there are thousands of women who are successful at being mothers, wives, and career professionals. Also, consider joining my community titled, “You Deserve More” at www.ydmcommunity.com. I created a community of resilient women who meet online and in-person to support one another and help each other work through challenges that threaten their happiness, love, and prosperity. Please know that you are not alone and there are solutions other than walking away from your job or divorce. I pray that your husband is capable of opening up his mind and heart to your needs because you deserve more.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions, and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.