When Your Husband Is Married to His Job...

Updated on May 14, 2010
A.B. asks from Denton, TX
14 answers

Does anyone else out there experience frustration from a husband that is married to a job? Why is it that jobs are so demanding of peoples' time these days? My husband's work requires him to be gone to multiple all evening functions (everything from staff retreats to company cookouts to board meetings) on top of his usual workday, which can often be up to 12 hours a day. He feels obligated to go to everything... it is all "mandatory", and of course, he wants to "shine" at his job and not put himself in any jeopardy of being fired. But, I feel that too many jobs are disrespectful of family time and require their employees to be committed to the job, which puts a serious damper on the family. Do any of you feel the same way?

BTW: LOL... no, he is not cheating! :)

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answers from Dayton on

This is a super question!

My husband is active duty military. That means, really, that he is government property. What alot of people don't understand is that means that WE, his family, are also government property. Our particular branch fo the military is very family friendly and the supports they have put in place are wonderful. Still, there are the deployments, temporary duty assignments, short tours (which are single so no family). Then you add to that all the extra stuff: honor guard, booster club, awards ceremonies, banquets, volunteer time with the local rotc clubs and community service, not to mention the college education the military encourages all members to get and pays for. There was over a year of time where I saw my husband one night every two weeks. While the extra stuff wasn't required it was "encouraged" and often made the difference in who got promoted and who didn't. If you weren't going to do that stuff then you at least needed to save a baby from a burning building or do something equally extraordinary.

The thing is, no matter what the profession, anyone can find themselves in a position where they have lost the balance in their lives. In an effort to ensure that they "shine" so they can provide for their family they often end up losing the connection with that same family. It is especially easy to do, I think, in our current financial situation where most people, no matter how great they are at what they do, can't guarantee anything when it comes to job security.

My husband had a reality check when he came in one night and everyone was occupied. My sons had done all their chores, homework, baths and so on and were playing a game 20 minutes before bedtime. My daughter was falling asleep and I was putting her to sleep so I was unavailable as well. My husband was so sad. He said, "I wanted to spend time with you guys but everyone seems to be doing something." I just had to look at him and say,"We were here. All evening we have been here. For chores, homework, dinner, family time, bath time we were all here. If you want to see us you know where we are. We will always be right here. You have to be here sometimes, too." It was an eye opener for him. He cut back on some of the extra stuff and when it couldn't be avoided we made special arrangements so that we were ready for him when he came home. It's just a matter of helping them see the big picture and regain their balance.

Keep your head up, A.B.. It gets better. You are the best person to help him find that balance and one day he will thank you for it. Mine has.


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answers from Atlanta on

Can you put the onus on your husband and ask him 3 specific steps he can take right now to be more avaible to his family? Perhaps you could inject some humor and tell him you are the CEO of your family and you want to know how he will "shine" in your company... where your children are the clients who need to be accomodated!

Humor and honest communication helps.

Best wishes. Your heart is in the right place!

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answers from San Francisco on

3 reasons come to my mind:
- Fear: In this economy it is important to keep your job and he might have to make sure he shows dedication. Also, companies have been laying off people so he might have the amount of work of 2. Hopefully this is temporary.
- Escape: He is cheating (Sorry I have to mention it because companies that are having $ difficulties do not have staff retreats anymore) But hopefully that's not it.
- Identity: The job has become part of his identity. And he feels more "alive" and "himself" when at work and might feel out of place at home.
Hang in there!

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answers from San Diego on

Ooooooh yeah. My DH easily spends 120 hours a week working. He works at work, and then he comes home and locks himself in the office and works all night and all weekend. We see him tops, maybe 10 hours a week.

Plain and simple though, it's his choice. If he actually wanted to spend time with us and be a part of the family, he'd be here.

I used to have it out with him over this periodically... the whole "I'm supporting our family" thing is BS. He's salary. He's just feeding his own ego and being where he really wants to be. I've told him before, and I'm sure it'll come up again; the day I *only* care about how much money he makes is the day I get my first child support/ alimony check.

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answers from Fresno on

This is our family, too, only I am the one with the demanding job. Out of necessity (in my field, jobs are not a dime a dozen right now), I have to work in a field office that is 3 hours from our home, so I have to stay in a hotel near the office a few days a week. I am fortunate to be able to work from my home office a few days a week as well, but even so on those days I put in a good 10 hours anyway.

The fact of the matter is, if you're the bread winner for your family, right now you can't afford to slack off at work. You have to be visible to the company leadership all the time, otherwise they may wonder what it is they pay you for, and lay you off. It has happened to almost everyone I know in the past few years. Ideally, companies would realize that happy employees are more productive employees, but right now the name of the game is squeezing every last ounce of productivity out of employees at the lowest possible cost. No paid time off, no raises, sick time is frowned upon, and it's expected that you'll work 12 hours a day and be happy to do it. Even so, they will outsource everything to India that they possibly can. My company just implemented a policy where those of us who are salaried have to turn in time cards. I've never been anywhere that did that; used to be that if your work got done, nobody cared if you did it in 8 hours or 12. But now if you're not working 12 hours a day, they'll keep piling work on until you are.

Anyway, sorry for the rant (I am going on hour 10 at work, no lunch, with another several hours of work to go... uggggggh). I just wanted to give some perspective from someone on the other side of the coin. I bet my husband could identify with you - tonight he is on his own taking our girls to the school open house while I am at work, and then at a hotel near the office. =(



answers from Detroit on

Absolutely. It's terrible for us. My hubby has been working in another state now for 19 months--no one in the company knows when his project will be ending, so we cannot move there because it isn't permanent. Michigan has a bad job market, but the state that my hubby is in, is not good either for what my husband does. Now, depending on how you look at it, it is a good thing or a bad thing. A good thing because he has a job...still; a bad thing because it can end any time at a moment's notice. The company that he works for used to send him home every weekend and now they send him home twice a month--randomly. Every single day it's something new--more layoffs, more talk of closing shop, you name it. We also have two small kids, so they don't see their dad often. It sucks....big time:( My hubby is looking for another job locally or even in another state that would require less or no travel, but nothing seems to be panning out.

I keep hearing how grateful we should be that he has a job...yeah, right. If he got laid off, we'd have to deal with a new chapter...and I'm not sure if that would be such a bad thing, either. I do feel sometimes that he is married to his job, but he is a great provider and I have to be supportive:) I keep praying for better times:)




answers from Albuquerque on

Oh where to begin! My husband works out of town every week all week long (20% of the time according to his contract!) On Saturday's we HAVE to stop by the office to check in (it only takes a couple hours!) If his work phone rings it must be answered even if it is Sunday or the middle of the night. Someone needs help afterall. (they have is other number, and mine anyways!) I must attend all dinners (we want his bosses to know the whole family is supportive.) He must attend all meetings, confrences, retreats and phone confrences. Even if it is not his department because he could always learn something. He must make all his power point presentations at home becasue I MUST read them and make sure they are visually appealing. He also MUST volunteer to be in charge of the catering when he teaches a class because I am the ONLY one who orders the right thing (I don't get paid by the way!)

Oh and I'm 8 months pregnant and he will try really really hard to be there, if he's not, well... I have friends who would be there! Or hell I could call one of his customers!

It is bothersome but also endearing in a weird way. He does all this for us (his family). And when we do attend those dinners and they can't stop talking about how awesome my hubby is it makes me light up with pride. When we see a customer out and about and they insist on taking us to lunch, I know he is appreciated. When he tells me thank you for supporting him I feel like the best wife ever. Plus he'll retire someday (maybe!)

We just make the most of the time we have. The very little time...

BTW: LOL... no, he is not cheating either! :) Heck, he doesn't have time.



answers from Houston on

Oh man, I was so thinking of posting something about this. This is a constant argument between me and my husband. He is a mechanic for a large company (I won't mention names). So he gets paid by commission. Where he was working he was putting in 60-70 hours a week and getting paid maybe 40 on a good week.

They transferred him 3 weeks ago. Scary move! But his hours are better. He was suppose to work less hours but it isn't turning out that way. At least now he is getting paid for almost the same amount of hours he puts in and it is about 15 miles closer to home. It is just so hard on me (I'm sure it's hard on him too). I'm a SAHM of a 2 1/2 year old. I also have fibromyalgia which makes every day a struggle for me and I look forward to him being home so I can get a break. I've been yelling at my husband about it and I know I'm in the wrong. I know we should be grateful he has a job but it is just so hard.

Tonight I actually told him that I feel like I am single. That he is only here to sleep. The majority of the time I feel like he chooses to be away because he doesn't have to deal with home life.

I think it would be easier on us if I could take my son out more and do more with him. It sucks!

Added: I just asked him the questions Ssandy wrote and he looked at my all stupefied....men!



answers from Houston on

My husband has workaholic tendencies. I had a hard time understanding why he felt the need to shine and go way above and beyond at work vs. at home.

I finally sat down and calmly asked him what his priorities were one day. He said of course it was family, me and the kids. I then pointed out how few hours of his time he had actually spent with family in the last week. (Not counting when he was checking work email and such at home).

He couldn't believe the number I gave him. That's when I pulled out his "timesheet" for the last week. Unbeknownst to him I had been logging when he came home, including how much time he spent working/studying even when at home. (I didn't count when he was sleeping as "family" time). This was a wake up call for him, when he saw the numbers in black and white, and it helped spark a good conversation about what our priorities are/were.

He scaled back on work some, and made more of an effort to be focused on family when he was home. (as opposed to checking work emails, etc.).

Some people do have to work long hours to be able to provide for their families, and not by choice, but this wasn't the case for my husband.



answers from Davenport on

You are not alone! I had a similar discussion with my husband. I was angry because he was spending so much time at work and I felt that he was putting me and our family second. His perspective is that his job is providing for our family...so he felt that the harder he worked, the more he provided and that was benefiting our family. He has tried to cut back, but sometimes it just isn't possible. At least now, we both understand how we feel about it and we don't fight about it anymore.



answers from Seattle on

I am so with you on this, but the job that I feel doesn't consider the importance of family is my own and not my husband's. I'm a teacher and the amount of after school functions that I'm "encouraged" to attend is over-the-top. The administration puts a lot of pressure on the teachers that don't attend everything... It's tough. When you find a solution, let me know!



answers from Fort Wayne on

This is funny because I've been there done that!!! My husband owns his own company, and I'm telling you what, it was SO HARD in the beginning! I hated the fact that I'm basically a single parent. It's not only the family time that suffers, but it's also the magnitude of responsibilities that lie on my shoulders from him working so much. I do all the cleaning, AND all the outside work, which includes taking care of 1/2 acre with about 8 fully mature trees....fall and springtime are a real @@#$%. Anyway, it used to cause all kinds of arguments between us, but we've both adjusted...well, I take that back, I'm mainly the one who had to adjust...regardless though, I realize now that when it comes to my husband, he's just trying really hard to make a good life for us. He's willing to sacrifice the normal family's hours at home together to make sure we're able to live in a nice home, never worry about money, and be able to save up for kids' college without it hurting a budget. He feels like his responsibility lies in creating a stable future for me and the kids, and now I actually really admire his hard work. He's able to work until 7 or 8 at night, come home, and still have the energy to play with the kids and make us all feel really special, no matter what kind of day he's had. We try to make up for the lack of time on the weekends by not really planning anything most of the time, that way we can have pajama days where we all just stay inside and hang out together. My kids are 6 and 7 now, and really are just used to their dad's hours. They may say "boy daddy has to work late tonight!", but they're not saying it because they're upset, as a matter fact, many times they follow it up with a "poor dad, he's probably tired". I hear what you're saying about work not being really family friendly at times, but I'd definitely rather have a husband that works hard and allows me to stay at home and raise the kids, then to have one that can't hold a steady job or is unmotivated to excel at his job. You kinda have to take the good with the bad, and just make sure you're not giving your husband a guilt trip, because trust me, if he had the choice, he'd be home all the time with you and the kids, but he makes the choice to be a good provider for his family, and I think that's great!!!



answers from Cincinnati on

Yep! It is a constant conflict for my husband trying to balance his work needs and our family needs.



answers from Hartford on

I feel your pain. My husband too is a workaholic. It has caused much strife between us and I constantly feel like we are playing second fiddle. I think it is ego based and so much of their identities get wrapped up into their jobs. I have been trying for 8+ years to get through to him. I guess it could be worse and they could be slackers who don't work at all, lol. Sorry for the lack of advice but I haven't found anything that works yet. Sometimes I will carry on and make a big deal and he will be a little better for a few weeks. I once told him that either he has all idiots working for him and he needs to fire them all and start over with people who can handle the store while he's not there or He thinks way to highly of himself and the god damn place is not going to burn down if he takes a weekend off. I think it may be the later. Good Luck and feel free to get season theater tickets and go with a girl friend, that's what I did.

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