In my last post on this subject I laid out the problem that I often run into. The cyclical effect of a husband who feels that he works as hard as he can to provide the best he can without recognition of this at home. I know that this is not the case in every home but have seen enough in my 13 years in the financial field to know that it is common.
So, now we have a husband who is drifting further and further from the place that should be his “cave”. The place where he can let go and just be himself. He is “shutting down”.
Your husband has earned the right to relax and enjoy his own home. He carries a heavy burden. Ask any single Mother who has had to take on this responsibility…we who do not have this responsibility do not want it!
I know that I would not want the responsibility of bringing home the paycheck that provides for the mortgage/rent, electricity, food, clothing, and all of the other essentials of life. If I were putting my whole self into that provision and then came home to be told regularly that it was not enough, I would begin to struggle with feelings for the person bearing this news!
While there may be an issue, and there may need to be changes made. Doing that without sabotaging your relationship is important.
Begin a campaign of appreciation.
Notice when he is struggling. Let him know that you know he is doing it for his family. It is not wrong to thank him for his time and energy spent providing for the family. Be purposeful on this…if you are at the point where communication is lagging time is of the essence. It will be hard but you can do it. You must do it if you want restoration of a relationship that once was.
I can hear you saying…but what about me? When do I get to be appreciated for all that I do for this family? I know! I have been there too. Trust me on this part and your efforts will be appreciated too, in the near future.
IF things are very tense between you and your spouse, do not attempt, at this point to connect this with your money issues. You must first let him know how much he is loved and appreciated. Do whatever cutting back you need to do to keep the budget working while you get the communication back in your marriage. It will be vital to the next step.
Simple things like a big smile and a greeting when he comes home are amazing. He knows that he is wanted in his home! My Chelsea showed me this. She cannot wait for her Daddy to get home. He loves that she greets him with enthusiasm. You know, it makes sense…don’t we all want to be wanted and have someone happy to see us?
Provide opportunities for him to share about his day. This is tricky at first…but after a few times where he sees that you are not going to attempt to problem solve about things that he shares…you are just listening and supporting him…he will do more and more sharing.
When Warren and I had been married a little more than a year we made a decision to move to York, PA. As our home was for sale in Centre County we stayed with Warren’s Grandma Charlotte in York for a while. I’ll never forget the first evening Warren came home from his first day at his new job. He came in the door and I greeted him with questions, “How did it go? Do you like it?”
Warren’s Grandmother had the “nerve” to tell me to back off. She settled him into a chair and had him put his feet up and would not let me talk to him until he had his cup of coffee…I was so offended. This was my husband and I wanted to ask him about his day. She knew he was tired and would feel more like talking after some time of nurturing. I think both Grandma Charlotte and I were at extremes. Somewhere in the middle is probably more practical and sensible but it shows the extremes and the changes that have entered our society as it relates to relationship roles.
I, often, will hear nothing about Warren’s days unless we head out of the house to dinner or on an errand. For us there is something about being in the car…not facing each other that makes it easier for him to share. We love to take road trips because we have great conversations about all kinds of heart and life issues as we drive.
Whatever you find that works for you…become an expert in making that happen. I have had to learn that he is not sharing work challenges with me so that I can make it better. It just helps him to work it through. I am a “problem-solver” so I want to jump in with suggestions…not what he is looking for!
I hope that if you are struggling…or even if things have just settled into a blah routine…a minor modification here will help to get things back on track. It is work. A happy marriage is not something that just happens.
So, with this in mind…have a very blessed day and appreciate that husband of yours. He is working to take care of you.