SELF HELP RESOURCE - Relationships / Marriage


Most men are happy to have working wives. They are glad to have the additional income and are proud of their wives' achievements. They may find it easier to discuss work since their wives understand the world of work. It can also be a tremendous relief not to be the sole provider for the family. But there's a downside too. 

‘I need a wife!' 

The traditional wife took care of the home and children, saw that everything ran smoothly and took care of her husband, children and parents/in-laws. When the wife works outside the home, the husband may worry with thoughts like "Who will see that the clothes are laundered, that there's a hot meal on the table, and the children and elderly parents are looked after? Who will welcome me home, be the nurturer and take care of me when I'm ill?" 

The truth is that both partners would love to have a "wife" who would take over all these responsibilities so that they are free to do their work in peace! Today's couples need to find creative ways of getting all these tasks done (utilizing outside help whenever possible) and be available to nurture each other. If both partners could share the household responsibilities, it would leave them with more time for each other. Do negotiate which tasks you would prefer to do and then perhaps split up the ones that you both hate! It's not always possible or even necessary to divide the work 50-50, as long as both partners feel it's fair. As always, communication is the key. 

There's no time for each other 

If both husband and wife work long hours or even different shifts, there's no doubt that time will be in short supply. And without time spent together, the relationship will suffer. Dual-career couples have to make conscious efforts to make time for each other. This may involve some planning and tweaking of schedules, but it does need to be given priority. Each partner needs to protect the little time they have. As far as possible, try to cut down on bringing your work home and try to keep phone calls to a minimum. While each of you does need some time with friends, this should not cut too much into your couple’s time. 

Handling a Wife's Success 

Even a man who is truly proud of his wife's achievements and career may feel somewhat threatened when she succeeds, particularly if she earns more than he does. Traditional upbringing called for men to outrank their wives in income, education, status and power. A husband may worry that if his wife is successful, she will no longer need him or respect him and that her behaviour towards him and his parents may change. Also, with success often comes longer working hours, perhaps more travel or even re-location; and this would certainly have an impact on married life. It is much better for these feelings to be brought up openly and discussed. 

It really helps when both partners share their success rather than getting trapped in one-upmanship. A woman cannot give herself "permission to succeed" unless she has the wholehearted support and encouragement of her husband. (This is particularly important when there is a lack of support from other family members.) It goes without saying that a husband needs his wife's support through the ups and downs of his career so that both partners can take credit for each other's success. With understanding, open communication and mutual support, you and your partner can fulfil your dreams together! 


If you would like to discuss this further or need some help or support in this or any other area, our counsellors would be happy to help. 
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