Dear Jeanne,

About 4 months ago my husband was offered an advancement up the “food-chain” in his company. He got a nice pay increase with a bigger management role for him. Since then he has like zero-time outside of work and sleep, and he’s exhausted and distracted most of the time. He is constantly by or on his phone when he is home – it’s like he is never off work.

The quality of our life has gone down so much, I’m thinking that it’s not worth it. We’ve started to argue and bicker over the smallest things. Things at home now are mostly on me and my tank feels empty. We don’t go out and have fun with the kids and our personal time is marginal …

Unhappy Wife and Mom

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Dear Unhappy Wife and Mom,

You are not alone in the desire to be in-balance when life feels out-of-balance. Many people struggle with this very thing, and so your question benefits many.

Changes in work position are not always seamless and are generally accompanied by some adjustments in schedule and personal life. It can take a while to get the “lay-of-the-land” and a new operating basis established in the new position.

Job, career, and business promotions are generally accompanied by financial advancement, or an increase in wage or salary. The trade-off of new demands for the money received may not be worth it, which is what I am sensing that you are feeling at this point.

The questions are, what is your husband feeling and what does “quality of life” look like for you and for him? Those are questions that only you and he can answer – and answering them together will bring clarity to you both. Clarifying this is really important, so you can better understand each other and to get on the same page as a couple.

You have children who need some time with their father, and you and he need regular time as a couple. It sounds like some structure and some boundaries need brought to his schedule. You can make suggestions, but ultimately he will need to be the one to implement and hold to them.

You seem at your breaking-point, yet the principle of “go-slow-to-go-fast” definitely applies here. Rushing into a discussion about this, when your husband does not know it is going to occur, will not produce the most productive conversation. Setting aside some time to talk this through, with phones off and children not around, is really what is needed.

It is important that you are coming together at a designated time and that the tone is solution-oriented and not just the venting of personal hurts. Venting will not produce the energy where solutions can be discussed and selected. Expressing your concerns and feelings and allowing him to express his, to truly get each other’s perspective, is important and needs done in the calmest way possible.

The big picture of the vision that you have for your marriage and family life becomes an important part of this discussion, as well. What is your vision and what is his? Is it all work-hard-for-money based or is regular quality time and quality moments being created a part of it? Having this conversation is important to clarify how each of you feels and how your current lifestyle matches it.

From there, discuss some adjustments and some potential boundaries between work and family life, so that what is important to you both is prioritized. Those boundaries should enhance your relationship, as well as the ones that he has with each of your children. Respecting these new boundaries will be a conscious, daily choice and become more natural over time.

I hope this helped. You can always ask me for clarification.

Much love to you on your relationship journey,