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Six Areas of Conflict in Marriage Part 5 – Work or Career

By:  Donna Martin   #happytogethermarriage

It would be wonderful if couples could get married and live the rest of their lives happily ever after on a honeymoon with no worries.  But since we live in a real world reality sets in pretty soon after the honeymoon.  The couple has to go back to work to make a living.  Back in the 50’s this might not have been a problem.   If you have ever watched reruns of “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it To Beaver” you saw the perfect family where dad went to work every day and mom stayed home and kept the house spotless and the kids in line (while wearing a dress, high heels and pearls).   In the TV world Dad was never late getting home and when he did get home mom always had dinner ready for the family to sit down and eat.  The only major problems were caused by the children’s mischievous behaviors. 

Today’s world is quite a bit more stressful and work and careers add to the stress.  One way that careers cause stress is if a husband loses his job.  In addition to the financial stress this also causes mental and emotional stress for a husband.   Since a man gets his worth from being successful in his job this can be a big blow to his self-esteem.  He may feel like a failure.  During this stressful time it is important for a wife to do everything she can to build up her husband’s self esteem.  She needs to encourage him and let him know that she is on his team.  She needs to do all she can to cut corners and save money. 

On the other extreme a job can demand a lot of extra time.  If one spouse stays home while the other works, the one at home may feel neglected because of the long hours the bread winner has to work.  A career can often keep one spouse from attending the children’s activities or other important events.  A long work day can conflict with dinner, day care and other family activities.  This can lead to resentment and anger especially if the stay at home spouse feels that the bread winner cares more about his job than his family.

If both parents have to work then there is the added stress of childcare. Add to that the differing work hours that can make it hard to spend any time together as a family.

Often after the birth of a child a wife may want to be a stay-at-home mom.  This is a great privilege and an important decision.  However, it may be unrealistic to expect to do without the second paycheck. This decision must be a joint decision that both spouses can agree upon.  Couples need to prayerfully consider the benefits and the conflicts that might arise.  This is usually an area where both spouse’s may have to do a lot of compromising.

Here are some tips that will help alleviate conflicts over careers:

1.  Make sure that your career is not more important than your family.

2.  Learn to be content with what you have.

3.  Live within your budget.

4.  Take an interest in your spouse’s career.  Know what your spouse does for a living.

5.  Support your spouse and encourage your spouse.

6.  Make your home an oasis from stress when you get home from work.

7.  Work with integrity.

8.  Be thankful for the work that your spouse does and let them know that you are grateful to them for supporting your family.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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