he says... she says...
what should they do?
Laura is a vice-president of an insurance firm who has had to
work long hours lately. Jim’s job is less demanding - and pays a lot
less. Laura’s work schedule is causing some friction in the couple’s
She’s married to her job
Jim says: Laura has a great career, and I’m really proud of
her. But lately, she seems to be spending all of her time at
work. Sometimes she doesn’t get home until 9 p.m. or later. And
even then, she often spends hours on the computer at home. I
feel as if she’s married to her job, not to me.
I’m just dedicated
Laura says: I don’t understand why Jim is so upset - if I
were a man, nobody would think it was a problem for me to work
hard. I love my job and I’m good at it - that’s why I was
recently promoted. And it’s my salary that pays the bills - we
can’t afford a change of job for me.
| Expert Says: The first thing we
noticed here is that in today’s working environment - where
employees often have to do more work with fewer resources -
either gender could be saying these words about his or her
working spouse. Some 30-40 years ago, it would have been the
wife saying these words about her husband’s job: “He seems to be
married to his work and not to me!“ Now both spouses share
equally in experiencing this phenomenon.
Jo Anne and I spend considerable time mentoring engaged couples
through our parish marriage preparation process. When we get
couples discussing this situation under the category of
dual-career plans, most often they do not initially recognize
the significance of this scenario or the impact this situation
will have on their marriage relationship. Our Western world view
often still has the man as principal wage earner and the women
as principal support - “helpmate” - to borrow a biblical
expression from Genesis. Percentage wise, this may accurately
depict the situation, but more and more couples are facing tough
career-altering decisions. This is a typical situation and one
that, if not properly handled, can detract from a marriage
instead of pulling couples closer together.
Having experienced a similar situation, we know how easy it is
to fall into the trap where work takes over: We become slaves to
the never-ending demands of the work place, and our marriage and
family relationships become lower priorities. Doing more with
fewer resources seems to be the rule rather than the exception
in the work place today; usually at the expense of
Granted, just like in family-life, work-life tasks sometimes
must take priority; short term projects, budget changes just
before a deadline, learning a new job, a presentation to a
client that just dropped into town - and the list goes on and on
- and most spouses understand and can accept these short-term
diversions. But when they become the norm, changes are needed.
When temporary needs require some “home work,” discuss it with
your spouse, limit the work time so as not to impact family time
together, and stick to the limit.
This situation, if persistent, needs to be the subject of
discernment. Ask the tough question: “Where is God’s hand at
work in this situation?” Ask: “What does God wish for our
marriage and for our family?” And ask: “How best can we navigate
this situation so that both of our needs and that of our family
can be met - given the circumstance we are currently
experiencing?” If Jim and Laura would sit together, asking the
Holy Spirit to guide their thoughts and minds to discern what
the Father’s will is for them as a couple and as a family, a
solution can be achieved that both can live with.
Pay off the plastic
Whether it’s in your wallet, it’s nearly always on your mind.
Money — and how to manage it — is a topic many of us wrestle
with daily.The St. Augustine Catholic magazine turned to Ted
Zale, a veteran financial adviser for Morgan Stanley for some
practical pocketbook advice. Here’s a tip that can help you
Pay off the plastic: Credit cards aren’t evil as long as
they’re managed correctly, Zale says. The key is to swipe only
for purchases you can afford to settle up on at the end of the
month. Don’t whip out that Visa for random, impulsive or
convenient purchases. “If you use credit cards and pay them
right away, they can push your credit ranking up,” Zale says.
“It’s a good way to build your credit. It’s also a good way to
destroy your credit.” Don’t get suckered by introductory
interest rates that can later soar higher than 20 percent. “They
really make it easy,” Zale says. “That’s their job. They want to
make as much money off the use of your credit as they possibly
can.” Alternatively, don’t be afraid to call your credit card
provider and request a lower interest rate. If you’ve paid
faithfully and in full, your chances of getting some relief are
good, Zale says. The best part: You usually don’t even need to
ask to speak to a supervisor.