Common Marriage Problems Part 3: Neglect
Does your partner feel neglected and complain that you don’t spend enough time them?
Neglect is a common problem that is causing many couples to seek marriage counseling today. Career demands and increased workloads are often the source of marital neglect.
In the early years of a marriage, a spouse is usually fairly understanding about how much time their partner’s career consumes, especially when long-term stability and earning potential are at stake. However, as time passes, patience and understanding fade, and the spouse begins to feel second place to career.
Certain work schedules are worse than others because they keep spouses apart. One spouse might work days the other nights. So when they are together one of them always feels tired. But it’s not easy to give up these schedules when one of them is tied to the possibility of getting a promotion. So what do you do? Should career aspirations be allowed to put a marriage at risk?
Working long hours and traveling constantly can also create marriage problems because chronic separation strains relationships. However, this doesn’t mean that emotional neglect has to be a problem. In fact, there are many couples who consider a “weekend relationship” to be a happy marriage. But unfortunately for these couples, marriage problems arise when they are forced to spend 24/7 together.
For most couples, when one partner spends most of his or her time at work and is rarely with the family, the other partner begins feeling neglected.
If the cries of the neglected partner are ignored, the couple grows apart and marriage problems set in.
When kids are involved, at least one partner has to be there all of the time. They are there in the morning when the children are leaving for school, and then again in the evening when they return. In short, their lives revolve around their kids. Immense pressure on one partner can result in severe marriage problems.
It’s never a good idea to miss those early years when kids are growing up because once they’re gone they’re gone forever. No matter how hard you work to finish the current project, another one will always follow. The worst part is that just like spouses, children often struggle with emotional neglect and feel that mom or dad’s career is more important than they are.
So no matter what, don’t allow work to swallow up your life and leave your spouse and family feeling neglected, unwanted and unloved.
What can you do?
The only way to work long hours and still enjoy a happy marriage is to enlist the understanding and support of your spouse by helping him or her see why this is important and how it benefits the relationship.
If at any time your partner mentions that he or she feels that work is consuming too much of your time, then sit down and discuss the issue. Listen and make an effort to understand their feelings. Also consider what your kids might be feeling. Then find a solution that serves the whole family well.
The key to dealing with neglect is to catch it before it develops into something more serious.
Do not neglect your family. Decide today that nothing is more important than your marriage and children. And if neglect is indeed causing problems, then sit down right now with your spouse to start identifying solutions and compromises.
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