OK. I guess I’ve taken long enough to post part 2, huh?
This post isn’t so much survival tips, but about changing perspective when dealing with your stressaholic spouse. I just finished a book called “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. It includes things the author found out about men through a national survey and personal interviews. If you feel like you don’t understand your man, then this book is for you.
I definitely found a couple of things in there that amounted to “aha” moments for me. There’s a chapter in it titled “The Loneliest Burden: How His Need to Provide Weighs Your Man Down, and Why He Likes It That Way.”
Here’s my takeaways (and quotes) from this chapter. They are changing my perspective on why my husband works so much, and maybe they’ll be helpful to you, too!
The majority of men feel a compelling need to provide for their families. “Providing is at the core of a man’s identity… In other words, being the provider isn’t just a burden, but a highly desirable goal.”
Providing is a primary way that men say “I love you.” “It’s ironic that we may complain about our man’s work habits, not realizing that he thinks he is saying “I love you” – and we are complaining about it! This dynamic is both confusing and distressing for men.”
Providing accompanies his need to succeed, but also carries an ongoing risk of failure. The majority of the men in the survey, when asked about the reasons why they might work long hours, answered that if they didn’t, they would let their family and/or the organization down. “The vast majority of men who put in long hours do so not just because they want to get ahead, but because they believe, as several men told me, “there is no other option.”” An earlier chapter in the book dealt with the fear of failure that most men wrestle with – and so because they don’t want to fail at providing, they are compelled to do what they can to prevent that.
I’ll admit to you that there have been times (yes, several) when I’ve felt my husband works long hours because of one or more of the following reasons – maybe he likes being there more than being at home, maybe he wants to avoid the chaos of a home filled with young children, and bottom line, that maybe he thinks work is more important than us. Now don’t get me wrong, he is a great husband and dad, and I know he loves us – but this has been a touchy subject for us.
But the information I found in this book is showing me that it’s very likely he just feels like there is no other option. That he feels if he wants to provide for us, he needs to work this hard.
So now, the big question is, how will I respond? Maybe I’ll save that for another post… 🙂
Is this something you struggle with? How have you dealt with it in your marriage?