Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I work in a profession where long hours and unexpected emergencies are par for the course. My wife knew this when we got married; in fact I think that the fact that I was a good provider was at the top of her list as to why I was husband material. At first my work wasn’t a problem. But we are into year two and she is beginning to resent “taking second seat to your job.”
It strikes me as weird because I haven’t changed at all. I still take her out to dinner and buy her presents. I still call while I’m away and pay attention to her when I am home. It was enough for her before. Why isn’t it anymore?
Two years into a relationship is an entirely different story from dating or honeymoon infatuation. A lot has changed that you may not have noticed. Here are some ideas to consider: 1. Everyone comes into a relationship with hopes, dreams and expectations. By year two reality may have played out very differently. 2. By the end of the first year many couples have all their eggs in one basket. Extended social networks tend to constrict over the course of marriage and new ones need to be formed. “You’re my everything” may be romantic at first, but by year two, it is wearing thin. 3. It is baby time. Was this part of your plans? Are you fulfilling your end of the bargain? This may be as important for her as your job is to you. If a baby comes into the picture, keep in mind that your absences will translate into an inability to provide help. This might be a necessity but it will still be frustrating for her.
Be glad she actually misses you and wants your constant presence in her life. Express your appreciation often and tell her that you understand it is hard. When a baby comes, ask her if she needs a nanny to help out. Many women are silent sufferers and feel guilty if “THEY DON’T DO EVERYTHING.” This type of sacrifice is a sure fire route to divorce.
Oh, I almost forgot- women like to talk about things. If in the last two years you haven’t shared all the ins and outs of your work and daily struggles she is probably feeling left out. Relationships are work. Work at it and you will have a relationship.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
The Granny Doctor wants to point out that the only certainty in life is change. You say you haven’t changed. That may be the problem. Take a good look at your marriage NOW and learn a few new tricks. When you took your vows they probably did not include “I will put our relationship in a box and never reexamine it.” Dr. Brilliant is right- biological time clocks tick louder as time goes on. Whether your plans for the future include babies or not, the issue should be discussed.
And one other question- you don’t mention what your wife does while she waits for you to come home. Does she need fulfilling work of her own? Talk about all of this! It will do more for your marriage than dinner out and a new necklace.