Can This Marriage Be Saved? Following My Dream Nearly Cost Me My Marriage

October 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm , by

Working moms and wives today crave one thing most of all: more balance. Time for your career, your kids, your husband, yourself (gasp!)—like Liz Lemon, we just want to have it all. Gillian, 41, thought she’d finally figured it out. She’d quit her high-power, high-stress (and high-paying) banking job and open a yoga studio in her home. Her husband, Kevin, 42, would relocate his photo studio there as well, they’d both get tons more family time with their 8-year-old twin boys, she’d stop buying fancy clothes and dining to save money, and Everything. Would. Be. Perfect. And it was! Until it wasn’t. (Read the full story here).

Gillian’s turn: She thought Kevin was totally on board with the yoga-photo-studio plan, but now he’s balking. He’s changed his mind about moving his photography business from its current location, and works seven days a week. The addition they’re putting on their house for the yoga studio is also way over budget, and though Gillian knows she’ll recoup the cash once she opens, tensions are high. Kevin’s started yelling at Gillian in front of their kids, refusing to talk things out like they always would. He ignores Gillian’s requests to help with things around the house, and she hates nagging him, but just needs some things done! Their arguing has completely slowed her sex drive, which just causes more fighting. She doesn’t want a divorce, but can’t believe her perfect life has become such a mess.

Kevin’s turn: It’s always bugged Kevin that Gillian took home the bigger paycheck, and he’s excited to grow his business and become family’s main breadwinner—but also, unsurprisingly, a little scared. If he moves his studio, he’ll lose clients and students, and he doesn’t see how he can give up photographing events on nights and weekends. The honey-do list new stay-at-home Gillian has given him is driving him mad—she notices small details she never did before, always dislikes how Kevin does things, and then withholds sex as punishment. And as for cutting back on their spending? Gillian’s wardrobe and the family’s leftover take-out beg to differ. Kevin loves Gillian, but if they’re going to radically change their lives, it’s going to have to be a two-way street. He has dreams he wants to fulfill just like she does.

The counselor’s turn: Any big change in a marriage will rock the boat since informal agreements about “how our life is going to be” form naturally over time. And without honest communication, which Kevin and Gillian lacked, that boat can capsize. As an executive, Gillian was used to taking charge, organizing major plans, and adapting to change quickly, and when Kevin didn’t immediately follow her lead, she got angry and acted selfishly. Yet, the counselor surprised them by pointing out that many of their goals (spending more time with family, finding fulfillment in their work), were still very much on the same page. Gillian just needed to meet Kevin half way and stop managing him like an employee. They started solving problems together, Gillian scaled back on her spending (for real this time), and  let “molehills be molehills” when it came to her to-do list. In return, Kevin stopped completely dismissing Gillian’s pleas for help around the house—his resistance was just as controlling as Gillian’s nagging. Now, Kevin leaves his manager in charge of the studio twice a week so he can spend more time with his family, Gillian works at her old job twice a week to make a little more money, and they’ve indeed managed to get exactly what they want—balance.

Have you or your husband ever made a major career change? How did it affect your marriage? Tell us in the comments or tweet us at @MarriageBeSaved with the hashtag #CTMBS.

6 Responses to “Can This Marriage Be Saved? Following My Dream Nearly Cost Me My Marriage”

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