February 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm , by Lauren Piro
Have you picked up the all-new Ladies’ Home Journal? We’ve made some pretty big (and pretty wonderful!) changes, including a few tweaks to our famous “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” column. Don’t worry—you’ll still get your “he-said-she-said” fix each month, just with a more conversational tone. And of course, we’ve still got a counselor in place ready with a final ruling and advice for each couple. The first new iteration of the column is on newsstands now! Here’s a taste, but you can also read the full story here.
Meg’s turn: The short version of Meg’s lament? She makes the money, and John spends it. All of it. Even more than they have, actually, racking up $17,000 in credit card debt. She grew up learning to stretch a dollar and live within her means, but John’s just the opposite, always splurging on pricey high-end wine, clothes, furniture, you name it—and not always telling Meg about his purchases! Plus, her job as a powerful PR manager is soul-sucking, and she’s ready for a break. But how can she pull back at work when her husband can’t leave the house without opening his wallet?
John’s turn: Meg’s overreacting. John’s got a job, too, and he’s saving more than enough for retirement and their kids’ education, and—little by little—pays down his credit card debt each month. When they got married, John and Meg decided to keep their finances separate, so John doesn’t think Meg’s grievances have legs to stand on. She can’t change the rules now just because she doesn’t like their results. Plus, John’s the one who takes care of the house and kids when Meg’s stuck at work. He loves her, but he feels like an afterthought these days. If she really wanted a new job (and more time with her family), wouldn’t she have started looking for one by now?
The counselor’s turn: The couple’s childhoods really influenced who they had become as adults: John had a father who showered his family with gifts, so he’d learned to turn to expensive things to make him feel good. Meg’s mother was often critical and cold, so she sought praise and self-esteem through working super hard. Combined, these issues fed themselves. When Meg neglecting their marriage at work, John would turn to shopping, which in turn left Meg feeling chained to her job. The counselor suggested that the couple talk to a financial planner to help them crunch the numbers, and lo and behold, John had been right all along. The family could afford to live well on his salary alone, and if Meg could separate her job from her emotional satisfaction (and maybe focus some of that energy back onto her marriage), they’d be fine if she quit. In the end, Meg decided to go with the best of both worlds–a part-time job at her firm that leaves her home-life and her work-life satisfyingly in balance.
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