"Being an At-Home Mom Is Ruining Our Marriage"
His Turn"I'm Tired of Her Cutting Me Down"
"Kimberly is right: Our problems started after she became an at-home mom. The arrangement has been great for our kids, but it's definitely damaged our marriage.
"When she was at the ad agency, my wife was happy and fun loving. Now she's a highly critical, argumentative know-it-all. She thinks she has all the answers about parenting and politics, and if I don't totally agree with every little idea of hers, she screams and calls me names. Naturally, I have to defend myself. Lately, we've been fighting in front of the kids, which I know is wrong.
"Our marriage was great at first, but everything shifted when we had children. I admit I'm not the best father in the world, and I think it's because I'm afraid of becoming like my own dad. He was a well-to-do architect with a violent temper, and when he got mad at us, he'd hit us on the backside with his belt.
"Unfortunately, I've inherited Dad's short fuse. It's a struggle for me to stay calm when the kids shriek and cry -- which they do often -- so I have to keep my distance. I love them, and I'd never hit them, but it's hard for me to keep from screaming at them, which can be just as hurtful. I adore Andrew, but he's a difficult child who doesn't want anything to do with me. When I try to spend time alone with him, he wails for his mommy. The only time Andrew seems to enjoy my company is when we watch cartoons in the morning, which drives Kimberly crazy. A little TV isn't going to destroy his brain, for Pete's sake! I hope I'll have a better relationship with my kids when they're older, but I think Andrew will always be closer to his mother.
"I'm also annoyed that Kimberly dumps on me the minute I come home, complaining about her hard day and all the stress she's under. Well, I'm tired and stressed, too. She seems to think that I'm having a grand old time at work while she slaves away at home, and I resent that attitude. That's part of the reason I object to her being in therapy. Apart from the cost, I don't think it's helping her much. Plus, she doesn't appreciate the nice way I've fixed up the house. I wish she'd give me a little praise once in a while.
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life fighting with my wife, but I'm tired of listening to her cut me down. If counseling can help bring back the love we used to have, I'm all for it.