Marriage/Dual Incomes in a Marriage
I have been married for 3 years next month. She has two boys, 8 and 6, from a previous marriage. She has recently been diagnosed with hypoglycemia and gluten intolerance which require special diets that can be more expensive. She also suffers from headaches and has found supplements that help. All these things and medical bills have put us in debt and i am having a hard time keeping up with my current employment. I have been asking her to help, which she has some, till i find something better. Two days ago she freaked out on me and told me it is not her responsibility to make up for what i am unable to provide. Her boys are in school and gone for most of the summer. I never asked her to work full time but she has time to do something. I am looking for better work and have applied for new positions. I told her that it is absolutely no one elses responsibility but hers to make up for what i am unable to do. Am i wrong? I feel like i married the wrong woman now. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Always feeling like the doormat when it comes to making decisions with your spouse? Or perhaps it's you who always calls the shots and your spouse meekly obliges, to the point where you feel they no longer contribute enthusiastically to the relationship. Either way, compromise between spouses is a key skill essential to a lifetime of cooperation, ever-growing love and continued respect for one another.Always leave room to grow and change and the same will be done for you. Speak up. On the other hand, if you have become the doormat in your marriage, it is time to start saying how you feel, offering your opinions and giving your take on how you would like to do certain things. You might have to take time to develop the courage to do this but do it in baby steps and bit by bit, you will start to change your approach to just accepting things as they have always seemed to be.Compromise. Whether you have been the chief organizer or the chief follower, learning compromise is the key to a happy relationship from here on. Learn how to make suggestions that take into account both parties. Consider such possibilities as:
•Agreeing to do an activity that your spouse wants to do this time provided your spouse does an activity of yours next time and set a date!
•Agreeing to do some of the activity that your spouse wants to do but adding in your ideas as well, so that the whole activity is a true combination of both your perspectives and wants.
•Sharing tasks that neither enjoys doing by creating task charts that can be flexibly juggled around where needed. For example, vacuuming might be a chore taken on by one spouse most of the time except when they are unwell, away, or really busy. The other spouse can pick up on these occasions on the understanding that the spouse will return to the task when the situation is resolved rather than the new arrangement turning into the norm. Chore creep after agreement can make the spouse who is lumped with an unfair level of chores very frustrated.
•Agreeing to give each other time out from household and parenting duties on a regular basis. This will give both spouses an expectation of free time rather than it being assumed that "someday down the track the other spouse will notice how overworked I am...". Unless such arrangements are made explicitly and clearly, they will not simply magic themselves into being.
Move on to collaborating. Compromise is still a situation in which some things are lost and some are won. It is a balancing exercise of competing interests and it is a good tool to grow cooperation. Ultimately, however, both of you might like to aim for a collaborative relationship. Meaning that the activities, pursuits, shared living arrangements etc. that both of you perform together become a result of collaboration where both of your input is equal, considerate of the other, builds on all the positive aspects of your contributions and creates an environment in which both of you thrive as distinct, important individuals who are totally supportive of one another. It carries no sense of either partner having to give up anything for or feel subsumed or outshone by the other person. Instead, choices are made by each individual with love, respect and care for the other uppermost in their decisions. This can take years to perfect and it's a wonderful journey.Compromise – no matter how difficult – is a necessary part of any successful, enduring marriage. For two people to work together as a team, each member must give and take once in a while. But many of us have no idea how to compromise. You’re probably used to making decisions that satisfy you and you alone. Once you commit to marriage, you must consider the needs, wants, and happiness of your husband or wife. That means being willing to compromise. Here is a step-by-step guide to the art of compromise:
1. Communicate your needs and wants.
Use "I" statements to communicate to your spouse exactly what you need or want in the relationship. For example, you might say, "I want to live in the city because it's closer to my work, which will cut down on my commute, and I like the excitement of it, whereas I'm bored here in the suburbs." Or you could say, "I feel ready to start trying to have kids because we're married, financially stable, and my biological clock is ticking." What's important here is to speak for yourself only without making assumptions about your spouse's needs or wants and to express what you want and why. Also, you must refrain from attacking your spouse with demands. You have to realize you might not get everything for which you ask.
Listen to your husband or wife.
After you’ve expressed your desires and offered an explanation of why this is important to you, then you have to give your spouse a chance to respond. You must not interrupt and allow him or her to speak. Really pay attention to what he or she is saying. After he or she finishes responding, then you should repeat what you heard to make sure you’re understanding him or her. You might say, “So, you’re saying that you would rather live in the suburbs close to the city because your work is here and the city is too loud and chaotic for you, right?” You must do this without sarcasm and with a steady tone. This is a discussion and not an argument. You want to show your spouse that you appreciate and value his or her needs and wants, too.
Carefully weigh your options.
Consider all your options. You could live in the city. You could live in the suburbs. Or you could live in a suburb closer to the city that has high-rise apartments and enough public transportation to allow you to have the best of both worlds. In this case, before drawing these conclusions, you could look at your budget and the cost of living in both the city and suburbs. Consider your options both as individuals and a couple. Remember, in the end, you have to think about the decision as though you are part of a pair and not just for yourself. If you were single and wanted to live in the city, of course, you could just do that. But you’re married and there’s another person involved in this decision.
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes.
Truly understanding your spouse is difficult, especially when your own wants and needs cloud your judgment. That’s why it is all the more important for you to step out of your own mind for a moment, and consider your spouse’s opinions and feelings. How would your husband or wife be affected if he or she just gave in to you? What would be the positives and negatives for him or her? Why do you think he or she holds a different opinion? What kind of sacrifices would your husband or wife be making if he or she went along with your ideas? Let your spouse know what responses you come up with to these questions. Show them some empathy.
For compromise in a marriage to work, one person cannot always be the doormat. In other words, you can’t always get your way, and your spouse can’t always give into you and your needs. Also, you have to consider the fairness of each decision. If you move to the city, you might have an easier commute and be happier in the fast-paced lifestyle. But will your spouse’s commute double? Will he or she be put out by the frenetic life? Is that fair to him or her?
Make a decision – and stick with it.
After you have weighed your options and considered your spouse’s feelings and the fairness of the situation, you must make a decision together and stick with it. If you have been completely honest while undertaking all the other steps, you should come to a resolution that works for both of you. And there should be no wishy washiness about the decision for either party.
Check in with each other.
When there’s give and take in a relationship, one or both of you is likely making a sacrifice or giving up something he or she wanted or needed. If this happens often, you or your spouse could start to feel taken for granted or ignored. This can cause resentment to build, which can break down a marriage. Check in with one another to make sure there is no resentment or hurt feelings. Make sure when you agree to a compromise that you will not hold this sacrifice over your spouse’s head, doubt your decision, or stew about it. You have to make the decision, stick with it, and move forward in a positive light.