Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Need Advice - overwhelmed


I'll start with a little about us by saying my husband and I have been together for  almost 10 years. We met when he was 22 and I was 20.  Had a great connection, and actually moved in together 3 months after our 1st date. He had a daughter from a previous relationship who I have legally adopted and been actively in her life since she was 2.  
    We have had our shares of ups and downs but always manage to get through them, but lately it seems like everything is to much and we don't connect anymore.  We just fight...or I should say I complain, he apologizes, and nothing changes. We just keep repeating the cycle.  We've had a lot of outside influence over the last year.  My family is practically falling apart.  My sister in law had a stroke, my brother is having heart problems, my mom just found out she had cancer a few months ago and is in chemo, my grandpa is getting sicker and sicker. My aunt who is in her 50's is taking care of everyone best she can by herself. We live about 4 hours from my family, and so we drive down on weekends to help out usually staying with my grandpa (who can't be home alone) while my aunt goes to work.  But we also usually end up doing things that they can't since we are the youngest.  Like yard work, running errands, my husband usually gets roped into fixing things that need fixed because he knows how.  So this means literally no break for us.  Mon-Fri is busy, and then weekends are busy, then back and forth.  We discussed moving but his job is contingent on his location. So here we stay.  I could go by myself but then I would only see him on weekends.   
Finical issues have come up.  We need a lot of repairs to our home. Which meant me going back to work (previously I stayed home and took care of the house etc.  and did some side jobs for extra money (photography)).  We live in a small town with limited jobs (my current one is only min wage) without a degree so I've also gone back to school to finish my education degree.  This way I can work something with a consistent paycheck and hours that fit with kids. But now I do full time school and full time work.   He was promoted to another company.  Which started out good. It was with a company he liked, doing something he loved, but it involved a lot of travel which leaves me and our daughter home alone much of time. He has a lot of pressure at work right now too because the company is not meeting its sales quotas, and they are backed up on service calls. (He does service more than sales, but they "can" get commission).  I can tell he is overwhelmed at work, but I am also overwhelmed at home.   
        Our latest fight was about him working more, when I told him he should go ahead and work weekends (which all the techs get weekends off always, so this would be him choosing to go in, not mandatory) to get caught up on work so they stop getting on him.  Which he replied he's only behind because I was mad he wasn't home more and helping out at home.  The issue is he doesn't seem to understand why I am mad.  Even when I use examples.  I understand he has to leave for work, but there are times that he has service jobs near home, yet he waits till 2-3 in the afternoon then leaves.  Meaning when I'm home and his daughter is home he is gone.  But he spent all morning "at home" by himself.  I've used that exact example and he always has an excuse (he was waiting on parts to come in, he had office work (which I've come home on lunch and found him sleeping not working....) and then just apologizes and says he's trying, but nothing gets better.  I'm not mad that he is gone for a week because the service call is in another state. That I understand.  Its when he is home, and the service call is right down the street.  I just want him to go in a normal 8-5 so that he is home with us.  Not "home" as in present at the house.  
     Then recently I found out he started smoking, and had been hiding it from me for almost 3 months.  We talked about it and he said its because he didn't want me to be disappointed and to get on him about it. I found out this is why he was leaving to run to the store for milk and taking an hour to get back because he was sitting in his car smoking and playing on his phone while I'm at home waiting, that way I wouldn't know he was smoking.  Or he says he's going to do one thing and then I find out now was really going to the smoke shop to BS with the people who work there. While its not cheating, I just feel really hurt, and distrustful.  And we were already having issues.
     I try to talk to him about it, but he just looks more and more beat down when we do.  Like I'm just another chore, pointing out more things he isn't doing right in life.  He doesn't ever discuss with me though, he just repeats I'm sorry and I'm trying...and then it gets left at that, and I stay mad and he stays distant and gone.  He's told me he is feeling like crap lately (like depressed) but its been almost of year of this.  I don't want to make him feel worse but I can't do everything by myself.
      I don't know what to do.  I feel stuck, and alone, and overworked, and overwhelmed but I can't stop because we have responsibilities.  But if we keep like we are I don't know if we will even like each other anymore. He says he loves me with all his heart and that he's doing his best to make me happy.  (but this is is how it always goes lately, me=mad he=trying but it is what it is). But if we stay like this we will just become two people living under the same roof paying the same bills, roommates not married.

Sorry for taking so long to answer but I really wanted to think about the issues presented.

I don't think it is much of a stretch to assume some level of depression with your husband.  I'm not suggesting that he be medicated or go seek counseling but the way you describe his behaviors lets me believe that depression is a real possibility.  Also, his actions and the pressure associated with your life and my background give more credence to my assumption of depression.

I need you to understand that everyone deals with pressure in different ways, some in dramatically different ways than others making our impressions of their actions seem harsh and unrealistic especially when we are naturally comparing our ability to cope with theirs.

There are a thousands things that I could write about to support my position and the risks associated with uncontrolled stress but let me get right to the point of what I think you should do for you and your marriage.  

obvious to me is the deep level of caring you have for him and I will assume that he also cares for you.  Based on this fundamental foundation I want the two of you to realize that your lives are more important than the lives of those around you.  This may sound harsh and uncaring but the reality is that they have their problems and you and your husband are doing what you can but there is a limit to your abilities and you both need to discover those limits and maneuver yourselves away from that cliff.

This may sound weird but I would like you to sit your husband down and let him know that he is the most important person in your life.  Let him know not only in words but in actions as well.  Men are very simple creatures and we respond to the most basic of emotions, we thrive on touch and blatant flattery, we survive to get those reassurances from those we love.  but those we love have to be able to return those basics as well and I suspect your having difficulties in that area.

You both need to stop and take a huge breath.  Stop and look at each other, remember the reasons for your love and then act upon those feelings, assuring each other that nothing will come between you, not even the hardships of other family members.  Keep in mind that if your family breaks up or is weakened by the events of others around you, you are less able to give them the services they need.

Your daughter and your husband is your primary concern and if you need to step back and away from the self imposed duties of your extended family do so. Your husband has started smoking, sleeping and making excuses because he cannot handle the stresses that are, in his mind tearing his family apart.

I sincerely hope for your families well being but also know that your husband and child need you more than they do.

All the best.


Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship

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Richard Taylor


After 30 years of marriage and 10 children I can comfortably answer questions about developing or salvaging a strong marriage relationship.


Relationships fail almost exclusively due to individual selfishness or inappropriate activities outside of the marriage contract. Almost any marriage can be salvaged and can flourish. There are exceptions, adultery, abuse and addictions may sever the trust to such an extent that a marriage may not survive.

In addition to my personal experiences I have over 15 years of special education experience with a Masters in special Ed.

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