One of the most common complaints that marriage counselors hear is that a partner spends more time at work than they do in the home. While most people do spend more time at work than with their families, there is a difference between ‘normal’ working hours, and extended working hours.
If you sleep for the recommended eight hours per night, and work eight hours per day, that should leave eight hours with your family – a balanced lifestyle. Of course, travel time starts to eat into your family time, and if you have young children, then their early bed times reduces your time with the family. What rankles most partners are the ten hour work days (plus travel time) with the working partner not arriving home until the kids are in bed.
This is a difficult situation for marriage counselors to deal with as there are many issues at play here. Men are generally more guilty of this situation than women, although some children grow accusing both parents of being married to their work. Some of the issues at play include power, fear (of losing their job), and in some situations actually using work to escape family life.
Marriage counseling can help couples deal with these problems, especially the last one. Escaping family life generally means that a person is not happy in the relationship. Being able to resolve that issue can help a couple return to a happier more stable family life where work is no longer used as a refuge. Fear of losing one’s job can also be handled through marriage counseling, since often these fears are ungrounded.
Is your partner married to their work? If so, it may be time to prize them away for an hour or two to chat with a marriage counselor. If they don’t, they may find that one day they return home from work to find the house empty, and their family moving on without them.