I keep a vague track of the various search terms that have people land at my blog. I am not so shocked that a large portion of people end up here looking for recipes. I think it is kind of cool that the recipe with the largest number of hits is “Joy of Cooking Fluffy Pancakes.” Although I must note that the family favourite is Golden Apple Cheddar Pancakes or a variation on that name. We even had them for supper tonight.
I get the random Knitting search link. My husband’s cousin’s name often pops up so that leads me to think that family is often dropping by and I welcome their visits as well. After that it is a random assortment of things that lead people to my internet home.
BUT there is one search term that catches me by surprise and has left me thinking a bit more about this topic. I estimate I get approximately 30 plus hits a month for the term “Workaholic Husband” and variations on that theme. In fact next to some of my recipe pages, my single entry on this subject is the most read page in my blog. According to a Google search I just made, my blog entry comes up in the 2 page, 15th listing.
I’m sensing an under current here. Clearly there are other people out there with similar situations. According to this link Dr. Dobson considers it the biggest threat to marriage today (in 2000).
There is an article in Christianity Today about this subject as well, found at this link here.
Both links left me a little frustrated.
Perhaps because I am the wife of a Workaholic and therefore I don’t want to feel guilty for my role. I especially dislike both because they insinuate that my husband works a lot because I make home a hellish kind of place. My inference and choice of words.
I beg to disagree. I do my best to make our home a place my husband wants to be, and I wager that the other wives of workaholics that I’ve read from my google search also try and strive for the perfect home to entice their husbands home!
But then we end up on the other side of the spectrum! There are an equal amount of arguments saying that our husbands are workaholics because we let them become that way. In fact we make it easy for them to be a workaholic. We should be making it hard for them! Don’t cook for them, do their laundry, etc.
So… pardon me, damned if I do and damned if I don’t!
Here’s my take on the situation. Its his problem. As a result, because I’m married and I’ve agreed and vowed before “man and God” to live with this husband of mine forever and ever it is now my problem too.
I can’t change him.
So, perhaps, I have enabled him in his workaholic ways. But it makes my life and my children’s lives so much better. Much better than if I dwell in misery and try to ‘encourage’ my husband to modify his behaviour with whatever means I can think of, both sweet and sour.
In fact, I’ve tried. I’ve tried subtle. I’ve tried blatant. I’ve tried seduction. I’ve tried tossing down a gauntlet. I’ve tried walking out the door. I’ve given up trying and choosing to wallow in misery.
An interesting note I found, some other article which I’ve now lost, said that children of a workaholic were just as prone to depression, anxiety disorder and a whole other raft of problems as a child of an alcoholic.
And the spouse was just a susceptible as well.
Figure that one out! It was a bit of a shock to read that the first time, but now that I’ve had some time to process it I don’t find that statement all that troubling.
Absolutely nothing works. We’re in counselling. Well, we will be when the counsellor comes back from Florida. But the things we don’t talk about much are the workaholic issues. Instead we are dealing with some of the symptoms of the workaholism. For example, the bad communication. The emotional baggage.
For me, there is a struggle with stress and its flip side, depression.
It is so very hard to be the number one parent. It is also hard, now, dealing with my husband who is realizing that he’s lost something when it comes to our children. The number of times that he’s noticed that the kids look to me for the final say, or question his words to me because he simply hasn’t been there for them in the past. Part of my latest struggles are trying to balance his needs in this area and deal with how his frustrations at the children’s reaction causes him to over parent. There are times when I just want to tell him to butt out because he’s ‘ruining everything’ as my children wail! Which, is not what I want to endorse because I desperately want his help!
Then there is the struggle to keep face. The going to church without him, again and again. Or not inviting people over to visit because, well, what am I going to do with the company husband?
I’m going to stop this list before it gets out of control.
I am so strongly opposed to that very idea that the root cause for person’s A workaholism is person B!!!
But in a marriage, the cause withstanding, the problem is felt and must be dealt with by both partners.
For me the solution and coping mechanism is an ongoing process. I’ll let you know that right now I am in a better frame of mind than at other times. I find a direct tie to seasonal factors as well as my menstrual cycle, lack or excess of sleep, poor nutrition, and so on. Pretty human in that respect.
I guess the biggest thing was to remove myself from the blame as the cause of the problem. As long as I felt that I had something to do with contributing to his choice to work too much, I was very prone to depressed thoughts and actions. This completely hampered my abilities to deal with the consequences of his actions.
Another coping strategy was to lower my expectations. This is something I have heard told to new mothers and I agree with this idea. Mainly, I had to let go and properly five stage grieve that he’s just not going to do things for me that I think a husband should do because he works himself out of the time to do this for me.
By letting go of that thought it has allowed me to really appreciate the things that he does do for me. For example, today he surprised me with getting some of the items on my grocery list. One of the things was flour. Now he had pointed out to me that I did in fact have flour in the house but in a different spot. So I sheepishly crossed it off the list. This morning I woke up to find the “missing groceries” plus the ‘flower’ on my list. He had bought me a Fairy Rose bush and tucked it on the counter beside the perking coffee maker and the running dishwasher.
In the past, I would either greet this with a “well its about time” attitude, or a “so is this all I get after putting up with this for so long?” attitude or a variation on those themes. But by expecting nothing, it was such a sweet surprise and filled me with great pleasure.
I would rank this as my number one coping strategy and the one that has made the greatest difference in our family.
This is also the easiest one to let go of and slip backwards.
My church has been working on the 40 Days of Purpose from the Purpose Driven life, and I think that this has given me a good reminder to help me maintain the better attitude.
The gist of the first purpose is that we are not here for ourselves but for God’s purpose. That our acts are to be those of service and humility to others. Not a debasing humility, but that of service. After all, Christ was not debased in his service to us, but rather his actions exaulted both Christ and the person he served.
If I can keep in mind that both my husband and I are here primarily to serve him, then hopefully I can let go and keep free from some of the mental baggage I’ve packed in the past.
Anyways, this is not one of the most cohesive entries I have posted and I thank you if you’ve read even this far. I hope to revisit the topic. I’ve got other thoughts. Ha! I’ve got too much alone time with my thoughts!
If you’ve been directed here by a search engine, I welcome you to leave a comment. I would love to start some sort of discussion on this topic. I’m going on 10 years of being married to a workaholic. I can’t say I have the answers but I can say I’ve been through some times and would love to share ideas with you!
I’ll work on fixing up this article later!