You just have this expectation that when you return home from work, you'll find comfort, space, a little quiet and maybe a wife waiting to embrace you. A few minutes to yourself. A chance to unwind. I suppose I should be completely honest. Yes, to a certain extent, as accused by my wife, my brain does kind of tune out when I come home. When I come home, it is as if I am entering into someone else's work domain.
I told my husband the name I came up with for my column. "Trenches?" He looked a bit hurt. "Is this combat?" Hmmm, no. But it is sometimes a battle -- to keep the wonder from slowly leaking out of our union, our own identities afloat, and our feet firmly planted on the ground, all at the same time. Hopefully, though, we'll never be bored if we are in the foxhole together. * * * * * I must admit that I was never a great fan of Mr. Rogers. I could never get into the trolley or the revolving museum, for starters.
Raquel (29) is a senior account manager at a large PR firm. Her work hours are 8:00 - 5:00, at which time she picks her kids up from the afternoon babysitter. She often continues working after the children are in bed. Before she had children, her hours were 9:00 - 8:00. Her husband of nearly five years, Josh (33), is an up and coming journalist for a major newspaper. His work hours are unpredictable, and basically, always. A year ago, he was usually home by 7:00. They moved to the suburbs last year after the birth of their second child, Stevie, now aged 14 months.
As you will observe this is probably the thousandth time Marge and Phil have had this fight. Why do they persist in locking horns over who is the bigger martyr, and in the process, persist in driving themselves crazy?? Why don't they just get their act together, split up the jobs, get their kids involved, hire help and do it! They both claim their physical and mental well being are at stake!
In the classic triangle, the roles shift between the two people as they take on three different roles: victim, rescuer, and persecutor. In this drama, the couple compete for the preferred status of victim. The partners each claim to suffer and then expect their partner to take on the role of rescuer. They compete for victimhood and when neither wins, they become persecutors, blaming and attacking the other for their problems and pain.
Amy: Take off your boots.
(Tom goes outside and vigorously wipes his boots.) "Satisfied?" (Shows the bottom of his boots)
Amy: Did you pick up the garlic and ginger?
Tom: Oh no. I forgot.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My husband and I have been married for 17 years. I have a 20-year-old son from a previous marriage. He has attention deficit and oppositional disorder. He tried the Navy and was sent home. He got into drugs. My husband and I did not handle it very well. We fought and the child just got worse. My husband kicked him out of the house and bought a ticket for him to go live with my mother.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, My wife and I have been married for 16 years and for the most part have been very happy until we moved into our new house in December. My wife is so upset that the house is not "perfect". We still have problems with the builder not fixing some things and this adds to her frustration. We have steadily grown apart. Last night we had a good discussion on what we thought our problems were and we both agreed that finances and the house were major problems.
Dear WholeFamily, My husband and I just got married a week ago. We've been together for almost 4 years. We live with his ex-wife, who is also my cousin, and their 3 children. His mother despises me and I don't know why. She called his ex on our wedding night, and told her that she's the ex-wife and I'm the new wife, and that she should hate me. She's always butting in where she doesn't belong. That's why we eloped -- she wanted to take over my wedding. She's always trying to talk my husband into leaving me. And she's always trying to pry in our lives by asking the ex-wife what's going on. How can I get her to back off??? Help!
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, Hi, me and my husband have been married for three years now and we have an 18-month-old son. When I first met my husband he was fun, outgoing and liked to do things. Now he thinks he is too old and doesn't want to do anything anymore. We are only 26 years old. On top of that, the sex has stopped. Granted we have a hard work schedule so we never see each other, but it is starting to bother me. Also, my outlook on life and interests are in living in a new home in the city, where he'd rather live in the country in a log cabin home.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, We are in our early 30s and will have been married ten years this coming June. In July '97 we had our first child. My wife took off two years (leave of absence) from work and subsequently resigned to raise our child. She was earning good wages, over $40K annually, but we were both happy with the decision. My job is somewhat stressful and makes demands on my time (whose doesn't?). I travel, on average, two to three days a week and initially that was not a problem or it wasn't apparent to me that it was.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others Think it only happens to you? Families in conflict reveal their innermost struggles to communicate.
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