Chronically unemployed spouses can cause financial strains that cause marriage troubles but on the other end of the extreme, a workaholic spouse poses but relationship risks as well. Lengthy absences and distracted minds are not causes for divorce, but the resulting neglect and diminished connections most certainly are.
Consequences of over-working
1. Sickness and injury. Workaholics often are Type A personalities that studies show are more prone to suffer more sickness and heart attacks than laid back mates.
2. Diminished relationships. More time at the office means less time for connecting with children, family, friends and especially the other spouse.
3. Marital estrangement. Physical and emotional distance within a marriage weakens the couple's bond.
Why he over-works
Men and women who put their work gear into overdrive are motivated by several possible reasons.
1. Fear of failure. On a psychological level, they believe that overworking lowers their chance of failure.
2. Fear of poverty. The possibility of becoming financially destitute also keeps them at focused on their jobs or businesses.
3. Love of work. Some people are fortunate enough to be passionate about their work and every minute spent at it brings great joy and pleasure. It becomes hard to tear themselves away from that type of satisfaction.
4. Avoidance. Working too much can be a way for spouses to avoid unpleasant situations at home, too. It can be a passive-aggressive response to a controlling spouse, unhappy marriage or chaotic or otherwise pressure-filled home environment.
How to live with a workaholic spouse
Things to avoid:
1. Threats and anger. Threats and anger only add to the pressure and unpleasantness in the home, another compelling reason to stay at work. It's understandable to feel hurt, neglected or even rejected by a workaholic mate but try not to take this personally. A workaholic usually has deeper issues that are not related to you at all.
2. Infidelity, emotional and/or physical. Seeking intimate replacements in the form of opposite sex friends only creates more emotional distance between the married partners. Phone a friend, but make it a same sex friend.
Things to do instead
1. Fairly and non-judgmentally reflect upon your marriage to be sure your workaholic spouse isn't overworking as an avoidance tactic. If so, talk about his dissatisfactions in a non-judgmental manner. Listen without defending yourself.
2. Self-care and self-development. Use time when he is working to develop your own interests. Take care of yourself to be the best you can be.
3. Create islands of time for marriage and family. Carve out set times for the two of you and then other times for the family. Protect your Date Nights and family weekend outing dates. Let him know that if he keeps them, he won't feel guilty about working overtime during the week.
4. Focus on the positives. Count the blessings of having a hard-working spouse. For example, he probably doesn't hover over you so you have a lot of independence.
And chances are, a workaholic husband provides sufficient financial resources for his family and you can take solace in that there is one less problem to worry about. Lack of financial resources places a huge strain on a marriage. Use the hard-earned funds to make his down time really appealing so he'll want to leave the office more. And, if your mate is fortunate enough to work out of love and passion for what he does, he'll tend to be a happier person which has a trickle down effect on his marriage.