Dear Dr . Faizal,
My husband travels a lot for work. It’s always been this way and in the past, I’ve been okay with it. Lately I’m wishing he was home more. I don’t know what to do because going into the marriage I knew it would be this way, and it feels unfair to suddenly change my mind. I could never ask him to change jobs, but I know my happiness matters too. I’m torn between being fair to him and paying attention to my changing feelings. What should I do?
– I Miss My Husband
Dear I Miss My Husband,
As I see it, you and your husband had an understanding about him travelling for work. In the beginning, you were okay with this situation, but now, I take it that you miss him more and want more intimacy in your marriage which, I presume would ultimately make both of you happy.
Wanting to get closer to one’s spouse should never be ignored. Not bringing up your wants and desires would only lead to resentment in you, which could lead to the opposite effect of you feeling further distant from your husband.
Honest communication about one’s needs prevents resentment from building up. I recommend you tell your husband how you feel about the situation. Share with him what exactly you miss about him when he is away. Ask him to reflect what you’ve shared (in his own words) so that you feel understood. Ask him how he feels (not thinks) about what you shared. Him empathizing with you would help validate your emotions. Who knows, in empathizing with you, your husband may disclose that he may also be missing you and may, in fact, be glad that you have raised this discussion.
I’m wondering why you believe that you could “never ask him to change jobs?” Could it be because you had made a commitment to your husband leading this type of lifestyle? I believe that honouring commitments in a marriage is important as it shows respect between a husband and wife but I also believe that commitments can be re-visited and sometimes changed to reflect the change in one’s marriage, that is if both partners agree to it.
So, let’s say that after your discussion, you both are on the same wavelength. You both miss each other and would like to spend more time with each other. There are questions to consider: What do you want to change (him leaving his job or spending more time with you)? Is it possible for him to maintain his career and make more time for you when he’s in town? If this is not possible, and he decides to leave his work (appreciate that this must be his decision), what would he do for employment? If the change results in a reduced income, would you be willing to get a job (or another one)? And since a person’s career gives him/her value and self-worth, would your husband be okay with risking losing these benefits? You wouldn’t want him to regret his decision of leaving his job and resenting you for raising the discussion. Yes, there seem to be many issues to consider.
I’m wondering if you have considered travelling with him? If you don’t have anything tying you down such as children or your own career, why not go with him? In this way, you both get what you want. He can maintain his career, you can keep the commitment, and the two of you can be happy, without any resentments. A win-win situation with multiple ‘honeymoons’ to boot!