Latest update: May 22nd, 2012
Question: My husband and I both travel a great deal, independent of each other. My husband owns a start up company and I am very supportive of his need to travel constantly during the next couple of years. In the meantime, I am the primary wage earner and occasionally have to travel myself. Our youngest child is in college so we aren’t tethered to home. A long time ago, about 15 years, my husband was unfaithful. Obviously we worked through it and determinedly rebuilt our marriage. While he has not given me any reason to doubt him, lately it seems as if we hardly talk. We spend so much time apart and when we are together, we are both so exhausted. I have not brought up this issue with him as I am not sure what to say. Can you help?
Answer: If you have no reason to be worried, why are you? You have plenty of reason for concern but it may not be the reason you think. The fact that your husband was unfaithful many years ago will creep into your thoughts at times, even when you least expect it. However, even if your husband had never been unfaithful, you should both be concerned about what is happening to your relationship now. Every marriage depends on a close emotional connection. It’s a fallacy to think that a healthy marriage can exist if there are long periods of time in which an active emotional relationship is not being nurtured.
This is why we often hear about the marriages of famous Hollywood stars and professional athletes’ falling apart. The nature of their jobs forces these couples to spend excessive amounts of time apart from each other. And while the lifestyle of the rich and famous may sound glamorous, ultimately it generally dictates a lack of the consistent energy needed to create and maintain a loving focus on their marriages.
Many couples make the mistake of saying, “We’ll be closer and have more time when the kids are older,” and then find themselves too busy for love well after the kids are gone. Simply put, your present lifestyle is not supportive of a loving and protected marriage. You spend most of your time separated and the time you’re together is spent discussing your collective exhaustion. No wonder you’ve begun to opt out of weekends together. Why be exhausted together when you can do it alone?
It’s time to make a change and it begins with a clear understanding that you are making a decision for your lives together. Make no mistake; this isn’t about whether you want to be happier or closer. This is a decision about whether you want to stay married. Right now you want to, but chances are, at some point you may just decide to go your separate ways. If you want your marriage to last – you need to start making changes now. Decide today to set aside a solid block of time to spend together daily – on the phone or better yet through Skype or Ichat. Find a minimum of 30 minutes each night to see each other on your laptops. This will force you to chat and discuss the day’s events. Knowing you will be talking later will keep your mind focused on each other during the day as you mentally put aside things to discuss.
I am not saying you need to spend the entire 30 minutes talking. Be creative, read to each other, even watch the same television program and chat through the laptop as you’re both watching. However, this last part should only be done every once in a while and only after this 30 minute period of time has become part of your daily life together.
Finally, move mountains to be together as often as possible, at least weekly. Make it your business to spend a day together just relaxing, not fulfilling other obligations to be with friends. Make it sacred time to be with each other and remember why you fell in love.
About the Author: M. Gary Neuman is a psychotherapist, rabbi, and New York Times best-selling author. He is the creator of NeumanMethod.com video programs for marriages and parenting.
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