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Help! My Husband is ALWAYS home!

I have been posting on Mormon Momma for awhile now, and those who have read my posts know that I have been known to…ahem…complain on an occasion or two about my husband’s schedule. For the past almost-12 years we have been married, and particularly in the past 3 years, we have spent much time apart as work and church commitments took him out of the home often. There were many times when we really wouldn’t see each other all day – he would leave in the morning and I would be in bed when he got home at night. Many nights I would feed myself and the children and fix him a plate to warm up when he got home at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.

While I have always been a very independent person, I am realizing that these circumstances made me even more so. I was on my own more often than not, and very used to doing things my own way. I had my routine down, and it usually functioned like a well-oiled machine. Of course there were times when I complained about doing it on my own, but overall I was content to be the one “in charge” at home.

A few months ago, my husband was offered a job transfer that has changed his schedule significantly. He now is working a much more “normal” work schedule, and his church callings are in music which is something he can do in his sleep. Most nights, he is home by 6:00 p.m., and that’s the first that has happened in a long time. His weekends are free. He is here all day on Sunday.

And I am going crazy having him here all the time!

Does complaining about him never being home in the past now exclude me from complaining about him being home all the time now?

It is an adjustment. In all seriousness, in most ways it is wonderful. There is someone here to help with homework, and practice, and getting kids to bed. In particular, it has been wonderful to have him here to be the one helping the kids with their piano – for he is far better at it than I am, and more patient too. But I feel like I am always in his way, or vice versa. I have had my own way of doing things for years, and suddenly there is another adult person around all of the time who doesn’t necessarily do things the same way. I am finding that our interests are quite different from each other. We like to watch different shows on television. We have very different energy levels. I need less sleep than he does. The list goes on, I’m sure many of you know what I am talking about.

I believe this is why we are counseled to continue our courtship during marriage, going out on regular dates and spending time alone as a couple. People change over the years, and you need to adjust to those as they happen rather than waking up one day and saying, “who is this person that I married?” I will admit that my husband and I did not give this as much diligence as we should have. Finding a babysitter was hard. Finding money to do something was hard. Eventually, just finding an interest in making the effort wasn’t there. It was a gradual process, but we both let the relationship go a bit, when we should have made it our top priority.

My marriage will be fine. I exaggerate my discontent, but honestly would like to be able to go back and do things just a bit differently. I would like to make our time alone together a priority, instead of letting little things get in the way. I would insist on him speaking with his employer and his bishop about more reasonable hours while he had a young family. I would turn off the television and TALK in those rare moments we did have alone. Our relationship will be fine, but it could have been even better. Right now it feels like we are in a rebuilding stage – getting to know each other again in many ways. It is a positive change, but any change brings with it a little bit of stretching. Sometimes the stretching hurts a bit, but in the end it is worth it.

So for all of you who have been through periods of change in your marriage, what have you done to make the necessary adjustments?

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith November 22, 2009, 4:32 pm

    Angie, you are wonderful.

    As I read your post, I was getting more and more annoyed. You all probably know how much husband bashing gets in my craw. But then you solved your own problem. 🙂 You stepped back, looked at the situation, and said, “We should have done x. We need to do y.”

    Woot! It is so nice to read a post that kind of works through something like that to a positive resolution. Thank you!

    As you know, we homeschool. And as you probably know, we run all our businesses at home, too. We’ve done that since we married, but Sam finally came home full time in 2003. And I LOVE it. But it’s because of the very things you said. We’ve always made sure we dated and talked and courted and stayed in touch, on the same page, and in love.

    That’s not always easy. There was a period of about eight years in Florida when Sam was traveling over 50,000 miles per year. Read that to mean he had about 30 business trips every year. I, too, adjusted to that and learned to function very independently. (It’s the only way I could recover from the crying phase of hating to be alone so much.) But I’m really, really glad he only goes on a few trips a year now.

    The good news is, you can adjust BACK to the interdependence of working together. As long as you recognize, as you already do (brava!), that you need to let your husband back into the family. And you can reconnect as long as you realize, as you already do :bigsmile:, that your husband isn’t back in the family just to help get the kids in bed and help with practice, but to be PART of the family. And part of your life, too.

    So, you’ve had some years doing things one way. Now, do them the way you’ve learned is better. Moving back to that connection probably isn’t as hard as it might seem. Just jump in.

    Honestly, you remember that Dr. Laura book about “Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”? That might be a perfect book for you right now. I am SO all about being Sam’s girlfriend. :bigsmile:

  • jennycherie November 22, 2009, 7:23 pm

    great article, Angie! We went through the same thing when my husband made the switch from driving over the road to driving locally. I felt in some ways like it was going through the first year of marriage all over again, without the benefit of being in the honeymoon phase ;). It is an adjustment, but a good one to make. We are still working on it a couple of years later, but I am thrilled when I realize how much fun we have when we work together or when I see progress.

  • agardner November 22, 2009, 7:51 pm

    Thanks ladies. I really should read that book, Alison! I’ve had it recommended several times, actually.

    It’s sad that we sometimes let other things (and it could be anything, not just a “time at home” issue) take the priority over our families, and particularly over our relationships with our spouses. It was something I never thought I’d let happen to me, and yet I find myself in that phase where I need to make some changes. I like how you said that Alison – to let him back into the family.

    I’ve heard before (it seems like in a college class, although when I look online for data to back this up I’m having a hard time finding it) that one of the peaks in divorce trends is at retirement – the theory being that when you suddenly have a lot of time together when you haven’t before, you realize you did not keep the relationship up the way you should have, and it’s hard to be together all the time. I think that’s one of the challenges of marriage – keeping up with each other through all of the changes and growth that occurs. And if one partner isn’t willing to do that, problems can happen.

    Getting it “out there” is one of the first steps. It took me the longest time just to admit to my husband that this adjustment was hard for me – not because I don’t like his new hours or our new location (love it, actually), but just because I’m used to being the king of my domain. It’s hard to let go of that a bit, especially when you are a control freak like I am and married to a man who is very much not a control freak. He is so easy-going. That’s a very good quality to have while we “adjust”.

  • corktree November 22, 2009, 8:52 pm

    I’ve spent the last 3 years adjusting to my husband working from home. It’s certainly been both a blessing and a curse, but for the most part it has forced us to communicate better (or at least work at trying to) so that no one feels like they’re time is being imposed upon. But now, after we finally seemed to find a schedule that worked for everyone, he is forming a company that will take him out of the home more and more. I’m torn with how to feel about this as we’re struggling to find a balance once again. But somehow I know that it will eventually strengthen us to be forced to work on time issues differently. And the fact that our babysitters (in-laws) are snow-birding for the next 6 months doesn’t help me feel better about our ability to make time for each other. It’s gonna be hard, but I’m glad that we’re at least talking about it before things get bad and we don’t realize that we’re in the middle of a mess.

  • agardner November 22, 2009, 9:08 pm

    corktree, welcome and thanks for your comments. I remember when we made the adjustments on the other end (in the beginning of our marriage we were both super busy…but there was a marked changed 3 years ago when his job demands increased and he was put in the bishopric – a 1-2 punch that was very difficult at the time, especially when I thought it was unreasonable). I think the adjustments on both ends are tricky.

  • jennycherie November 23, 2009, 10:09 am

    A month or two ago, I taught a SS class on marriage and Sister Hinckley was quoted:
    I was just sure the first ten years would be bliss. But during our first year together I discovered ? there were a lot of adjustments. Of course, they weren ?t the kind of thing you ran home to mother about. But I cried into my pillow now and again. The problems were almost always related to learning to live on someone else ?s schedule and to do things someone else ?s way. We loved each other, there was no doubt about that. But we also had to get used to each other. I think every couple has to get used to each other. ?

    That is one of my favorite quotes EVER. If the wife of a prophet had a hard time adjusting and admits that the first years were not bliss, then it is ok if I have a hard time adjusting. It also makes me think – if the prophet is still human enough to irritate his wife, then might it also be true that my husband, who sometimes irritates me, could have the same qualities as a prophet? Am I missing seeing any of those good qualities because I let myself get too wrapped up in petty irriations?

  • agardner November 23, 2009, 1:46 pm

    That is an awesome quote Jenny, and I hadn’t heard it before. I appreciate you sharing it.

  • daisy November 23, 2009, 1:51 pm

    I loved this. Real marriages, the ones that last, morph. They change. ANd thank goodness! 50 years would be a looong time if they didn’t change, to say nothing of the length of eternity.

  • Michelle D November 23, 2009, 2:19 pm

    Angie, I hope you can see and appreciate the irony of your current situation, compared to the past few years when your hubby was never home! I think HF has a sense of humor…

    For 7 of the past 12 years, Ray has traveled for work: 3-4 days/week, week after week. There were difficulties as well as good times. Because I was always the one “in charge,” it certainly reinforced my tendency to believe “my way is the best way.” 🙂 But during the other 5 years of those 12 years, Ray was home a lot, with more typical hours. I liked having him available to help; appreciated that he had the flexibility to rearrange his schedule to do things with me and the kids. Now we are somewhere between the two schedule extremes, and we are adjusting again.

    You are right that any change brings adjustment. The circumstances may vary, but I think we all go through times when our relationships need to be “reinvented” or refreshed. You mentioned it doesn’t have to be changes in work schedules. Sometimes our changes come with the birth of a child, or a move, or a child going to college, or illness, or or or…

    Like Alison said, you are recognizing necessary changes and coming up with solutions. Angie, I believe you are able to help yourself. What a great opportunity you have to figure out how to strengthen your relationship in your current circumstances! Thanks for sharing this, and for helping me evaluate what changes I need to make to keep my own relationship “new.”

    And Jenny, thanks for sharing the quote by Marjorie Hinckley. She’s one of my heroes!

  • agardner November 24, 2009, 8:48 am

    Michelle, I KNOW Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, for there have been too many times in my life when things have just been weird…and funny! I can laugh about it now.

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