Why Does My Husband Put Work Before Me?

It can be lonely when the person you love the most puts his work before your relationship. Logically, we know that we need food on the table, a roof over our heads, and money for bills. But eventually, a lot of wives ask, “why does my husband put work before me?”

For husbands, men are often raised thinking that career and salary are the most important ways to support our wives and family. This is even truer when he perceives a strong need for material possessions coming from his wife.

Ultimately, your husband’s career goals aren’t the problem.

The problem is that your husband is choosing to prioritize work over family. When your husband puts work ahead of the family, it can ruin a marriage.

But it doesn’t have to ruin your marriage. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your husband is working so much and what you can do about it.

Just keep reading!

woman wife girl people female glasses background

What is more important, work or family?

Family should always come first in a marriage. However, it is important to strike a balance as work and careers can bring both financial benefit and a sense of fulfillment.

If your husband just started a new job, his excessive working could just be because he is trying to prove himself to his new coworkers.

Take time to assess the situation before you criticize him about it.

As a new employee, he may simply want to earn the respect of his coworkers. So just hang in there and cut him some slack. It should ease up within a couple of months.

If this is a pattern, and he’s been missing out on family events, breaking promises, or keeps you waiting because of work, he is simply not making family a priority.

If this is the case, you should talk to him about it.

Approach him gently and respectfully, though. Don’t nag him or antagonize him. Remember, he probably loves his work. He’s put tons of energy into his job and receives a lot of satisfaction from it. So be mindful of this when you talk to him.

And many of us guys grow up believing our #1 job is to be the provider and protector in our family.

Use “I” statements when you approach him. Say things like, “I want us to spend more time together.”

You can also just explain how it makes you feel, saying something like:

“When you spend so much time at work, and away from me, it makes me feel unimportant or that your job is more important than I am, and I am left feeling lonely.”

Have a plan in place to help him work less and spend more time at home.

And let him know that his presence is more important than the money he brings home. But remember, you can’t deliver that message while also expecting that nice new car, and that extraordinary house, and the finest clothing.

That sends a very mixed message.

Can working too much ruin a marriage?

Working too much can absolutely ruin a marriage. Missed family activities, broken promises, and simply neglecting the marriage can create resentment, loneliness, and bitterness. That can lead to either divorce or an affair.

It’s great when our spouses are fortunate enough to really love their work.

They put tons of energy into their jobs and get a lot of personal satisfaction. That job pays the bills, pays for vacations, vehicles, and all of your other material possessions.

But what it doesn’t get you is time.

If your husband’s job keeps him from attending family gatherings regularly, it can ruin a marriage. So can promising to quit and not doing it.

Or standing you up, or simply not being mentally present, even though he’s physically there.

But there are studies, like this one published in Human Relations, that suggest that partners actually compensate for working too much by prioritizing the time they do have with one another.

So the good news is that working too much doesn’t necessarily have to ruin a relationship. Essentially, it depends on the couple.

Most couples understand that the early years of a relationship require a lot of work. While a relationship is an important part of life, career and life goals are also important. They complement the relationship.

But if it never slows down, it can become problematic.

If your husband is working so much that you feel neglected or lonely, you may start to wonder if he still loves you at all. And that is understandable.

There are several ways to know for sure that your husband still loves you. Being physically affectionate and taking an active interest in your life and your friends is one. Also, if he’s still making eye contact and making an effort in the bedroom.

Those are all good signs that point towards love.

To read more about how to tell if your husband still loves you, read this recent article. After all, just working a lot isn’t a symptom of something bad in and of itself. But when that is combined with a few other things, and 1 in particular, that can be a really bad sign.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do I deal with an overworked husband?

Help an overworked husband cope by listening to him. Engage with him and empathize. Avoid nagging or criticizing him, but do suggest activities that can help, such as outdoor physical activities or small weekend getaways.

Even if your husband is able to leave the office, he may bring the stress home with him.

Home should be a sanctuary from work. But, sometimes, even if your husband can leave his projects and worries at the office, it’s not easy to leave the stress at the office.

This can cause stress to rub off on you.

If you’re both stressed, it can snowball into other parts of the marriage. It starts to feel overwhelming and never-ending. What he doesn’t need when he’s feeling stressed is you piling more stress on him by complaining about how much he’s working.

What he needs from you right now is support.

Be more patient and give him more grace than usual. If he’s just in a season of being overworked, understand that this will pass. Right now, he has little capacity to work on other things.

Be kind and recognize that he needs encouragement.

Tell him that you are proud of how he’s handling things at work. Commend him for making hard decisions, and recognize what he’s good at. We all battle feelings of self-doubt, especially when we are exceptionally stressed out.

You can help him overcome these negative thoughts by affirming him.

Finally, be compassionate. Things are hard for him right now. Be willing to be there to listen and to lean on. You’d be surprised at how a little compassion can help you feel less stressed.

How do you survive a lonely marriage?

Survive and thrive in a lonely marriage by making sure your emotional well-being is not tied to your spouse. While their actions can hurt you, it is not their job to make you happy. Communicate your feelings, but also have friends and activities that support your emotional needs.

Loneliness due to your husband working excessively can be tough to deal with.

There is nothing worse than having a life partner and feeling alone. When your husband is working all the time, you rarely get to spend time together.

This just widens the gap between you and your husband.

In order to lessen the gap and bring your husband closer, you need to communicate with him. Talk to him as often as possible. It doesn’t have to be something life-altering – just tell him about your day.

Talk to him about things that interest him. 

Do small things for him that he will appreciate. Help him with his necktie if he’s struggling. Make him a breakfast you don’t usually make.

Small things can help him feel closer to you emotionally, encouraging him to be home more and work less.

But sometimes, this may not be enough, and his emotional distance may be deeper than just working too much. An emotionally distant husband may be indifferent to activities, rigid, defensive, or overly critical of you.

This can be draining and may feel like he is taking more than he is giving. 

Having an emotionally distant husband doesn’t have to mean the end of the relationship. Read this recent article for some crucial steps to try to fix your broken marriage.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What do I do if my husband is a workaholic?

A husband who is a workaholic may be under the false impression that his salary is the most important thing to his wife, so make it clear his presence is more important. But make sure your spending patterns don’t contradict that.

But first, it’s important to understand the difference between a hard worker and a workaholic. If he’s temporarily picking up extra work, then he’s not a workaholic.

But if you find that his downtime is also his work time, there are a few ways you can help him get through it.

Try to see things from his point of view. 

Understand that he may be under a lot of pressure at work and ease up on the nagging. Don’t compare him to other husbands. He may not have as much time to hang with you as your friend’s husband. But consider all of the things he does do for you.

Help him with his calendar. 

Maybe you can find time to do things together—schedule things for him to ease his mind. As long as he agrees and it doesn’t feel like an intrusion to him, it could help reduce some of his stress and remind him to go to those family gatherings.

If you find that he is actively avoiding you, staying out with his friends, or being secretive about his phone, email, and social media accounts, then you have a problem bigger than being a workaholic.

He may actually want a divorce. 

To read more about the signs that your husband wants a divorce, read this recent article. Read about the signs and how to stop them so you can begin fixing your marriage. And there’s 1 sign that leads to divorce 99% of the time.

Just click the link to my site.

Do men think that working and providing financially is their #1 job?

While it is less common for men to be the sole breadwinner, most men do see providing financially to be their #1 job for their family. And they often confuse that with really being there for their wives and children on a physical and emotional level.

According to a recent study, it has become less common for dads to be their family’s sole breadwinner. But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pressure to provide financially for their families.

76% of men feel pressure to support their families financially. 49% of men feel pressure to be an involved parent.

Furthermore, men feel more pressure than moms to get back to work soon after the birth or adoption of a child. So, even if your husband wants to be around more, he likely feels extreme pressure to provide financially.

Make it clear to your husband that it’s his presence you need, not his paycheck.

If you are financially stable, there’s no need for him to keep putting in extra hours. But as I’ve said, make sure your actions, and particularly your spending and financial choices, don’t contradict that.

If you’re constantly expecting new cars, fancy homes, and lavish vacations, you are reinforcing the belief in him that he has to excel at work. And that will always lead to longer hours.

Explain that you need him at family gatherings and to be there to watch the kids grow up.

How do I tell my husband his presence is more important than making money?

Let your husband know how his absence and long hours make you feel. But avoid accusations or blame. Work together on the household budget and make a realistic plan together that balances all of the family’s needs.

Then make sure your spending choices are aligned with him not working more than necessary.

Be open and honest without being defensive or judgmental. Express your appreciation for all his hard work, and praise him often.

Remember that in most cases, your husband is doing the best that he can.

Chances are he loves his job, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. Try to understand this so you can come from a place of compassion instead of frustration.

When you do approach him, don’t do it when he’s had a particularly bad day, when he’s stressed, or during an argument.

Wait until you are both relaxed and bring it up gently. 

Make sure you have a plan in place. Are all of the debts paid off? Do you have an emergency fund savings account built up? Are you able to do the things you both want to do without wondering if you’ll be able to pay for it?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it’ll be much easier to convince him that you need him home more than you need his paycheck. 

If you feel like your marriage is fizzling out due to more than financial reasons, it may be time to rekindle that spark.

You can rekindle your marriage by making sex a priority, appreciating your husband without expectation, and simply spending quality time together.

In this recent article, I dive deep into the world of stale, boring, and even broken marriages.

Just click the link to read it on my site, where I will walk you through all the best steps to rekindle your marriage when the love has faded.

Final thoughts

Work can bring a great deal of satisfaction to our spouses.

But it shouldn’t come at the expense of the relationship. When your spouse comes second, it is a recipe for disaster. It’s okay to tell your husband that you need his presence more than you need his paycheck. But try to see things from his point of view.

Don’t nag. Be compassionate and use positive reinforcement to help him.

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-wife-girl-people-female-72111/

Jeff Campbell