Don’t Let the Pursuit of Success Strain Your Marriage

Society places a lot of pressure on men to be successful. This comes with the expectation of being the providers, the breadwinners, the ones who bring in the big bucks. Not attaining this level of societal success can diminish a man’s sense of masculinity and worthiness of the role of husband and father. Today, the standard family is a two-income household with responsibilities shared by both parties. Although women make up more than 47% of the workforce and hold 52% of all professional-level jobs, men still feel compelled to fall into the historical role that society has created for them (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). This pressure can lead to detrimental effects not only on the health and well-being of men but also on their relationships. Often, men can become so consumed with obtaining success, that they neglect their relationships. They work long hours, become detached at home and think that being busy is way to reach their ultimate goal of success. A marriage living under the constant pressure of a man who feels the need to measure their success based on their ability to earn a certain salary, have a certain job, and conform to society’s view of success can be very stressful.

There are habits that men learn when striving to be successful in their careers; work hard, be loyal, be dedicated. There are also some habits that men can learn on their quest for a successful, healthy, and happy marriage.

Be Present

It’s important to have meaningful connections with your spouse. I’m not just talking about the routine husband duties like providing for the family and fixing stuff around the house, but the memories that will last a lifetime, that will sustain the relationship when you must work long hours and when you are away if duty calls. These shared memories will make you feel like you are always connected to one another and will help you keep one another at the forefront of each other’s minds. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can create simple ways to be present with your spouse. You can decide to be present in the moment without distractions. When you let other things get in the way, the attraction can begin to wear off because you are not showing them that they are worthy of your time or full attention. This means taking the time to give your full, undivided attention. Be present without thinking about work or other responsibilities. Surprise her with a date night, get dressed up and go out. It’s important to wives that you remember important dates and special occasions, but it’s equally important to be spontaneous. Being present is the beginning to fostering a positive relationship and can lead to more open communication and a strengthening of the relationship.

Be an Equal Partner

Women now make up a significant portion of the workforce however, due to lack of support, some women do not return to work after having children. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study found that 43% of highly qualified women voluntarily leave the workforce after having children. Men, in comparison, leave at a rate of 24%. While multiple factors result in these voluntary leaves, spousal support is crucial to making the transition back to work less stressful for women. Chasing after the ‘ideal image’ of success can make men become less than an equal partner. It takes compromise from both parties to make a two income household work. Women who take time out of the workforce to care for their families because of the societal pull to stay home or the lack of support, suffer in their ability to regain their careers.  Sharing the responsibilities of child-rearing and housework lightens the load for working moms and also leads to a stronger relationship built on equality and not on gender roles that society has dictated that we have. Working moms already feel guilty about not being home with their children because of the roles defined for us by society. Husbands who can understand the struggles of a working mom are more equipped to help their wives balance work and family. This will not only lead to increased joy and happiness in their marriage but also children who benefit from having parents who co-partner and redefine what the dynamics of a working family look like.

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