Aaron and his wife Sophia had been saving up for a kitchen remodel, but unplanned expenses kept getting in the way. So when an after-school tutoring job opened up at the school where he taught, Aaron jumped at the opportunity. To announce his solution for completing their kitchen fund, he prepared a special dinner for Sophia—candlelight and all—and shared the “gift” of the new kitchen in a greeting card over dessert. She looked up, eyes wide, and asked how it was possible. He explained the side job and the extra income it would provide. Tears welled up in Sophia’s eyes—but they weren’t tears of happiness. “Honey,” she said, “I love that you are willing to take on extra work to make the new kitchen possible. But the time you spend with me and the kids after work is priceless to us!”
She said that while, yes, she would eventually like an updated kitchen, Aaron’s presence at home was way more important for their family right now. Aaron was taken by surprise. He couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to fast-track the project they had dreamed of for so long. He just wanted to make things better for the family, but she clearly had a different idea about how to accomplish that.
Husbands, can you relate? At one time or another you’ve probably felt the same way Aaron did. You’re trying to provide the best for your family, but your wife isn’t happy about the sacrifice that requires. So you’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
In our most recent book, Thriving in Love and Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights About Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself, Jeff and I talk about what is probably behind Sophia’s response—and what might be underneath your wife’s behavior. You see, what husbands are frequently working so hard to provide might not be what is really most valuable to their wife.