The Distracted Husband: Values and Conflict

The Distracted Husband: Values and Conflict March 21, 2019

There are multiple factors behind broken marriages, but many of them are the result of a distracted husband—a man who constantly gives his attention to his work or recreation rather than his family.

Some men do this because they are greedy or are driven by a childhood need to perform, as we discussed in a previous Marriage Builder. But other men may be motivated by additional causes.

For instance, perverted work-related values often lead to distracted men. I once counseled a man whose wife was furious because he worked seven days and six nights a week.

In order to see him, she had to go to his place of employment. Most of their time together was spent around his job.

When she threatened to leave him unless he could change, he agreed to take an hour out of his “busy” schedule to come to my office and ask me to, in his words, “talk some sense” into his unreasonable wife.

I told him I agreed with his wife’s belief that he worked too much. I told him he should change jobs, if necessary, to meet his wife’s needs. “Your work should support the home,” I said. “Not the other way around.”

He turned beet-red was visibly disgusted with me, as if I’d just slapped his grandmother. He believed that his family was an outgrowth of his work.

This man had perverted priorities. In Matthew 22, Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God. The second greatest is to love others. “Loving work” is curiously absent from that passage.

Another root cause of distraction is unresolved conflict. When a husband and wife have a wedge between them—and refuse to deal with it—a man may respond by turning his attention toward work.

The longer this takes place, the more unhealthy their relationship becomes.

Why is this a natural response? Some men are not honored or respected at home, but they do receive that respect at work. So they gravitate to the workplace to meet this basic needs. Work acts as a surrogate home atmosphere.

But the correct answer to any problem at home is never, never, found by turning away from home.

If you are hiding from family problems by working excessively, you need to repent and go home. Ask God to help you overcome your family or marriage problems. Pray, and ask others to pray with you and for you.

As you persevere in prayer to deal with these problems, God will honor you. You will be much happier for having faced the issues head-on.

Because of the culture we live in, it is easy for men to become distracted by their work, regardless of the reason behind it. If you are a husband, then you are a husband at risk for distraction.

Resolve now not to let anything—other than your relationship with God—come before your marriage and family.

 


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