Share this story

 | By Steve and Bridget Patton

She says: I have a great job opportunity

She says: I haven’t been able to find work in my field in this area, and now I have a great job opportunity three states away. I would be making more than Sam, which seems to be a problem for him. We have lived here for Sam’s job for 10 years, and now I think it’s my turn.

He says: I don’t want to move

I love my job, and I can support the family just fine. Becky doesn’t have to take the new job; she just wants to. I don’t see any reason for us to uproot everything when I don’t want to move. I feel as if we’re at an impasse – we just can’t agree. What do we do?

What do they do?

It’s not such a bad problem when both spouses want to work. Imagine if neither wanted to ….

Seriously, though, make sure it’s the important things that are shaping your decision. In other words, don’t get bogged down by the not-so-important things. And completely do away with any destructive things. Let’s review each.

The important things are mutual willingness to make sacrifices to maintain your unity as a couple, sufficient income to provide for your family and mutual support for one another’s development as persons.

The not-so-important things are where you live, dealing with the irritations of moving, how much money you’re making (so long as you’re making enough), and who’s working and who’s not working.

There are two destructive things. 1) Feeling threatened by the other’s career advancements. Please, Sam, if there’s any of this going on in your feelings about what Becky would be earning, get rid of it. 2) Measuring your worth in terms of your presence in the workforce. Please, Becky, if there’s any of this going on in your “it’s my turn” thinking, get rid of it.

In short, follow St. Paul’s advice to the Philippians: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)

So Sam, don’t be ruled by pride, fear or inertia. Quitting your job and moving for Becky’s sake poses no real threats to either your self worth or your family finances. Sure it would be inconvenient, but only for a while. To be willing to do this for her would be both a sign of love and a manly stepping out in faith. And who knows what new opportunities might be waiting for you there?

But Becky, be patient and tender with Sam’s reluctance. Much of a person’s self-respect can be anchored in their role as a provider. Assure him that your respect for him would not waver if he ends up not working for a while. Indeed, assure him that your respect for him would grow all the greater if he were to quit a job he loves out of for love of you.