When Your Spouse Doesn’t Support Your Success or Career

Filed in Family by on March 13, 2017 6 Comments

When your spouse doesn't support you

Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be successful in both career and family life. But then I’ll talk to someone who’s leading the example and I know that it can be done.

However, it’s never been the case in my household.

Last night I mentioned to my husband that I’d definitely like to attend the National Hardware Show taking place in Las Vegas. As a DIY blogger who writes about home improvement, decorating, and home maintenance, it’s a great opportunity to see the latest and greatest in products for the home.

I’d mentioned it to him before and he didn’t have a problem with me attending since it fell during the week and wouldn’t affect his weekend job and finding childcare for our three sons.

Last night, however, his response was anything other than supportive.

He proceeded to tick off all the things that my career has affected:

  1. He’s suffering.
  2. The kids are suffering.
  3. Everyone is sacrificing so that I can live out my dream, but that I fail to acknowledge everyone’s sacrificing.
  4. He has to work 7 days a week for me.
  5. All my money earned is spent on me and frivolous things.
  6. My readers think I’m an inspiration but to my family, they’re suffering.

All I could do was listen, soak it in, and ask him calmly (almost incredulously) to elaborate on how he and the kids are suffering, but he had no response.

This wasn’t the first time he has voiced his concerns about my career. In fact, when I lost my “day job” in January 2015, he wasn’t on board with me taking a leaping faith and becoming a full-time blogger. He wanted me back out there working a 9-to-5, which he considered more money and more security. But I knew that I could make it as a professional blogger. I had already been in the game for years at that point, earning a little income on the side from working with brands and earning revenue from ads on the site.

I knew it was a risk to leave behind the dreadful 9-to-5 in a career that I couldn’t stand in order to do something that I loved.

But I was confident I would succeed. I felt it in my bones.

My husband, on the other hand, someone who hates change more than anyone I know, wasn’t 100% supportive. He simply went along with it begrudgingly because I bargained that I would give it 3 months, and if things weren’t moving along, I would return to the 9-to-5 workforce.

Needless to say, my blog and brand began to flourish. I made partnerships with well-known brands, I began to earn more from sponsorships, I began to travel more for these opportunities, and eventually, my earnings surpassed what I was earning from my 9-to-5.

But most importantly, I was far happier!

I even won a modeling search and became a clothing model for a company that highlights and celebrates women in manual labor careers.

Yet, despite those accomplishments and the happiness that I feel over spending my days doing things I love to do and earning money doing them, I’m told that everyone is “suffering.”

How Is My Family Suffering?

I asked my husband to elaborate on the accusation that my career and traveling is causing everyone to “suffer,” but he wouldn’t say. I’m sorry, but you can’t make that kind of claim and not have evidence to back up that statement.

No mom or wife wants to feel that they’re harming their family.

I can only speculate what is meant by “suffering.”

Google defines suffering as, “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.”

My not being around for 3-4 days at a time might cause my family to miss me, but is it causing pain, distress, or hardship?

My sons seeing me earning money in a career that I love, building things with my own two hands, and being paid to speak to audiences–is that suffering?

I actually think it’s teaching them a valuable lesson about creating your own path, breaking the 9-to-5 mold, and that their Mom is actually helping people.

And let’s not talk about financial hardship…

My husband and I do not have a joint bank account. We have always kept our money separate and it’s worked well for us. He will give me a check every two weeks to cover mortgage and bills.

When I stopped my 9-to-5, he did pick up our family insurance, and he started giving me a few hundred more each paycheck.

He’s financially strapped. However, when you add up all the bills, we’re pretty much splitting things down the middle. So it’s not like he’s supporting me. We’re supporting each other. Because we couldn’t run this household on one income.

But he doesn’t take into account the extra money he uses to support family members that need financial support. I’ve never complained about it. But because he’s strapped now, it’s my fault.

And to address his comment that he has to work 7 days a week for me, that’s simply not true at all. Since I have known him in college, 21 years ago, he has worked 7 days a week. He was the guy waking up on Saturday morning while every other undergraduate had hangovers, walking to the train station to go to his weekend job. Years later, he’s got his 9-to-5, but he still has his weekend job. My being a full-time blogger has no bearing on him working the weekends.

I couldn’t believe he cited that excuse.

It’s Hurtful, To Be Honest

I’m going to be truthful with you.

Since last night, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this because it bothers me that much. It’s hurtful to think that the thing that brings me such joy is actually causing stress for my family (or perceived stress, I should say).

And if you’re thinking, “Oh, just sit down and talk with your husband about how you feel,” that’s out of the question.

No amount of talking will change the fact that my husband will never support what I do.

As long as he feels it’s an inconvenience to him and his routine or anyone else’s routine, then it will be an area of contention.

He feels that he has sacrificed a lot in order for me to live my dream. Yes, he has helped and sacrificed, but having it thrown in your face as a reminder whenever he is unhappy or in a crappy mood, isn’t the answer to a harmonious household.

I am an easy person to get along with. I really am. I’m supportive of people following their dreams, even if it means selling off the house and living on meager portions to make it work, then that’s what it takes. If he expressed his dreams to me and wanted my help in making it happen, I would gladly help him.

Because life isn’t about living each day unhappily schlepping off to a 9-to-5 for simply a paycheck. It’s about waking up each day excited about what adventure will bring. It’s about waking up each day and being creative and doing the things you love and that bring you energy.

A spouse should support their spouse in making their dreams become a reality, not rub it in their faces about how much they’d had to help and what they’ve had to give up.

Have you ever needed your spouse’s support and didn’t get it? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it.


About the Author ()

Serena Appiah is a wife and mom to 3 boys in the Washington, DC metro area who enjoys writing about family, finances, and raising children.

Comments (6)

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  1. Jon says:

    Could you do what your doing without your husbands support (taking care of the kids)? Sounds like your husband feels like he is being used to support your dreams and is wondering “what about my dreams?” Sorry but if your husband feels and is having to sacrifice to support your dreams and your only able to do them because of him taking care of the kids then he is justified.

    • Heather says:

      I don’t want this to come off rude, I just want to clarify. So I apologize in advance if it is taken the wrong way. ☺️ They aren’t HER kids. They are THEIR kids. Every once in a while a dad actually has to be a dad. Crazy, huh? Lol! I’m going through the same thing … and if mothers can watch the kids while the husband is “out” working, surely he can watch the kids while the mother is working. (And trust me, we’re working. Although my husband thinks I sit on fb all day. If he only knew.) Stay kind out there everyone! ❤️

  2. Valerie says:

    Going through a similar situation. I have to disagree with Jon wholeheartedly. They are your husband’s children too and if he is suffering by having to care of his own children then that is not suffering. It’s called parenting. Moms stay home all of the time and your article even stated you do all of this while the children are at school and so that it doesn’t affect your husband’s schedule. I think husband just doesn’t like being outshined and it’s rubbing his ego the wrong way. He’d thought you’d fail and now that you’ve taken off he doesn’t know what to do. Stay strong and positive and never another person stifle your dreams, especially through guilt tactics. Keep it up mom!

  3. Kelli says:

    My husband is unhappy with my current job state. I’m a teacher who has been been ultimately trying to secure a public school position for 10 years now. I’ve taught in private schools for meager pay for a year or two before life has caused me to either give it up for my husband’s career or to have children. The market is flooded with potential teachers all trying to secure the same positions as me. I recently got another private school position but he is unhappy with it and feels I will never get a public school position. He feels I need to consider changing my career choice. I could work doing something else for more pay but teaching is my passion. It seems unfair of him to ask me to give up my passion.

  4. Lulu says:

    My guess is that he’s not feeling validated or heard. Even if he’s totally off with his accusations, if he’s feeling like his feelings are not valid or that when he shares how he feels that he is met with resistance and counter arguments, then he’ll be left feeling frustrated and invalidated and will shut down and offer less support or build resentment. Makes sense that you want him to support your decisions and your career and it sounds like you’ve been doing very well in your path. Congrats on your success !

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