Consejos – A Special Bicultural Advise Column

consejos_horiz.jpgConsejos” is a syndicated column in the Dallas Morning News in which people from the Latino community write in with their questions. Liliana, Daniel and Catherine respond to the questions and also react to each other. It’s neat when they disagree. What makes it special? The one on the right, Catherine, is my daughter. Sometimes I think she’s a wonderful “post-doc” education for me. Here’s a sample from last week. I wish I had these insights when I was in my 20’s.

My husband works too much

07:15 PM CDT on Sunday, August 27, 2006

Question: My husband is a workaholic. We have been married for 13 years, and he has been in business for himself three different times for 11 of them. He doesn’t know how to spend time with the family without feeling guilty about not being at work.

We’re hardly ever alone, and I don’t think he realizes how this has affected our relationship. I am tired of telling him that we need to get out and do things together because our relationship is suffering.

I can’t even say the self-employment is worth it. It barely pays for our basic bills, and there isn’t any extra money to have fun with our three young children. I also work full-time, and am very frugal.

Am I being selfish because I want him around? I am not high-maintenance and can handle criticism, so please let me know how I should handle this situation.

Catherine: There’s nothing wrong with wanting your husband around, but why would he want to hang out with someone who criticizes him and focuses on his inadequacies?

Your husband may be a workaholic because he has more confidence in his work than he does in spending time with you. Have you let him know specific ways he can meet your emotional and relational needs – not as demands, but as information?

If he feels guilty about not being at work, that may mean he carries a huge responsibility to provide for the family, and that he also feels inadequate. The big question for you to ask yourself (and maybe him) is, what are you doing to contribute to his sense of adequacy? Building him up and encouraging him is the best thing you can do.

You can read the whole column on the Dallas Morning News Consejos website.

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