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Help! Our house is a den of arguments

Marriage Advice
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 He treats me like his colleague (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

My husband is successful at work, which I love, but he also tends to bring a lot of the attitudes that help him succeed in the office back home.

And that I do not like, because the house is full of arguments as a result! He expects super high standards, keeps endless ‘to-do’ lists, and is quite a perfectionist.

But I come home for relaxation, friendship, closeness, warmth, and affection. And anyway, the children defeat all his efforts to keep the place tidy.

So how do I persuade him to be a bit more relaxed?

Work Attitudes at Home

Chris says,

Hi, Work Attitudes at Home!

It won’t be easy, but try explaining to your husband how we all play different roles depending on what we are doing. And how we adjust our behaviour, attitudes and values as we move from one situation to another.

So the things you talk about and how you talk about them are completely different when you are chatting to your mother, for example, compared to when you are partying with your girlfriends. Or what about when you are playing with your children? Or in a meeting with your boss?

What all that means is that we develop an appropriate approach for each of our roles in life. And behave differently in each one of them. Spouse, parent, friend, employee and so on. And it works both ways.

So just as what works in your husband’s office is making him unpopular at home, it is not hard to imagine that if he tried to be relaxed, warm and affectionate at work, chances are he would get fired!

So while the best marriages tend to consist of couples who are similar in outlook and attitudes, in practice there is also often an exciting imbalance.

That happens because women tend to choose a husband who is successful at work, which means he is likely to be driven, a little bit obsessive, and probably even a tad stubborn.

While men tend to be drawn toward women who are more spontaneous, impulsive, and uninhibited. They are sort of complementary needs, aren’t they? She is drawn to his well-organised and meticulous nature, while he thinks that her more relaxed and informal approach will balance out his work-oriented system to life.

And so the seeds of conflict are sown. Your husband is forever frustrated by what he calls your lack of responsibility at home, while you bemoan his lack of fun and inability to relax and let go.

But being successful in all the different aspects of our lives means adopting the right approach in each set of circumstances.

So tell your husband he is not wimping out if he relaxes his professional standards at home. What he is doing is using his social skills to create an intimate atmosphere.

All the best,

Chris

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