But leaving your job for love only works when it’s your call, experts warn Moneyish. And women are more likely to make the sacrifice.
Quit the job to save the marriage.
That’s the tough decision some couples have had to make when their livelihoods have threatened their love lives.
Sharon Podobnik, 32, from Washington, D.C. quit her demanding job as an inner city charter school academic director in July after work kept interrupting her honeymoon.
“It was the defining moment in my life,” Podobnik told Moneyish. “I realized that I couldn’t bring the stress of my job into our marriage – it would be doomed to fail before it had a chance to begin.”
Meet the people who say they quit their jobs to save their marriages https://t.co/LF6fMLraqI
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 5, 2017
But once she put in her notice, her love life improved immediately. “My husband and I had time together again to do things like make breakfast, or go to Sunday brunch,” said Podobnik, who is making her own hours now launching the Go Love Yourself! self-care subscription box service. Her husband, a rail transit engineer, is covering a greater portion of the rent in the meantime, and she’s drawing from her savings account to cover expenses.
It’s worth it. “We’re happy,” she said. “We have sex more. It’s almost put us back into dating mode.”
Tamar Braxton also recently revealed that she’s taking a beat to work on her marriage with music executive Vince Herbert.
“There’s a lot of things that are going on in my relationship and me being close to this music industry, and whatever I can do to eliminate all of the stress and problems off of my relationship, I would rather do that,” she told ET, noting her new record “Bluebird of Happiness” is her final album.
Stacey Greene, 53, from Ohio was juggling three jobs to help support her family years ago when she learned her lonely husband was having an affair. Instead of quitting her cheating spouse, she quit her weekend night job to spend more time together. She’s even written a book on it.
“He just wanted to reach out to me, dance with me, have a drink with me and enjoy time together,” Greene, 53, told Moneyish. Their romance has rekindled over regular date nights and bringing their other issues to light. For example, she resented holding so many jobs when he could have provided more help.
Now they have more time to address each other’s needs. “I could always get another job, but I don’t think I could get the same husband back, or the father of my children back,” she said. “When I looked at our marriage, we had 25 pretty good years and amazing kids, and we’re working to have 25 more. And in the long run, five bad months is just a pimple on the face of 50 years.”
One common thread running through these success stories is that it was the individual’s decision to give up the gig, rather than the partner demanding it.
“The bottom line is: Whose idea is it for you to leave your job?” Cooper Lawrence, relationship expert and host of “The Cooper Lawrence Show” on 101.6 BLI, told Moneyish.
“If it’s your choice to step away from a job for your marriage, then that should bode well for you,” she explained. “But if it’s not your choice – you feel pushed into it – then the resentment you feel is going to supersede any positive steps you make toward repairing your relationship.”
You’ve also got to have a financial plan in place: Is the other partner earning enough to provide for you both if you quit or move to working part-time? Or do you have enough savings to give this a trial run for a few months?
“Oftentimes this does not work because you could put extra financial stress on the relationship if this creates a significant change in income,” warned licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert Stacy Kaiser. “I always tell couples who are making a decision like this that it needs to be reevaluated every three to six months, or every year, because things change. The person that signed up for this may find that they are missing their old job or career, so those financial and emotional changes need to be factored in.”
It’s also notable that in these examples, it was the wife who compromised her career for the couple. Perhaps this is because men often make more money thanks to the gender pay gap, and many households have to prioritize the position with the higher income.
But research also shows that marriages often prioritize men’s careers over women’s. Wives whose husbands worked 60 hours or more per week were 42% more likely to quit their jobs in one study – but the husbands whose wives worked 60-plus hours were not significantly prone to quitting.
Even the godlike Chris Hemsworth admitted to GQ Australia that his wife Elsa Pataky sacrificed her career so he could become the superstar of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Avengers” movies. “In terms of work, she’s certainly given up more than I have,” he said. “She’d like me to step back and be at home with the kids more, and of course, I want that, too. But I feel like I’m at this crucial point in my career – I’ve just got to set up for longevity or I’ll slip off.”
“Societal norms still exist for men where their career is a huge part of their identity,” said Kaiser. “One thing I hear from a lot of men is: ‘What will people think if I tell them that my wife is going to an office, and I am working part-time or telecommuting at home?” So there’s an both a personal and a community image concern that many men still have, whereas women have an easier time” making this kind of compromise.
London dad Robin Sherwood, 43, is an exception to the rule. He left his copywriter position at Unilever in July to take care of their kids – including a six-month-old – so that his wife could build her PR business.
“When we were both working, it put a strain on our relationship, and she was really struggling working at home with the kids while her business was taking off,” he told Moneyish. “She said I wasn’t supporting her, so I said maybe it would help if I came home.”
He readily volunteered because he wasn’t passionate about copywriting, and the thousands they’re saving in childcare help offset his lost income.
It’s still a work in progress. While Sherwood loves being with the kids, he actually sees his wife even less now because her firm is signing on so many clients. But she’s hiring more staff to ease the workload, and he’s launched his Dandy Dad blog.
“I know we made the right decision. She can see I’m more chilled out, and we don’t argue as much anymore,” he said. “And besides, none of this is set in stone. I can always go back to work.”
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