Writing the book, Confessions of a Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from a Lumpy Couch, has been just as valuable for opening my eyes deeper into how I can improve my marriage as it was an exercise in telling my story and writing a book for others to read.
One thing I learned about myself that surprised me was how much I was hiding from my wife in an effort to “shield” her from my worries.
Here are the three terrible reasons I kept my worries from my wife and what I've learned about the process, using a particularly stressful situation I didn't handle very well from around July 2008 through May 2009.
The world's economy was going crazy, stock markets were crashing, and the legal industry was turning upside down.
Seeing close friends get laid off, retirement accounts halved, and the tone of the industry that I had anointed as the foundation upon which we would build our family's future shifting was challenging.
I felt that my plans for our family were rattled by circumstances around me that I could not control.
That perceived lack of control stressed me out, big time. And I didn't handle it well.
Instead of reaching out to my wife for support, I doubled down as a lone wolf.
I kept “telling her” that “things were stressful” at work, that people were getting laid off, and that we needed to be careful with finances because job security was not what it used to be.
I didn't let the depth of any conversation to go beyond “that other law firm laid off 50 attorneys yesterday,” “the market is crashing,” and “we need to be careful.”
I thought I was doing the right thing, shouldering burdens for the family.
Turns out trying to “shield” things from my wife made everything worse, for both of us.
Here are the top three terrible reasons I kept my worries from her, along with the obligatory 20/20 hindsight:
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