Husband took lower paying job by choice, now I have to work more

Almost 6 months ago, my husband took a lower paying job (40% paycut) because he didn’t like his job. He had a job working for a medium sized city and had a specialized position that paid well and he had quite a bit of autonomy there. For over 7 years I listened to him complain about his job and I was tired of feeling guilty about him hating his job in order to support us.

Ever since he did this, we can’t afford to pay our bills. I’m so stressed all the time as it is and now I will need to work full time as opposed to my 24 hours per week that I have been working. :mad:

Also, ever since he did this I’ve noticed that he seems way less stressed and I am way more stressed. He, however, does not take note of this- he is oblivious as in many things tied to emotions. What’s done is done but I don’t feel the same way about him- I think a job change is great if that’s what he needed for his mental and physical health. But I’m so irritated that he didn’t seem to think 40% would be this bad even though I told him that it would. Now that I’m going to spend less time at home with out kids- I’m even MORE irritated that it still doesn’t seem to be sinking in. I’m bearing the consequence of his choice and I’m pretty dissatisfied about that. I want to just go on being bitter, and I’d even like to ask him for my own bedroom. I don’t know where to go from here.:shrug:

In most cases, today’s economy makes it difficult for only one spouse to work. However, your husband’s happiness is just as important as yours. The fact that he took a lower paying job which makes him less stressed out should tell you something about how bad it was for him at his previous job. Sometimes that happens. All jobs have pros and cons. I have a job that pays a bit less than other positions of the same kind in my whole area, so I understand what it is to work for less money, but have other things about that job that make it worth it. Please try to understand that your husband’s happiness, and health (not just physical health) is important too. So if you have to work more hours to help him support your family, IMOHO, that’s what you should do until things get better. He has been stressed at his previous job, according to you, for some time. It was only a matter of time before it took its toll on him. Families have to stick together and make it work. I don’t mean to make little of your situation, because I’ve been there myself. I don’t mean to be insensitive to your concerns, because they are important too, but this is the time when you buck up and help out more than you usually do, until things get better.

Seven years is a long time to hate your job. It has to have taken a toll on your husband. Perhaps you need to be honest with him about your feelings, but try to do it calmly. Maybe he still needs to look for another job that will be a good fit for both of you. But at the same time, it has only been six months that you have now had to work more and be with your family less. Marriage is never equal, but it is for better or for worse. Now is the for worse part. You really need to try and find a way to not be bitter or dissatisfied. And you should not be wanting to have your own bedroom. Did he do that to you while he was unhappy with work? Again, that is not what marriage is about.

I am sorry that things are as they are for you at the moment. Please try and find time for prayer and perhaps God will reveal his will for you, in His time. May God bless you and your husband and guide you both.

Sounds like you two aren’t communicating very well. And not really working as a team. There should have been a plan for him to move to another job before 7 years went by. If he really hated his job, it would have been good for you two to sit down and plan for what you were going to do next. Taking a 40% pay cut might have been necessary, but he should not be content to leave things as they stand if he is not supporting you and his children.

Is he going to stay at the level of salary/pay that he is currently at, or can he move up in the new organization? Does he have the ambition to better himself? Take a long view - is he able to spend more time with the children now? Is he a happier husband and father? That’s worth something. Don’t let bitterness ruin your relationship with your husband. Don’t store up resentments. It’s like taking poison and expecting your husband to die. You two need to sit down and hash everything out, but before you do, check your attitude at the door. You need to approach it like a problem you both want to solve. “Honey, I know you are happier now that you have left that job, but I need to see that there is a plan for you to be able to pay our bills again. My job doesn’t pay enough to support us on your current salary.” etc.

I would suggest that you get some marital counseling to help you communicate better. Call Catholic Charities, they have LSWs who work on a sliding scale and it can be very helpful.

When I experience the emotions you’re expressing, it’s usually because my Hubby’s made a fairly big decision for the family without asking my opinion beforehand (it doesn’t happen often now, but it certainly did at the beginning of our marriage).
It sounds like if you had been consulted more thoroughly on his choice, you might feel more supportive, or at least happier to make the sacrifices so he can be at a job he enjoys.

Tell your husband how you’re feeling, please. If you’re like me and have a hard time expressing how you feel face to face, then just print off what you wrote here and show him. He NEEDS to know how you’re feeling and he NEEDS to be able to help with a solution. Most of all, YOU need his love and support right now. You need to hear how much he appreciates your sacrifice. None- NONE of this will happen if you don’t tell him how you feel and what exactly you need from him.

It is so true that his happiness is just as important as mine. I agree. There was a plan for him to get out of his job, which was me going to nursing school. I worked very long and hard at accomplishing that. Now I am a RN and I work 12 hour shifts. I got out of nursing school when the economy tanked and it was hard to find ANY jobs at all for him. This was the first job offer, and although it has room to move up- I don’t think he’s interested. He actually would like to eventually move into a different position there that pays even less than his.

It really takes it out of me after 2 12’s and then to come home and be faced with a very dirty house, piles of laundry, kids not put to bed, dishes from 3 days before still in the sink. Now it will be 2 12’s and 2 6’s. He actually has less time with the family now- he drives farther and the work day is 1/2 hour longer and ends an hour and a half later than the old job. And a lot less flexibility for time off- he used to be able to take time off whenever he wanted. Now, in the past 6 months he hasn’t taken any days off besides one sick day. I am having a really hard time adjusting to all of it and I am finding myself not wanting to get out of bed.

The insurance stinks compared to the old job, my insurance is way too expensive to cover the family with. It’s a lot of things combined. I want to be a good wife, I’m just having a tough time finding my way right now.

I don’t understand how what you described there is a plan for him to get out of his job?

If he did this without your knowledge I can understand your frustration and you should be POd. However is this was discussed, it’s a mutual pain. I’ve been down this road, as the one who left a job due to mega stress and zero quality of life. I don’t have enough details about your case but without the feelings you once had for him, it does make it harder to come to an understanding.

Prayers for you, your husband, and your family, kittery!

From today’s Liturgy of the Hours, a portion of the Te Deum:

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
– Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
– We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
– Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
– for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
– And we shall never hope in vain.

We always knew we would need additional income as our children grew- we are committed to giving them a private catholic education which costs a fair amount. We knew that he would not be able to find a HIGHER paying job by changing jobs as he was maxed out where he was. So, I went back to school to finish my nursing degree in order to be able to supplement our income and allow for a lower paying job. I didn’t anticipate that the new job would be nearly 1/2 the pay, less benefits, and less time with him. Then within a week of being there, he sets his sight on an even lower-paying job. Nursing is something I love, but time with my kids is a priority of mine as well.

Try putting yourself in his shoes. What if you were the one stuck in a job
you absoutely hated?
Your husband seems less stressed??? probably because he IS less stressed!

Being at a job that one detests can very draining…emotionally and physically.

You are right- this is true. He is less stressed. Now I feel so much stress I can barely get out of bed. That’s my problem.


I am sorry to hear about you situation. The only thing I can suggest is that you talk to your husband about your stress and emotional pain. Maybe suggest that he starts looking for another job - one close to the last one but in a better work enviroment. Maybe one with not as much as he was making but one better than he is making now - one that will allow you to go back to the 24 hours you were working before.

Or if it is that you do not like the place you are working then maybe you could look for another one that has less stress. A good thing to view also is what about the extra 16 hours that you have picked up stress you out and maybe try to fiind a way around those stressers.

I pray that things work out for you, and your husband.

May God bless and keep you and your family in his loving embrace.


You promised to be there for each other in sickness and in health.

It appears that his previous job was causing him sickness, at least in spirit.

Who knows what the outcome might have been if he had felt forced by you to stay put in such a situation that could have been driving him to despair? The situation you’re enduring now might have been far FAR worse had he not made that change. People have been known to do all sorts of very stupid and tragic things when under that sort of stress and men, in particular, tend to do such things in quite drastic ways.

Yes, it sounds like you have a bit of a need for better communication with each other so that you can find a slightly more happy medium, but I think that your bitterness may be a little misplaced. If you love your husband you will support him. If he loves you, then he should support you equally. It seems that the requirement for support has been placed more on you than him for a little while, but that for several years he had been shouldering that burden.

Talk to each other. Understand the things that each of you are going through. Communicate with each other for and because of the love that you have for each other. Don’t give in to bitterness because that is often a one-way street with no return. Let go of it sooner rather than later before it’s too late.

I pray for peace for both of you.

Have you told him this?

You said he, like many men, tends to be oblivious about this sort of thing. You’ve been married over seven years, so it seems likely that he doesn’t want you to feel this way. Seems like the two of you just need to have a long, calm chat to figure out how to fix the problem. There’s always a solution, though perhaps not an easy one, but it’s important to make sure everyone’s on the same page about what the problem is.

You mentioned that you are coming home to a house that needs cleaning,laundry,dirty dishes,etc.Have you and your husband discussed sharing the household chores?Are your children old enough to pitch in?

Yes, we’ve discussed this many times- our values are miles apart here. I don’t want/expect perfection because it takes the fun out of life in my opinion. He’s right at home in a mosh pit. Our children are old enough to pitch in but only under guidance of an adult still.

Another possible solution that you should at least consider: taking the kids out of Catholic school.

I don’t say that lightly. I’m a huge proponent of Catholic education. I plan to send my own children to Catholic school if we can afford it. But not at the expense of our health or our house. If I or my husband was so stressed that we were seriously unhappy, feeling overwhlemed and unable to cope with the burden of expense that Catholic school can present, I would definitely reconsider alternative schooling options. You’re committed to private Catholic education, and I applaud that. But be more committed to the health of your marriage.

It sounds like you just switch positions. Now he is happy and you are the one stressed and miserable. You have two full-time jobs (nursing and mom/taking care of house) and he has a low paying stress free job.

First, I would pray. Spend time in adoration. Ask God to help you through a stressful time in your life. Anything is possible with God. Start and end your day with prayer. I am in a very stressful situation at home and am not sure I would still be alive without God being the center of my life.

Also, I agree with communicating your feelings to your husband. He needs to know how your current situation is affecting you. If you are stressed and depressed, how will you take care of your patients at work and your children?

If he will not help around the house, maybe he needs to get a part-time job so that you can go back to two12 hour days. If he wants a wife that takes care of the house and kids than he needs to provide the financial support for you to be able to work part-time or he needs to start pitching in at home.

I will pray for you and your family.

Taking a job you hate and sticking with it for 7 years just so your family can be happy actually sounds like a huge accomplishment, commitment and sacrifice. At the end of the day maybe you can be happy that you can now provide the same kind of sacrifice for him that he has done for you.

I’m sure he didn’t take a “lower paying” job by choice, he just took one that was more tolerable and that possibly he liked better. Nothing wrong with that, as long as he can rely on you just as you have relied on him. Now you see how difficult it has been for your husband to have a job that he hates. You are really starting to feel how much he has sacrificed for you for 7 years, right? Can you do the same for him? After all, it is not his “job” to take all the burden in your marriage, so can you trade off once in a while? He didn’t do this to make things worse for you, he did it to make things better for himself, which is something you just have to do sometimes so that you don’t burn out and give up. If you’re in an unhappy situation for a long time and you don’t do anything to try to change it, that’s not a healthy place to be. Likewise, if you yourself are in a job you absolutely hate, you don’t have to be stuck in the same job for 7 years if you keep looking for new opportunities. Spend a few minutes or an hour each week job searching. Maybe you’ll find a better job just like your husband did!

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