Husband Wants His Own Office


#1

Hi,

I've been married for a bit over a year and I'm finding that I have a need for solitude or independence that isn't being met in marriage. I tried to deal with this by taking one of the rooms in our house as my office. I wanted to decorate it all myself and have only my things in it and the idea was that my wife would usually not go in there, unless there was some practical need like to open a window, or find something of mine when I wasn't home.

But this has led to a lot of arguments. She seems to feel that its unfair. And some sermons at church have talked about how the husband shouldn't separate himself from the family. Or about the danger of having a computer in his own room which could be used for pornography (just the idea led me to removing the computer from there). So I gave up the office and agreed to make it "our office" but I'm feeling really angry now. I feel as though I no longer have time to myself to pray quietly or to gather my thoughts. I'm resorting to going for walks in the evening to get my prayer and 'me time' in. But I wonder if this is selfishness. Can anyone offer some advice?


#2

Men seem to need a space of their own. Women need to talk about their issues. It’s a gender thing. I don’t see any problem with you having your own space “a man cave” as they are sometimes called. I recommend reading Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. It helped me understand guys a lot better. Have your wife read it too. For what it’s worth I think everybody needs a little space married or not. :cool:


#3

I do not think it is a good idea for either spouse to have such a private room. “Off-limits?” To the other half of yourself? Why? If you need an office to work in, then your wife should not be kept from entering. The idea raises suspicions of what you are hiding from her, that she should be kept out of a room in her own house. If you need a prayer space, then make a prayer space that both of you can use at different times.

If you are more introverted and need quiet time alone, why not go to adoration? that’s the best time with Jesus, and even though others might be there, it is our own private time with Jesus. The walks are good too. Why do you need to specifically be in the house and alone?

You united with your wife as one flesh, so if you are feeling encroached upon, you need to find ways to deal with it, or it’s going to be an issue for both of you.

And have you had a problem with porn? The way you reacted, removing the computer, gives me pause to think maybe that is a temptation for you.

I will tell you that my husband is an introvert, and after years of him withdrawing to be alone, I no longer care nor want to be with him. When he is here at home, he’s not really here, he’s somewhere else in his head, and he will even close the door on me when I am just happily trying to talk to him or the boys are making noise. I know it’s not something he does intentionally but it hurts nonetheless. I feel that he never really wants to be with me. I hope that helps you understand perhaps from your wife’s POV.


#4

Get your wife some books on relationships and male psychology. She’ll find most men need some alone time. One book referred to it as ‘cave time’, every man needs some time alone in their cave to collect their thoughts and recharge. Some theorize men became more introspective than women due to hunting activities (quiet, often separate to stalk, track etc). For whatever reason, it’s a reality.

My man cave was a 750cc 130mph+ motorcycle. Perhaps you could suggest to your wife that you obtain one of these? Nothing clears the head quite like a fast ride through light traffic or a ride through the hills in the twisties, concentrating on the next up/down shift and throttle coordination. Several good superbike schools across the country, some even travel and set up at various tracks across the country. You can look them up on line, for example here’s one- superbikeschool.com/schedule/

Skydiving is a pretty good head clearer as well, good solitude, peace and quiet on the ride down under the chute. Does give you an appreciation for life. Perhaps your wife would go along with that?

SCUBA diving gives you some sense of serenity and solitude. It is very peaceful and only hand signals for communication to your buddy. But it’s not really alone time, but your wife may go along with letting you do that.


#5

Neil, it sounds like you may be an introvert. Have you taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? I took it and it told me that I'm one, which helped me to understand my need for solitude and relate that need to others, especially when relating to extroverts.

This article on introversion is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it offers insights.

Perhaps you and your wife could schedule an appointment with the priest (who gave the sermons about husbands seperating from families) and discuss this in more detail with him?


#6

I don’t think having your own space is at all selfish. So now it’s both your space?

I think she should trust you that you are a grown up and you don’t need a space for sin, you could sin anywhere really.

Maybe she’s concerned that you will stay in there long periods of time, leaving her lonely? Tell her you’ll only be there for a while, then you can be together again.


#7

I am also one of those people who need "me" time everyday. It makes me more focused and after a day with our 2 year old, I need it to feel like a grown-up. So when DH comes home, I give him a little time and then I get an hour or so to go on the computer, work on a project, etc. while he watches DD.

Now what you are describing--a room where your wife isn't really allowed input or access unless there is a good excuse sounds a bit extreme to me. :shrug: Reminds me of the treehouses when I was a kid with the "no girls allowed" sign. :shrug: And honestly if my husband told me he needed a room where I wasn't present I definitely wouldn't feel loved or that he liked being around me. And I do agree with the sermon that you heard--the guys I have known who had separate space with a computer in it that wasn't a family area--those were guys with major pornography addictions.

My DH's "me" time is when he works out. Do you work out? The walks every day could be your "me" time. When I worked, the drive home every day was my relaxation time (although sometimes it was frustrating with traffic and all) because I'd listen to music that suited my individual taste.

I see nothing wrong with having some time to yourself because most couples don't enjoy EVERYTHING together--and you want time to think, pray, and do the things you are passionate about. Just make sure your spouse gets time to herself too. And make sure that you keep the time for yourself in moderation. If you make this too much a priority and start having a lot of anger and fights about it that may be because you are being selfish. An hour a day seems reasonable for us but it may be unreasonable for a family where the husband works 12 hour days--this is not just about what you need--your spouse needs to give her input and ya'll need to compromise where you are both comfortable.

KG


#8

I can sympathize with your need for space to think. I myself am seeking a place in my home to do my artwork. It is not that I do not want to be with my family. But everyone is entitled to have some time to their own thoughts and to not be having interruptions during them.

I think that you must see what it is the upsets your wife so much. Is it you taking a room for yourself and she would like her own space too? Are you taking up the only free space that she planned to use as a guest room? Or is it that she feels that you are not giving her the attention she needs and this room threatens to separate you even more? (Even if this is not your intention, she may feel that this is what would happen.) These are all things to consider and perhaps if you talk to her and find out her objections it will make it easier to understand her reluctance.

I think there has to be a compromise here somehow. Everyone needs to be present in their marriage, but that does not mean you need to be joined at the hip. ;)


#9

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:3, topic:253169"]
I do not think it is a good idea for either spouse to have such a private room. "Off-limits?" To the other half of yourself? Why? If you need an office to work in, then your wife should not be kept from entering. The idea raises suspicions of what you are hiding from her, that she should be kept out of a room in her own house. If you need a prayer space, then make a prayer space that both of you can use at different times.

If you are more introverted and need quiet time alone, why not go to adoration? that's the best time with Jesus, and even though others might be there, it is our own private time with Jesus. The walks are good too. Why do you need to specifically be in the house and alone?

[/quote]

Thank you for your comments. What you're saying sounds a lot like what my wife might say. Except I thought she would react badly to me going out of the house for my alone time (walks, adoration), but perhaps she wouldn't mind that at all? I will try to find parishes with adoration in the evenings. Thank you for the suggestion.

I really want to avoid us developing the problems that you describe, but unfortunately its already happening. We used to have a prayer room but I felt that she wouldn't let me use it in quiet. She insisted on using it at the same time as me, and I found it distracting. Because I feel cheated out of my quiet time, I really don't want to talk to her very much at all. And because of this distance she finds it harder and harder to let me have my quiet time. I'm just afraid she will insist on going to adoration with me.

Yes I'm very introverted and I mistakenly thought my wife was a contemplative/introverted person and so I thought things would go well. I didn't realize until we were married that every thought that goes through her mind seems to come out her mouth and I'm literally going nuts. But I think your suggestion of walks and adoration may be the answer. Thank you!


#10

[quote="Neil_Anthony, post:9, topic:253169"]
I'm just afraid she will insist on going to adoration with me.

[/quote]

Well, then let her go with you! It's safer for her than going to evening adoration alone and unless she's one of those people who has to gossip in church, she'll be quiet right next to you. :)

KG


#11

[quote="styrgwillidar, post:4, topic:253169"]
Get your wife some books on relationships and male psychology. She'll find most men need some alone time. One book referred to it as 'cave time', every man needs some time alone in their cave to collect their thoughts and recharge. Some theorize men became more introspective than women due to hunting activities (quiet, often separate to stalk, track etc). For whatever reason, it's a reality.

My man cave was a 750cc 130mph+ motorcycle. Perhaps you could suggest to your wife that you obtain one of these? Nothing clears the head quite like a fast ride through light traffic or a ride through the hills in the twisties, concentrating on the next up/down shift and throttle coordination. Several good superbike schools across the country, some even travel and set up at various tracks across the country. You can look them up on line, for example here's one- superbikeschool.com/schedule/

Skydiving is a pretty good head clearer as well, good solitude, peace and quiet on the ride down under the chute. Does give you an appreciation for life. Perhaps your wife would go along with that?

SCUBA diving gives you some sense of serenity and solitude. It is very peaceful and only hand signals for communication to your buddy. But it's not really alone time, but your wife may go along with letting you do that.

[/quote]

THank you. I'm a scuba diver and I used to solo dive a lot but I gave that up because now that I'm married it seems like an unjustifiable risk. It was very relaxing and yes the solitude is amazing. I don't think I would enjoy motorcycles but maybe I can try hiking. Thanks for the ideas.


#12

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:6, topic:253169"]
I don't think having your own space is at all selfish. So now it's both your space?

I think she should trust you that you are a grown up and you don't need a space for sin, you could sin anywhere really.

Maybe she's concerned that you will stay in there long periods of time, leaving her lonely? Tell her you'll only be there for a while, then you can be together again.

[/quote]

Yes, now the office is both of our spaces, which I suspect will lead to excuses to come in and distract me when I light candles and meditate, etc. Or that she will nag me about how I decorate the room. I suspect she has control issues and it bothers her that part of the house isn't under her control.

I don't think she's worried about it being used for something sinful, I think she just doesn't like the idea of being locked out of part of the house.


#13

[quote="kevinsgirl, post:10, topic:253169"]
Well, then let her go with you! It's safer for her than going to evening adoration alone and unless she's one of those people who has to gossip in church, she'll be quiet right next to you. :)

KG

[/quote]

I find that I can't pray sitting beside her because I just sit there wondering when she's next going to start talking to me. I just sit there waiting for her to lean over and talk to me and can't focus. Maybe I'm getting nutty about the whole thing.


#14

THIS, I believe is the heart of the matter. You can try explaining this, but perhaps a bit of counseling with someone else will help her see how “normal” this is for your personality type. Seems like she may have a bit of an insecurity issue and may view your quiet time as a rejection of her. Perhaps you need to express your feeling of devotion just a little more strongly or more often.


#15

I had an office space for myself, but now it is my wife's office space and it is next to my wife's sewing room, etc. Between my wife and my son taking over I do not have any space left for myself, all I can do is to share the couch with the dogs when I watch some TV. After 20 years of marriage even the bathroom is not considered an off limits area. :D

I think that the need for some private time in a private space is necessary and I think that the OP should make it clear with his wife; however, setting off limits areas is quite counter productive and it can create a lot of resentments. After a man has been married for a long time he realizes that as a head of the family he is at the bottom of the totem pole, and that is the right position because he has to love his wife and family as Christ loved the Church. The head of the family must be a servant leader, a servant has nothing but must be willing to give.

My suggestion is for the OP to share his feelings with his wife and let her know that he needs some transition time (e.g. prayer time, of immediately after work) when he needs isolation to regroup and prepare for a better family life and not because he is moving away from the wife.


#16

[quote="Neil_Anthony, post:12, topic:253169"]
Yes, now the office is both of our spaces, which I suspect will lead to excuses to come in and distract me when I light candles and meditate, etc. Or that she will nag me about how I decorate the room. I suspect she has control issues and it bothers her that part of the house isn't under her control.

I don't think she's worried about it being used for something sinful, I think she just doesn't like the idea of being locked out of part of the house.

[/quote]

I think the above is the heart of it, from what you've said so far. I have no unearthly clue why someone would have the need to be joined to the hip of their spouse in every single moment of the day and circumstance. To me, having a "his" room and a "her" room will make "their" room nice and clean and free of distractions. Some people (like me) really need alone time, and when it's not given, it creates bad energy. I don't understand why she can't let you have a block of alone time in your own space that's yours, especially if she doesn't suspect you will use your time immorally. I agree with the books suggested on this thread. It may really help her to let go of her control issues, or at least try, and maybe have both of you sit down with a priest and talk about this. Maybe she will come to learn to compromise when she understands you more. I'll pray for you both.


#17

Conversation number 1,342 to have before marriage.

My dad has both an office (it dosn't have a door) and a "man cave" where he fixes things and brews his beer and fixes things that never quite...get fixed...none of the family, including my mom, goes in. At the same time, my mom decorates the entire house. While he has whined about things like crandberry sprayes and tinsel she gets to take care of that.

You really need to sit down and talk about quite time. I'd also recommend learning about love languages. You do need your "alone time" but you also need to find ways to let your wife know she's loved. This may include modifying you're alone time to "quiet side by side" time. It also may mean having your quite time when she's out shopping or with friends.

I'm an introvert with ADD. My roomate (I know, not the same) was an extra-extrovert, she felt bored if she didn't invite 4 people into the room after class. (gag me) We worked together and settled into a rythm that worked well for us. including instituting our own 'quiet hours' or days when she would put her headphones on to watch TV and people over days when I would either be social or go to the quiet study room in my dorm. We determined that I needed X hours a day/week and she needed X hours and we could be flexible in that.

I think having an office is great. But please, for the love of all that is good, do not think of saying "well you have the rest of the house" or "you have the kitchen'. Things don't need to be equl as far as space vs space. You might suggest that she host her friends on friday nights. In my case my mom's the introvert, my dad's the extra extrovert. When money allowed my dad would have his friends over and they'd do guy stuff in the basment and she'd rent a movie and stay upstairs with popcorn and had the reasonable expectation not to be bothored.

ALSO if this is a matter of where kids can go two thoughts.

Kids DO NOT need to have free reign of the house. Sorry. It just aint' happening.

Kids get cabin fever easy. You need to work with your wife how to deal with the 'loss of space'

My only other thing that I find wierd is that you just want a room. If a walk satisfys you then it shouldn't be an issue. If you want to have a hobby room...even if you spend more time thinking than writing/building ships/folding oragami then sobeit. But simply having a room seems silly. Work, hobbies...even if you want to practice ballet or excercize. But it seems very silly to us a whole room to...as my memere would say...bunt.


#18

Have you ever told your wife that you just need some "alone time" to be a better husband? And then have you gone on to say something about having 6-7 every evening as your time alone and afterwards you'll sit on the couch and talk about her day?

KG


#19

A wife is usually going to feel threatened if you want to set up a regular place and time from which you can essentially run a private sphere of your life that specifically excludes her. It is not only that it gives you a safe place to indulge a porn addiction or run a physical or emotional affair. From the outside, it feels like a shunning: not as if you value this time and place because it is for you only, but because it frees you from her company. That hurts.

I think there is a common ground here. You speak as if what you need to carve out is a place of solitude in time, whereas your wife sees you as carving out a place within your home *in space *: a place for just my things, a place “my wife would usually not go in there, unless there was some practical need like to open a window”. The other possibility is that she re-charges by social means, by touching others and by conversation, while you re-charge by means of solitary time and introspection. What charges your batteries up may be just what runs her batteries down, and vice versa. That isn’t that unusual, though. If you recognize it and honor the needs of the other person, you can work around it. Also, she may see your whole home as her “nest”. It may be intensely uncomfortable to her to find herself excluded from controlling a part of it. Consciously or not, she may feel as if you’re making a judgment on her ability to provide a comfortable place for you to come home to. The home she has prepared isn’t good enough, doesn’t comfort you, so you have to make a nest of your own within her foreign country in order to have a “home.” That might hurt, too.

I think perhaps you and she need to come to an understanding about your solitary side. In couples where both are like you, the wife has her sewing room no one gets to touch, the husband has his office or workspace and tools that no one gets to touch, and everyone is on the same page. Unless perhaps your wife’s mom was the solitary and her dad didn’t need that, it is unlikely that your wife has a solitary side and yet can’t understand that you have one, too. Therefore, assume that she, as a “non-solitary”, is going to have to learn not to take it personally that you can only spend so much time in the company of others–any others!–before you need to curl in your ball and re-charge. If a social animal did that, it would be an exclusion, a punishment. It doesn’t mean the same thing when a solitary does it.

You are going to have to give her time and space in which you show that enjoying her and your relationship with her and the home she has prepared for you to enjoy together has as high a priority as your relationship with yourself. You would probably also do well to take as much care that she has a time and place of her own in which to recharge, keeping in mind that if she recharges by socializing, for her that might be a place she can spend quality time with her female friends, with her sister or mother, and most probably also with you. Take at least as much care with her needs as with your own, communicate why you’re different, and I think you can work this out.


#20

[quote="EasterJoy, post:19, topic:253169"]
A wife is usually going to feel threatened if you want to set up a regular place and time from which you can essentially run a private sphere of your life that specifically excludes her. It is not only that it gives you a safe place to indulge a porn addiction or run a physical or emotional affair. From the outside, it feels like a shunning: not as if you value this time and place because it is for you only, but because it frees you from her company. That hurts.

I think there is a common ground here. You speak as if what you need to carve out is a place of solitude in time, whereas your wife sees you as carving out a place within your home *in space *: a place for just my things, a place "my wife would usually not go in there, unless there was some practical need like to open a window". The other possibility is that she re-charges by social means, by touching others and by conversation, while you re-charge by means of solitary time and introspection. What charges your batteries up may be just what runs her batteries down, and vice versa. That isn't that unusual, though. If you recognize it and honor the needs of the other person, you can work around it. Also, she may see your whole home as her "nest". It may be intensely uncomfortable to her to find herself excluded from controlling a part of it. Consciously or not, she may feel as if you're making a judgment on her ability to provide a comfortable place for you to come home to. The home she has prepared isn't good enough, doesn't comfort you, so you have to make a nest of your own within her foreign country in order to have a "home." That might hurt, too.

I think perhaps you and she need to come to an understanding about your solitary side. In couples where both are like you, the wife has her sewing room no one gets to touch, the husband has his office or workspace and tools that no one gets to touch, and everyone is on the same page. Unless perhaps your wife's mom was the solitary and her dad didn't need that, it is unlikely that your wife has a solitary side and yet can't understand that you have one, too. Therefore, assume that she, as a "non-solitary", is going to have to learn not to take it personally that you can only spend so much time in the company of others--any others!--before you need to curl in your ball and re-charge. If a social animal did that, it would be an exclusion, a punishment. It doesn't mean the same thing when a solitary does it.

You are going to have to give her time and space in which you show that enjoying her and your relationship with her and the home she has prepared for you to enjoy together has as high a priority as your relationship with yourself. You would probably also do well to take as much care that she has a time and place of her own in which to recharge, keeping in mind that if she recharges by socializing, for her that might be a place she can spend quality time with her female friends, with her sister or mother, and most probably also with you. Take at least as much care with her needs as with your own, communicate why you're different, and I think you can work this out.

[/quote]

Thank you, this explains a lot. I guess "my office" was becoming an area that I was putting a lot of effort into because I feel that she hasn't done much with the rest of the house, except criticize the things that I brought from my single life (my many many books that are still in boxes, my music system which she dislikes and has gone back in its box, I put time into painting a mural wall to make the room look like a monastery or castle, etc., and had plans to put candle holders around the room. I wanted to buy lots of bookshelves to display my books there because she doesn't like bookshelves anywhere else in the house. I was turning it into the space I wish we could have, but she wants the ability to criticize my stuff in there too.

I guess it was a bad idea. I'll work on the positive things you suggested instead of trying to make a home-within-a-home in my office.


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