Do Work Secrets Affect Marriage?
Q: My wife and I have been married for 14 years. She's a nurse and I'm in a high level security government position. As I've advanced, my work has become more classified, causing me to share less and less. She is very understanding. She knew what I did and what my training was, but things have changed over the last year. I've seen associates of mine in the field whose marriages have crumbled. I fear our marriage is eroding and I'm going to lose her. — Doug, 50
Dr. Susan: Sounds like the plot of one of those spy films. If your marriage is eroding, it may have little to do with your job. If you can't share your day-to-day activities, you could make an effort to find other things to share. Gossip about friends. Discuss the news. Learn more about medical issues so you both can talk about her work. Find at least one activity you can share and discuss, from dancing to a book club to some community activity. Pay attention to her, show affection, talk in a general way about what's important to you without giving away secrets. You're right to take any noticeable erosion in your closeness seriously, so speak openly to her about your fears. Lots of couples remain close without necessarily knowing much about each other's work lives.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.