Honoring my wife and killing myself

Here’s a question with a common theme:

“Dan, I have a successful side business built around a weekly podcast I’ve been running now, part time for the past 5 years. Successful meaning it fills a need, has a large, loyal following and it generates a good supplemental income.  I’m miserable at my full time job- not only is it an hour and a half commute, 50+ hours a week taken away from my family, odd working hours and the salary not being competitive I’m physically drained and not mentally or physically healthy.  I’m thinking of going full time internet business because when I put 100% of myself into it –  I come alive, the business financially comes even more alive and I’m able to balance my life out.

The problem is my wife is not supportive of the idea. She feels safer with the weekly paycheck and the health benefits. I feel as though I’m honoring my wife but suffering inside and cheating my kids of a Dad during the best years of their lives.”

Let’s just deal with three major issues here:

  1. The job is “safer and more secure.”  In today’s workplace that is probably not true at all.  No job is secure.  And if you are miserable, you are likely beginning to sabotage your position there.   You simply cannot do well in a job where you are miserable, physically drained and unhealthy mentally.   Your chances of success are greatly enhanced in doing work where you “come alive.”
  2. With your current state of misery your feelings of “honoring” your wife will certainly turn to resentment – sooner than later.
  3. The fact that your wife wants you to continue in something where you are miserable and killing yourself raises some real red flags about your relationship.  Sit down with a coach or counselor and present the facts as you have here.  Get some outside advice about your best options.

My wife, Joanne, would have been very content if I had just gotten a regular job with a paycheck when we first married – or anytime since then.  But she laughs in thinking about me having a “real” job.  She knows how I am wired for change and innovation and she supports that in me even though there has been little “security” through the years.  “Honoring” one another in marriage means embracing how God has uniquely gifted each of us – and trusting that passion and joy will release more success than obligation.

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30 Responses to “Honoring my wife and killing myself”

  1. Financial bondage Says:

    good post. thanks for sharing the photo.

  2. Genia Says:

    Dave Ramsey likes to say that women have a security switch (paraphrase) which needs to be honored.

    I’m thinking a way for the letter-writer to win his wife over is to talk to her about her fears and really consider them. He says she needs the safety of a weekly paycheck; does he have enough money saved to meet their financial needs to her satisfaction? He says she’s concerned about giving up the health benefits; has he checked into getting individual health insurance for the family?

    The letter-writer could also consider asking his current employer for a lighter schedule, so he can continue to work his “side business” while keeping the regular paycheck and (hopefully) health insurance until both he and his wife are ready to jump.

    0.02, and Dan, great picture of you and Joanne…

  3. Rick L. Leonard Says:

    You are the MAN !!!

    We just passed our 30th year of marriage and it does take work, but it’s work I hope never ends….

  4. Wendy Says:

    Excellent article, Dan, and I love the sweet picture! =)

    I pray this couple follows a better way sooner rather than later.
    Sadly, their story is not unique.

  5. Josh Says:

    I have a tool I use when I want to dig into people’s fears (like overcoming objections in sales). I first spend some time getting to the root fear, this is probably the hardest part because it takes a lot of mental power to ask the right questions without making the person I am questioning defensive. Once we are comfortable we are at the root of the fear we then consider the probability of that problem happening by assigning it a number 1, 2, or 3. Then we consider a mitigation for the the fear coming true. With this process I seem to have pretty good luck.

    Josh Bulloc
    Kansas City, MO

  6. Joanne Miller Says:

    I can’t help but jump in here with a comment. Wendy is right, what this guy states is not at all uncommon. And, yes, there are many times I wished Dan would “get a real job” and we could pay the bills. However, I could never have lived with myself knowing that every day he was miserable at his job. Just as I would encourage a child to “grow in the way he/she is bent” I would not want to have my spouse do otherwise. Benefits are simply not “secure” in any job anymore and can be obtained by simply paying for them yourself. There is NO free lunch. If the company is paying you benefits, they are taking it out of your salary. I don’t know why people can’t see that. Insurance is the least of your worries if you live in a contentious and stressful household. And having all the stuff that lots of money can obtain is more highly rated than it should be. So bottom line, what is the worst that can happen if your spouse is happily pursuing his/her dream? You could lose your home, cars, money, etc. Mmm….been there, done that and after 42 years I would not have chosen differently in supporting my husband in chasing his dream. However, we did a lot of communicating and building on our relationship during all those years and that is a requirement for ANYONE who is married…entrepreneur or not! I’ll get off my soapbox now! Blessings to all………..Joanne

  7. Darren Says:

    “If the company is paying you benefits, they are taking it out of your salary. I don’t know why people can’t see that.”

    This is a great point. Not sure why people don’t understand that either. Benefits just translate into a dollar figure they’re paying you on top of your salary. Companies are smart enough to take benefits into consideration when offering a salary.

    And if you’re working in something you’re more passionate about, I’m sure you’d be less miserable and more happy, which should naturally lead to less stress and better health.

  8. Lynn Says:

    It this amazing, I have just the opposite. I have encouraged my husband to go after his dreams and leave the work environment that is killing him. He has such a love of money and he in fact now has many of his family members entering into the workforce in the same environment they see has ruined his dreams, but they see dollars signs and stuff. I am working in my calling in a job that is satisfying and a blessing not only to me but to the folks God has placed in my path. The love of money is truely the root of an evil, don’t get me wrong I am convinced God wants us to prosper and be blessed…but not to get stuff, stuff, stuff…but to be a blessing to others. Love is thinking better of another over self and I have demonstrated love to my husband as I encourage the career change for my husband but I am thinking misery loves company and he is in job security misery and his job environment is his company. You can’t receive help if you have hardened your heart to help and you can’t give what you won’t receive. God has a good plan and purpose for our lives, we need to be in the middle of His will because His plan is always better than ours.

  9. Gregg Pechmann Says:

    Wow, Lynn! Looks like me and your husband need to get together and encourage each other!
    I have been self-employed ever since I left college. I am pretty tired of my current job (mortgage broker) ……plus, I feel my calling is in a different area due to our financial disaster a couple years ago.
    I have working on this separate coaching business on the side and my wife wants me to jump ship ASAP!……definitely wants me to go at least part time with my current job.
    We have 12 mths of emergency set aside but really have not made any money from the business as of yet……But I’m the type of guy who needs to be all in or all out…..and once I make a decision I go full throttle.
    At this point, I guess I am a little fearful of the unknown…..I have never been that way…very frustrating.

  10. David Hooper Says:

    Dan, glad you brought this subject up. Very common…

    This is absolutely something that should be discussed BEFORE getting into a relationship as some people never come around on the issue because they’re simply too attached to the “job = security” belief. And if you’re not on the same page with your partner, one of you will always be unhappy, which is no way to live.

    Can people change? Sure, but personally, I’m not in the convincing business… Plus, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Just because a person goes along with it doesn’t mean he wants to.

  11. Dutch Martin Says:

    Joanne, you hit it right on the head when you said,

    “Benefits are simply not “secure” in any job anymore and can be obtained by simply paying for them yourself. There is NO free lunch. If the company is paying you benefits, they are taking it out of your salary. I don’t know why people can’t see that. Insurance is the least of your worries if you live in a contentious and stressful household. And having all the stuff that lots of money can obtain is more highly rated than it should be. So bottom line, what is the worst that can happen if your spouse is happily pursuing his/her dream? You could lose your home, cars, money, etc. Mmm….been there, done that and after 42 years I would not have chosen differently in supporting my husband in chasing his dream. However, we did a lot of communicating and building on our relationship during all those years and that is a requirement for ANYONE who is married…entrepreneur or not!”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. The very phrase “job security” has become an oxymoron these days. This is why in two weeks I’ll b resigning from my federal government job after almost 11 years to pursue my own dream of being my own boss. I’m married, and my wife and I are expecting our first child. Am I nervous? Yes, but not enough to not pursue my dreams. I’m more excited and anxious than anything else. Oh, and my wife supports me 100%, which makes all the differnce.


  12. Joshua Gordon Says:

    The way you describe your relationship with your wife reminds me of my wife and I, Dan. I’m definitely wired for change – until recently the only ‘change outlet’ I had was in rearranging the living room furniture. Maybe that’s why Sarah is so supportive of me in my new side business! Anyways, we’re signed up for your Living Loving and Working seminar in October- and really looking forward to it!

    Thanks for another great article,


  13. Rick Frato Says:

    I was in a similar situation a little over a year ago until I was let go from my “safe” but miserable job. Being miserable in what you are doing is indeed killing yourself, thus not honoring your wife and family. I now am working in a variable income career where I’m helping people with their money and loving it! My advice; Find what you love, devise a plan, follow it and work hard. View it as an investment in life rather than a set paycheck and the killing will stop!

  14. Rob Says:

    Wow, for the most part, this was me not too long ago. I was in a position that paid well and had excellent benefits but the leadership made me question everything I knew about ethics, morals and just the basic business principles. I loved the work but was miserable each and every day. It came to the point where my wife and kids really didn’t want to be around me. Heck, even I didn’t want to be around me but every time I turned around, there I was.

    My wife finally said it was time to move on and go independent as a consultant as the misery was taking its toll in too many parts of our lives. Her blessing, or maybe it was more of an order, lifted a burden that was so heavy I almost immediately felt free and excited again. But I will tell you, the decision now that I look back was the easy part, putting the vision into practice is where the rubber meets the road.

    I could probably write a whole book on my experiences in the short time I have been “free”, but to jump to the end…we are bringing home more income on a monthly basis and more importantly, being able to focus on your passion every day and have a good, strong family life is more important than a so-called “secure” job.

  15. Sue Says:

    I have to make one comment that is not in 100% agreement with the comments so far that I still see as a big consideration. While all of the comments (Dan’s and others) are true about the importance of employment that fulfills you – and yes – benefits are part of your “payment” with a salaried job – health insurance can be a major major driving force in these circumstances/decision making.

    While I have been completely supportive of my husband’s need to find what ” fits” him (which for him resulted in a mid-life career change, going back to school full time, etc. etc. ) – which has been 100% right for him (he’s now working in a medical career which he was destined to do)….I have had to stay with my current employer because of the health benefits.

    Unbelieveably, many health care providers don’t provide health benefits for their employees! I know this is also true of many small organizations and certainly the self-employed. And someone commented above “you can pay for them yourself” …. yes, you can, if you make a LOT of money. My husband has also suffered major health issues (cancer, heart attack, asthma – none due to any lack of self-care on his part) …which makes him both hard & expensive to insure…. and which would likely have made us bankrupt had we tried to self-insure and/or pay for coverage ourselves before/during these events. (10 years ago when we were both unemployed for a while, it was over $1000 a month for bare bones coverage and that was before the cancer or heart disease; I can’t imagine what it would be today.)

    So yes, pursuing your dreams is ideal and good for a happy marriage/familiy…. but reality sometimes requires a compromise. In our case, we supported my husband’s dreams (again, totally the RIGHT decision) …. but it required ME to have a secure job with benefits.

  16. Keith Says:

    I understand that we would all like to have that job or business that excites us but as the head of the household your primary responsibility is to provide for the family: spiritually and financially. Pray about this. Be happy you can provide for your family. Leaving a good income at this time is just plain irresponsible and not in keeping with scripture. I wish this man well but he needs to pray about this and do what scripture directs husbands to do. Remember, we husbands are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. (Ephesians chapter 6)

  17. Dutch Martin Says:

    Rob, I would love to chat with you on how you made the transition. My e-mail address is damartin1906@yahoo.com. Feel free to drop me a line. Thanks.

  18. Steven Dekok Says:

    I was in the same position as the OP at one time. I recently lost my job and was very worried about the stress of a lack of “steady income” would have on my wife. I was also worried that being at home all the time would be a stress on our marriage too! However, being home so much has “made us” work on our communication skills and led us to discover that we have more in common with each other than we could have ever known. My wife has an entrepreneurial streak in her just like I do. I have taken it upon myself to support her endeavors and I have been rewarded with her supporting my endeavors. Losing my “steady income” has been a blessing to our marriage!
    Although I rarely post on Dan’s blog, I am a constant read and listener. Thank you to everyone for their inspiration!
    FYI – I am open to connections on Linked In

  19. William Says:

    It seems that this guy needs to communicate his feelings about his situation and let his wife communicate her feelings about the situation.
    Its all too common – and even for my wife and I – that the breakdown in communication causes much more difficulty that could seemingly be avoided.
    And while the man does have a responsibility to take care of his family I also think its foolish to ignore his God given talents and passions for a simple thing like a paycheck or benefits.
    I think the advise for seeking counsel was a good call, people just need to learn to talk to each other and alot of us need help with it!

  20. Rob Says:

    Thought I would jump back in after seeing a few comments that suggest it might not be wise to pursue other ventures. I agree it would be highly irresponsible to just up and quit a job when you are not happy, but in my situation, I beleive it would have been more irresponsible in terms of my family relationships to stay.

    Having said that, my decision was not taken lightly nor did it happen overnight. Actually, it was almost a year ago that the discussion first started between me and my wife. We went through a thousand different scenerios and ultimately returned to me moving a different direction. We made that decision on Sept. 1st and put together a transition plan as my last day would be the end of April 2010. We did our best to cover every area from having our finances in order, emergency fund, knowing what we had to bring in, health insurance costs, business plan, marketing, etc. Fortunately, as a trainer and consultant, start up costs are minimal and most activities focused on lots and lots of networking.
    Some people are thrown into doing something else, for the rest, you have to have a plan.

  21. Sean Says:

    In 2005 I left a good job in the home improvement business I’d work at for 9 years. I left to make better money in the housing business which my fiance at the time supported. When I saw the housing industry slow down in late 2005 and then layoffs in 2006 I got hired on with the local Sheriffs dept as a deputy and the money was even better, but I hated what I was doing once I finally was working as a deputy. I would come home to my family tired, irritable, and depending on my schedule only had my days off to spend any quality time with my wife and kids. I tried to explain to my wife what I was going through, but she didn’t support how I felt at all. I resigned from the dept and that night was already applying to my old “good” job in the home improvement industry. I took a night job at the local grocery store making 1/3 of what I made at the sheriffs dept and I only worked about 20 hours a week, so money was extremely tight. My wife criticized me for leaving the sheriffs dept and for how little I could contribute to the household. It took 3 months for my old good job to get me back on, but it wasn’t enough for my wife, so she told me I need to get another job. I didn’t want to go back to working two jobs like I did when I was 18 or 20 years old. I thought, when would I ever see my family, or sleep. And with that, I figured I’d invest money back into my DJ business and get that going again, but again the wife is not supportive since she saw more money being put into the business then coming out. As far as I’m concerned money isn’t everything and as long as I have my family, health, and a roof over my head things are pretty good.

  22. Keith Says:

    Guys: get a grip on your EMOTIONS! Support your families. If you’re tired, irritable, or whatever. Grow up. Your FEELINGS have no basis in logic. God has given you a way to provide for your families with good paying endeavors and you people are not very thankful. Be patient. Doors will open one day. I know I might be flying in the face of all this happy talk about dreams and desires but the critical need in this country is for husbands to be husbands. Like it or not you have to pay the bills. Remember, according to scripture, one who will not support his family is worse than an infidel. I wish for all to be happy but we sometimes need to examine ourselves (I’m talking to myself here too) if we are not feeling happy.

  23. Lola Says:

    People, you are forgetting the fact that the wife has a responsibility to honor her husband as well and not to treat him as a money-cow. Her main role is to respect him. Is it respectful to force him in-to choking job, while he feels he has the ability and desire to try something else – also income-producing, but with a little risk?
    In proverbs 31 it is clearly shown that “she does him good and not evil all the days of her life” and that because of her trustworthiness “he has no lack of need”. It is also shown that the wife is industrious and is working creatively to benefit her household – beyond homemaking she also has her side business, she saves and invests…
    I mean – this is not a hard rule for all, but it gives us a good hint – wife can either hold a job also or be creative and patient to manage household on little money to support her husband, while husband needs to love his wife and lead his family by making responsible choices.. AND loving her doesn’t always mean doing as she WANTS – it does involve trying to know her heart and communicating with her, but sometimes it also means to lovingly and firmly leading her in the direction you believe is good, considering her NEEDS.
    We are to serve each other, but we aren’t to be slaves to each-other’s WANTS -our real needs are much smaller than we think, even though much harder to understand and to learn sometimes..
    And no – we can’t CONTROL everything in life – we have to trust G-d. Sometimes it is necessary to take risks and to plunge (under His leading) in-to unknown.
    What it comes down to is – to pray about His will and to follow His lead. What does G-d want for you in general and specifically? – we all are created with unique capabilities and He has a unique plan for each one of us. What is your mission? It is so individual for everyone. – Bible doesn’t teach that our life mission is to be a money-cow at a miserable job, though, sometimes, if God tells us to stay in that kind of situation, it could be that we need to learn a lesson in something (diligence, contentment, patience, growing closer to Him in any kind of circumstance, etc..). We DO have to support ourselves, and to WORK for our bread diligently- but there are many variations and the place of work or amount of money should NOT be commanded by wife. Main mission is to love G-d and to fear Him. Whatever we do should be honoring Him.
    Christ is the head of the husband and the husband is the head of the wife. Where Christ leads the husband – he should follow and the wife should follow the husband.

  24. Ros J Says:

    In my opinion, the bottom line here is that the husband needs to stop hiding behind his wife’s desire for him to stay put at his “secure” job and face HIS own internal fears of taking a step in faith. . .which is always done in the dark. Although making what most considered “great money”, I was MISERABLE playing the corporate game for more than 20 years and it wasn’t until I stopped lying and hiding behind every excuse that I could find and began to believe God’s promises. When you have arrived at that place where your want turns into a MUST HAVE, whatever material possessions that you have to give up to get there, you will do without hesitation or looking back.

  25. Keith Says:

    The wife usually knows the facts of life as it is. She is not dishonoring her husband. Sometimes in a marriage the repsonsible one has to exert some heavy influence on the spouse acting like a spoiled little brat. In this case I think we have a cry baby little boy so-called husband who does not want to face his responsibilities. I write these things becasue times are tough and a lot of “happy talk” will not make the fact that life requires paying the bills to go away. This man is not seeing the reality of the situation and he is not being thankful for the blessings he has. Sometimes it is just not possible for us pursue our feelings; unless we are going to smoke some dope and return to the stoned out days of the sixties.

  26. Joe Says:

    Keith, I think you’re missing something here. The one asking the question states that his side business is doing well. He wants to pursue it because of that, and the fact that it makes him alive. Is that happy talk? Maybe… But he already has something in place and not just jumping in blindly. I don’t see how that’s not facing his responsibilities.

  27. Keith Says:

    What is missing are the details that were probably left out of his letter. If his business was really doing that well he would not be having so many problems with his wife. Remember it is usually the wife who knows what the bills really are and as I have stated repeatedly: the bills have to be paid. I suspect his “dream” will not pay the bills and I think he knows it. Pursuing your “dreams” and not providing for the family and believing that you should do that is in fact “happy talk”. It is good for kids who are playing “make believe”. Look, he needs to sit down with his wife where they can have some quiet private time and hash out the details with a pen, paper, and calculator. I speak from experience. I made a mistake once in my life by following an unrealistic dream. I thankfully with God’s grace landed on my feet. I see myself in this man. All it would have taken for me to have followed that dream was to do what I just advised him to do and wait for the right time. I am following a dream now because I grew up and waited and planned. My precious wife was with years ago and supported me somehow and she knew I learned my lesson then. When it came time for where I am now my much better half was in total and complete support. His wife WILL listen but he MUST be realistic. I sincerely wish them both well.

  28. Featured Blog Post Says:

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  29. Randy Says:

    Wow, Keith I can tell this really touches a personal note for you. I agree there are two sides to every story and a lot of communication between husband and wife is needed here.

    I think this goes back to the point Dan made about there being a “red flag” here though. Whether this guy chases his “happy talk” or some other career option the underlying issue is that he is miserable in what he is doing. He has or is developing some level of resentment towards his wife which can be a huge obstacle towards honoring her fully. He is not emotionally engaged at home. He is “cheating his kids of a dad” but he is also cheating his wife of a husband.

    As always there are two sides to every story, and there may be some underlying financials that make now the wrong time to jump. It does sound like there needs to be a change though, even if it is only a written transition plan that they both agree on. One with specific benchmarks to give her a comfort level and him hope for a better life.

  30. Keith Says:

    Randy. My point exactly. Put his plan in writing. I am optimistic that they will both learn some valuable things from doing so. I have been passionate about this because I do believe that although spouse’s will get aggravated from time to time with each other most of us are usually able to come to some agreement when we actually plan. Not to be sexist here but the female that God created does have a larger and more active security gland. Thank goodness! But that security gland will activate some logic when it is triggered. We as husbands really do need to listen. I really hope that there are no other underlying issues in this relationship.

    This debate and conversation has been enlightening and intellectually stimulating.

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