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Which Comes First - my Husband and Family or my Ph.D?

heart to heart
I have begun a Ph.D. program at age 34, am married with two teenage children, working full time and involved in community service organizations. My issue is that my husband of two years appears to be envious of my goals to enhance my education and has become extremely insecure and unsupportive. What do I do?

His highest level of education is a high school diploma, which I have no problem with and have tried to encourage him to take a trade. He listens but takes no action. I make more money than him, so I pay 60% of the bills. I have pondered getting counseling and possibly separating, he disagreed to both. I have called a divorce lawyer to weigh my options. We have no children, property, or debts together. The lawyer told me that my marriage would be easy to get out of and the cost would be about $850.00 which includes the $250.00 filing fee.

I love my husband and want to make this relationship work, however, I love myself dearly and will not sacrifice anything to fail this program that I am committed to as much as I am committed to my family.

Wallace's reply
Wallace I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders as I reply to your question. I have considered your situation carefully and these are my questions. Why are you so obsessed with getting this Ph.D.? Why does it mean so much to you? Why are you so totally uncompromising? How is it possible for you to have time to attend to your primary duties as wife and mother of bringing up your two children and having a meaningful relationship with your husband? How have you got yourself into a way of living that is so very much out of balance? And I am also wondering if you have been in a similar out of balance situation before in your previous relationships and did that cause stresses there too?

There could be an important life lesson for you right here. What are you trying to prove by doing this Ph.D? You are good enough already. You do not need a piece of paper with Ph.D. on it to feel wonderful inside. You are a special, beautiful woman as you are. Your children need you. Your husband needs you. There are many things in life more important than a mind full of academic knowledge, a flashy academic qualification and a good well paid job. The love of your husband and children are certainly one of them.

Do you not feel that your marriage needs nurturing? More time spent with your husband would restore balance in your relationship. To find more time for your family you need to compromise.

You say your husband isn't willing to go to counseling. Consider going on your own. I think you would find that very helpful. Consider my words carefully.

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