Marriage Makeover: "2 Jobs, 2 Kids — Where Does Our Marriage Fit In?"
With two fast-paced careers, a toddler, and another baby on the way, Meghan
and Jeremy Wilker have let their marriage drop to the bottom of their to-do
list. Can REDBOOK Love Network expert Jane Greer, Ph.D., help them finally make
time for each other?
Meghan and Jeremy Wilker are both at the top of their career game. Meghan,
32, runs a company that constructs Websites, and Jeremy, 38, recently launched
two companies: one sells fine-art photo prints online; the other is a digital
photo lab for photographers. With two great careers and a beautiful family —
the Minneapolis couple has a 2-year-old daughter, Trixie, and baby number two
is set to arrive in October — the Wilkers seem like they've got an enviable
marriage and lifestyle. So, what's their problem? Simply put, they make time
for everything except each other. "We're both highly motivated when
it comes to our jobs," says Jeremy, "but that means our marriage and
fun time get put on hold. On our list of priorities, Trixie is always number
one, and numbers two through nine are always work." The couple's lack of
intimacy means that fairly typical marital spats — about household chores, say,
or who is picking up Trixie from day care — grow out of proportion, driving a
wedge between this otherwise in-sync couple.
"Meghan and Jeremy are smart to recognize that ignoring their marriage
isn't wise," says REDBOOK Love Network expert Jane Greer, Ph.D., a marriage
and family therapist who has been in private practice for more than 20 years.
"Just realizing that they need to start making their relationship a
priority is the first step to making positive change." While the Wilkers
are doing a lot of things right — they rarely argue about money, parenting
styles, or child care and often eat dinner together — they're concerned that
they'll grow apart if they keep putting everything else ahead of their
MEGHAN: "I tend to be much more tightly wound than Jeremy. I want
things done a certain way on a certain timetable."
JEREMY: "I can tell pretty quickly when she's getting angry —
it's a vibe I pick up on, like an electrical disturbance emanating from her. I
almost always know what she's upset about, like that I haven't taken the trash
out yet, even though I plan to do it."
MEGHAN: "I quietly storm around the house and try to hold it in,
usually because I know I shouldn't let whatever is bothering me get to me. But
then it all comes out sideways, usually in a snide remark. Once I simmer down,
I feel regretful and sad and want to make everything better."
JEREMY: "It's exasperating that so many of our arguments have to
come to this boiling point. I resent Meghan for it, but I'm to blame too. When
I get mad, I do the stereotypical guy thing: I clam up and don't talk. Then I
eventually snap at her or maybe raise my voice, and that's when I realize I've
been holding all my feelings in."