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Marriage Makeover: "2 Jobs, 2 Kids — Where Does Our Marriage Fit In?"


MEGHAN: "But it's hard to stop and say, 'I want to sit down and talk about this calmly.' We end up just avoiding discussing the topic until it becomes this huge thing. At the same time, we don't want to be yellers — especially with young kids — but that's what's happening to us."

EXPERT ADVICE: "It's good that Meghan and Jeremy are both aware that if they don't talk about what's irritating them, the issue is going to go from small to colossal. The key is finding the time to discuss what's bothering them. It's not essential to talk about issues as soon as they arise, but it is essential to say in the moment, 'This upsets me and we need to figure out a time to work it out.' They should try setting aside time each weekend for a marriage maintenance meeting, a clearinghouse of sorts for the issues that might have built up over the week. Mornings are best — they'll wake up refreshed and renewed and motivated to work things out. Once they plug this structure into their life, they'll have a calm place to discuss topics they might have otherwise avoided."

MEGHAN: "I often assume that Jeremy will take care of day-care drop-offs for our daughter because he works from home, while I go to an office every day. I know it gets on his nerves when I forget to check in and say, 'Are you dropping off Trixie this morning, or do you need me to do it?' "

JEREMY: "That's our most common argument, because the situation happens five days a week."

MEGHAN: "When we argue, it sometimes comes out that I don't acknowledge enough of the stuff he helps with. I know that I have a great guy! There are plenty of husbands who don't do nearly as much as Jeremy does around the house, like cooking dinner most nights. But I don't think he realizes the amount of time I spend keeping our calendar-making sure Trixie's doctor appointments get scheduled or that we don't miss family parties or stuff with his friends. It's almost like the time I spend planning our lives is invisible to him, and that's frustrating to me."

JEREMY: "When we were first together, our jobs were less demanding and we didn't have a baby, so we had more time to acknowledge what we each did for each other."

MEGHAN: "We get into this comparison thing: 'I know you're doing a lot, but so am I.' It's as if by acknowledging the other person's contribution, you're somehow diminishing your own."

EXPERT ADVICE: "Everyone wants to feel that their stress is understood — that your partner knows how much you're doing. One of the easiest things the Wilkers can do is speak up about how the other person helps life flow more smoothly. So instead of Jeremy just saying, 'Thanks for making that dinner reservation,' he might also say, 'I know you're superbusy and yet you still planned something fun for us to do with our friends.' If Jeremy makes dinner, besides commenting that it's delicious, Meghan could say, 'I know how crazy you are with work and yet you still cooked dinner instead of ordering pizza.' These supportive comments show that they get what their partner is dealing with. They each understand everything the other is juggling. And when they both feel truly appreciated, they'll lose that impulse to get into a comparison match of who is doing the most."

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