Most couples today are working, and sharing the burden of daily living. They have the same working hours, same stress at work and require the same commitment to their respective profession. But problems arise when couples fail to show respect for their partners’ career, taking it lightly as compared to their own.
Take the case of Rakesh and Suman. When Suman got a job with a media house, she was thrilled at finally getting a stable, job which she was passionate about. But trouble started when Rakesh would ask her to take an off whenever there was some work at home.
“One day I was on my way to work when Rakesh called and said he wanted me to come back home because my father-in-law was not feeling well and had to be taken to a doctor. Of course it was important, but then I was annoyed that I was expected to come back home while he went to work. I mean how could he assume that my work commitments were not as important as his was?” Suman says.
Counsellors say that while most of the time it is a gender issue, there are times when it’s the attitude towards a partner’s career itself which comes into play. “I don’t understand why it should be a problem? I am the one who earns more and runs the family. Her salary is only her pocket money. And so, it is natural that I don’t risk my job at all,” he says.
Experts say that this lack of respect towards the profession of one’s partner can trigger off several issues in a relationship. The resentment that stems from a partner’s attitude of not taking the other’s work seriously can erode a relationship to the point where no love remains between the couple.
“I began to feel betrayed by Rakesh for his behaviour. I felt he was insulting me by not according equal importance to my career, and gradually I found a deep distance creeping between us because of that,” says Suman.
Even in the case where a partner trivializes the other’s profession, resentment sets in, as in the case of Raj and Tara. Raj, who was a banker and had to travel a lot, never took his wife’s career of a painter seriously. “He would always tell me it’s just a hobby which doesn’t even yield much. He completely missed the point that I was passionate about my work and it meant a lot to me,” she said.
The issue reached its breaking point when Tara was invited to participate in a painting exhibition out of town and Raj blew up. “He just told me I couldn’t go because he was going out of town for a conference for a week and someone had to be home for the kids. It didn’t matter to him that it was a great opportunity for me and meant so much for me. I tried to reason out but he just wouldn’t hear of it. I had to finally back out of the exhibition but I could never forgive him for it,” says Raj.
Counsellors say there is much more to sustaining a relationship than just staying under the same roof and taking care of each other’s basic needs. The key factor most often is the support couples provide to one another. One of the crucial areas where partners can provide support is in the field of career.
When both couples are adding to the income and sharing the financial burden, it’s only fair that both partners understand and respect one another’s professions and its commitments. Only then can the relationship survive and reflect viable growth in the real sense.