I'm educated and want to work, but my husband is absolutely against it. How do I convince him?

Name Withheld | Posted on 01 Jun 2016
Counsellor : Deepak Kashyap
Ask Deepak | I Want To Work But Husband Won't Let Me. Please Advise | Bonobology

Q: I have been married for seven years. My husband is great-looking, takes very good care of me, and we have a child. But I am not happy because he does not want me to work. He thinks it is his responsibility to take care of me and the house. I have a master’s degree and I want to pursue a career. Yes, when we were married, he had made his preferences clear and I was alright with it. But as time passed I realized I want a career, especially now that our son is five and goes to school. I cannot make him see reason. 

I will try to divide the problem into two interrelated sections. You are seeking approval for things that should ideally require only your approval. And you could also be treating him like a fragile (belligerent) individual who won't be able to deal with your decision and assertion to move on to a career. 

I understand that this happens quite often with couples; in fear of upsetting each other and losing the goodness of status quo, they stop being assertive about things that matter a lot to them. So you need to decide to what extent a career of your own is fundamental to your happiness. If the answer is yes, then you will have to stand up for yourself and let your husband deal with his emotions as adults are expected to. Do not be afraid of ruffling some feathers, and be ready to help him understand your actions without needing his approval.

He would need special help around the interpretation of your actions as an act of personal attack on him. He will be able to, hopefully over a period of time, accept that you need to have an occupation and productive achievement of your own to experience joy. If you think the road will get a bit too rough, I would suggest counselling as a couple, before or after you take the decision on your own.

None of this will work as well as we expect it to, until you have gained confidence in yourself and understood that love and care is not always shown in agreement.

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