Your husband wants to live in the city; you want to keep your city home. How do you keep your marriage intact and get what you both want?
These tips are inspired by a reader who commented on my article about knowing if your marriage is over. She says:
“I have been married 27 years. My husband is older than me and will retire in approximately three years. I am not even close to thinking of same. We have a home in the country, he is always asking me to move from the city and find a new job in the country. We have a small place in the city. I have had my job for 25 years and do not want to leave it because I love my job. My husband is extremely upset with me regarding this. In the country there are virtually no jobs aside from Tim Hortons or McDonalds to work at. This does not make sense to me. This has been an ongoing argument/disagreement for many years. We love each other but I am reaching my ceiling in this regard and for that matter so is he. Any suggestions?”
My first thought is to ask your boss if you can keep your city job while working in the country, but telecommuting doesn’t work for most jobs.
My second thought is that she must be a fellow Canadian, because she mentioned Tim Horton’s! And I know firsthand what it’s like to live in rural Canada. It’s not for everyone – but I think everyone should give it a try.
Here are a few more thoughts on the “city versus country” debate when you’re married to someone who wants to move somewhere new…
Experiment with living in both places – a commuter marriage
I don’t think you should give up a job you love, because you spend so much of your life working. It’s important to love what you do, and can be risky to leave a great job and work somewhere that doesn’t meet your needs or allow you to use your skills, education, and talents.
Have you and your husband talked about him living in the country, and you commuting to visit him on weekends? Long distance marriages can be very healthy and successful. When I lived on Bowen Island, BC, I knew a woman whose husband lived downtown Vancouver. She lived on Bowen; they would spend weekends at either their Bowen home or the Vancouver home. They were both content with their country/city marriage.
Ask for a leave of absence from work
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Can you take six months or even a year off from your current job? I know it would be complicated and potentially expensive to keep your city home while living in your country home, but it may give you the information you need to make a permanent decision.
Sometimes we have these grandiose plans and ideas (eg, that living in the country full-time would be amazing), but when we actually do it…we realize that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
I also realize that not all bosses can let staff go for six months or a year. But, if you’ve been working there for 25 years, perhaps your track record will help secure your position.
Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of
You’ve been in the same job for 25 years, which is an incredibly long time! I don’t know what you do for a living, but I know change is healthy and good for people. Change challenges your brain, your relationships, your self-confidence, your spirit and soul.
Do you want to stay in the same job until you retire? Do you love your job that much – more than you love your husband and marriage? Would you rather be divorced with your job, or working in the country with your husband?
There are no right or wrong answers, but I encourage you to take a deep breath and give my questions some thought. Maybe there’s something else you’re resisting. Maybe it’s not as simple as figuring out if you should move to the country or stay in the city. Maybe your husband is onto something, and you and he need to have an adventure!
Take a risk – live your spouse’s dream
In marriage, I think it’s important to live each other’s dreams for a little while – or at the very least, support each other in reaching for our dreams. Your husband’s dream is to live out in the country. This has been a source of conflict for you and him for years. As you mentioned, it’s time to make a final decision.
Do I have a vote? If so, I say DO IT!! Go, live in the country for six months. It could be the best thing you ever do! If you hate it, then at least you can say you tried. Move back to the city, get your old job back, and be happy knowing that you did the best you could.
Taking a risk can be the healthiest thing you do for your marriage. Risks make life exciting and interesting – they’re how we grow into smarter, wiser, stronger human beings. Risks are good for us because they teach us so much about ourselves, our partners, and life in general.
What do you think?
For more tips on deciding if you should move to the country or stay in the city, read How to Make a Good Decision.
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If you need relationship help, get Mort Fertel's 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage - and FREE advice, no strings attached.