How to explain it to wife

by Husband

We are married since past 3.5 years and are without a kid.

1. My wife (Used to work earlier in my home country in a 9 to 5 job with a metro train travel of 1 hour both in the morning and in the evening. Now we are in a foreign country and her primary occupation is to attend a language course here) somehow nurtures a deep feeling that doing household chores makes her a lesser person, comparable to a maid and though I have explained this to her many times that doing the daily house work of cleaning and cooking food are bare necessities and doing that does not mean being a slave and after hours of discussion, we sort out things for the time being, but this feeling of her comes up later.

Often, I help her with her household chores, but she takes what I do for granted and she says that it is my responsibility to do whatever help I provide. She also says that she is a good wife and I do not appreciate her and I would have learnt better if I would have got a 'difficult' wife.

2. As a young couple and with a big home loan, it is important that we maintain financial discipline. I have disclosed my earnings, savings and liabilities to her right after the marriage and I have shown and explained her the monthly budget plan for running the household. Even before the marriage, I did not promise her anything which did not exist. I have tried to get her involved in the monthly budget plan, but she avoids getting into it. I have even showed her the bank statements of all my banking accounts and I have told her that she can see any statement any time she wants. When I asked her the same for her bank accounts, I came to know about some expenses which were hidden from me (she apologized to me later for that). I do not have the statement of one of her bank accounts even yet. Even after doing all this, she says that she lives in misery and she does not know what i do with all the money. Recently, she has started with a new tagline that I always talk about money - this despite she claiming that I do not provide her enough money(I tried to counter her saying that it is you who nag me about not having sufficient money to spend, but she just rubbishes this fact away and runs away from the conversation).

The money problem is for real and I am trying hard to get my income increased and expenses reduced and I am stressed out a lot due to that, but she does not understand all this.

3. She talks about equality when doing physical household work, but when I ask her to share my load of non-official tasks (Government, insurance, visa, municipal office, notices from other parties like radio service, tax, discount cards from super market and other documents, looking for a doctor, fixing its appointment, monthly budget planning and a lot more) which I have to do to support our family, she doesn't feel the need of equality in this
case. I like the house to be neat and clean and organized and while I spend a lot of effort in helping her in doing that, i am never appreciated. My wife is a little careless and she doesn't have much of a problem if the house is not very organized in our day to day life. I have a problem of getting irritated and raising my voice (but that is the maximum which I do. There is zero physical violence in our house.) when I have to repeat the same thing over and again and often it happens that if I don't point out a problem, my wife doesn't bother to fix it for days. If I fix it, then it is not noticed and appreciated and if I tell it to her, then she starts crying foul that I am after her for every small thing. I really like the way the house is when a guest comes(in which I also contribute) and I tell my wife that our house should not be looking at its best only when somebody visits us, but it should be like that every day, but she does not share the same feeling and an unorganized place irritates me a lot.

4. I have 12.5 years of working experience in a big IT MNC(still working) and I am in a senior and critical position earning a decent salary, directly interacting with one of very big global customers of our organization and I am presently on a work permit in a foreign country to work for the same customer. My wife used to work for a small IT company, working directly for a government client as an outsourced staff in our home country(while leaving the job she had around 6.5-7 years of experience). The problem is that she treats both my job and her past job as equal, while they are not and she never realizes that there is a huge difference in my job and in her past job. As per her, I just do some mental work and then she starts equating my work with her past job without acknowledging the vast difference in my work (due to the difference of policies and processes due to the size of the organization, the number of stakeholders involved in the day to day work, the need to constantly up-skill myself, the need to get salary increased and many other factors) and her work (with all the factors listed in my job missing and more). I have avoided comparing her work with mine till 2.5 years post our marriage to avoid hurting her sentiments, but if I do not show her the comparison, she rubbishes all the work I do and she says that she also does the same and I am not doing anything special. Now, If I do a comparison, she immediately starts complaining that I am trying to humiliate her with the comparison.

The present cold war situation will get better after a couple of days, but these lingering issues are leaving deep scars in our relationship which come up way too often. Can you please help me in fixing these issues so that she does not hold any grudges in her heart.

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Eugene Kayser, MA, MFT's profile on the Gottman Referral Network