Dear Nadine Khan,
I am a 37-year-old married man. I am a civil engineer. I got married nine years back and have three children. My wife is my cousin and ours was an arranged marriage. My nature of job is such that I have to travel a lot when I am on projects. In my absence, my wife has to look after the house and our children. I try my best to see that bills are paid on time, and my children go to school in school bus. This has been our routine since we got married and we were happy initially. Now my wife has started complaining that she has to do all the work while I go on my ‘pleasure trips’. I tried to change my job, but it’s not easy to get jobs nowadays, and the ones I can get do not pay well. When I go on my ‘pleasure trips’, I get allowances which help with school expenses and other stuff. My wife doesn’t realize this and has told me that if I don’t change my job, she would leave me. I feel frustrated because she does not understand the situation. She fights with me when I am home and keeps calling me about minor problems when I am on projects. She knows I cannot get anything solved from there but she still keeps nagging. She says that she looks after the children while I don’t have any role in their life. It’s true that I sometimes miss parent teacher meetings, but I visit school and meet teachers when I can. My children are also under tremendous stress. My wife keeps telling them how uncaring and irresponsible I am and they become upset when we argue. I talked to my father-in-law who is my paternal uncle, but even he could not make my wife understand my problem. I am sick and tired of constantly having to explain to her that my job pays me well and if I get another job, I would not be able to meet our expenses. All this may seem trivial, but believe me when I say that I feel no joy in life and am constantly under pressure. My eldest child, Z, is only eight years old but she has become so timid that she starts shivering the moment my wife starts her tirade. She is very close to me and that is why my wife is extra hard on her. The other two children are more resilient and don’t pay attention when we argue, but they are not doing well at studies. What solution can you offer?
Dear Dejected Libra,
You are indeed in a tough situation and it’s very unfortunate that your wife does not realize how difficult it is to make ends meet in the current scenario where getting good jobs has become very difficult. Bringing up children while the father is away is not easy but many women do it because they have to. If her own father could not make her understand the situation, I doubt anyone else can. You said you cannot get a good job in the city where you live, but your wife wants you to be there anyway. Tell your wife how much you would get and ask her to run the house in that amount for three to six months. If she can manage it, may be getting a job which would keep you with your family will solve your problem. If she cannot make do with the amount you would get if you work in your hometown, she will see reason and hopefully stop tormenting you. As for your daughter Z, try to take her to a psychologist as soon as possible. Some children are very sensitive and can develop personality disorders if their parents fight in front of them. Explain that to your wife and take her along when you visit the psychologist. Hopefully, things will work out. Good luck!
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