These days, the 40-hour work week seems more and more like something from the distant past. Today, the average American puts in 47 hours of work each week, and many industries require their employees to work 12-hour days, including weekends. While many people prefer a work-life balance, some people are an exception.

Workaholic employees, for example, are not only willing, but are more than happy to work grueling hours in the office. If you’re married to such a person, then you know the resentment that can build as you struggle to deal with an “absentee” spouse. You’ve probably already lost count of the number of times your husband or wife failed to show up for a recital, game, birthday, and other important events in your family’s life.

As an Orange County marriage counselor, I see this struggle often as couples attempt to keep up in an increasingly competitive market.  But being competitive is different than an endless pursuit of “just a little bit more” that is the mantra of a workaholic.  So if you think your marriage is being affected by a workaholic spouse, here’s a few things to consider:

See if There’s a Pattern

First, understand if your spouse’s workaholism is the result of tight deadlines or a force of habit. For instance, your spouse may be working overtime to develop a new product right now, but you know that his or her schedule will free up once it has been successfully launched. However, if your spouse is constantly answering emails or taking calls even while you’re on vacation, and you know there is no pressing need for this, their compulsion for work may be habitual.

Understand Your Spouse’s Job

Instead of jealously looking at your spouse’s job as a mistress or lover, why not look at it as a misunderstood stranger? By gaining a deeper understanding of your husband or wife’s work, you gain insight into why your spouse loves doing it and you’ll be less resentful of the time they spend at work. You’ll also be able to provide suggestions on how they can fit in family time into their packed schedule.

Prioritize Events

When you’re married to a workaholic, you have to accept that they simply can’t (or don’t want to) join most of the activities on your social calendar. Instead of fighting him or her on everything, it’s better to identify only the most important events that your spouse needs to attend, such as your child’s graduation or your anniversary. To make sure they keep their word, you may want him or her to sign a contract guaranteeing their presence.  Okay, that may be a little extreme, but the importance of attending the event has to be clearly impressed on a workaholic if they are going to make it priority.

Seek Professional Help

If your spouse simply can’t be pried away from his or her work, then it’s time to get call a psychologist to get marriage counseling.  In Orange County CA, there are many counselors that can facilitate communications between the workaholic spouse and the frustrated family, allowing the former to realize the ramifications of his unavailability.

Surviving A Workaholic Spouse.
Is Your Partner Having An Affair With Work?.
Surviving A Workaholic Spouse.