Advice For Husband’s Workaholic Tendencies

Dear Dr. Bill,

For the past several years, my husband has been going to school full-time and working full-time in a start-up ministry.  As a result, he hasn’t had much time to spend with our two sons, ages 5 and 8.

Now my husband wants to get his Master’s degree and I’m concerned that he’ll have even less time for our family.  Our sons have started complaining about their Dad’s schedule — he’s always too busy, and the only interaction he has with them is church or disciplining them.  What should I do?


Dear Tina,

Many men find their sense of purpose through their work.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it begins to interfere with their relationship with their family.

People who are involved in church work sometimes confuse their ministry with their relationship with God.  They “spiritualize” things and justify shortchanging their families because they are doing “the Lord’s work.”  But family commitments should always take precedence over ministry involvement.

Your sons are at a critical time in their development and they need both quality AND quantity time with their dad.

Your husband’s desire to earn his master’s degree is commendable.  But graduate degrees can be completed part-time, taking one or two classes per semester.  It may take a while to finish, but no degree or job is worth sacrificing your children for.

Your husband needs to be held accountable by an older, more experienced mentor or a group of Christian men who can help him keep his priorities straight.  If you discuss this issue with him and he is inflexible or defensive, then family counseling may be the next step.

Thanks for writing Tina.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” tab on the Family Expert page.

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Shine Family Expert