Question:

My wife and I have been married four years. We share a mortgage but don't have kids or other significant debt.

My wife works a lot harder than I do. Her company pays her $100,000 a year, but she is always exhausted. I have a publishing business that pays me $150,000 annually. I have been building my business since before we married and now enjoy the passive income it provides us.

My wife is resentful that she has to work so hard and she sees me kicking back. I would love to travel by myself once in a while or do a guys' trip, but I get nothing except guilt from her, which in turn makes

me

angry and resentful.

She stays in her job because there may be potential to move up, and because she enjoys the challenge and responsibility. She is also making terrific contacts - she likes working hard. I've always told her that if she doesn't like her job, I support anything she would choose to do, regardless of her income.

She implies that I am lazy and not driven. I disagree. I built my business with hard work and drive. Doesn't my income count heavily toward that argument?

Answer:

I suppose, but I would make a different argument entirely: that being "driven" is seriously overrated.

Certainly I'm glad some people are. We all enjoy - in fact, take for granted - countless fruits of other people's elective 80-hour workweeks.

I simply reject the implication that everyone has to be driven, or even ought to be. It's not just poets, volunteers, and people who make sure they have nothing more pressing to do than walk at their toddler's pace; it's people who think 40 hours more than suffice.

You are content with what you have. If your wife envies your contentment, then she needs to do something to find more - with your cooperation, of course. Granted, you don't mention any ways that you apply your spare quality of life toward improving hers - chores, cooking, social planning, to cite a few examples. If you already do pamper her, though, and a thoughtful, happy, well-paid spouse isn't enough to make her happy, then it's time for you both to start asking what is.

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