One spouse may work longer hours than the other, or even travel frequently for business, which can set the stage for a common conflict, notes Raymond.
"The one who is upset feels that they are less important than their spouse's work," she explains. "They set up hoops for their spouse to prove that they matter more than work, heralding another constant series of unwinnable fights. The one who works a lot feels unfairly criticized, since they are apparently making the money that enables a certain lifestyle to be maintained. Issues of trust, jealousy, suspicion, envy, and fear stoke the fire."
The solution: "Express your underlying insecurities to your partner so that your fears can be understood rather than heard as criticism," she advises. "It usually means tracing your fears to your childhood. Perhaps one or both of your parents was away a lot, and it created tension and threatened the stability of your family. The one working a lot needs to express what it means to have to choose between work and family and what models he/she is following from his/her childhood. The personal element needs to be removed, because that's what starts the fight, and it's rarely personal. All the issues of trust, jealousy etc., dissipate."