Marriage on the run

The “weekend marriage” leads “harried marrieds” to divorce, believes couples therapist Mira Kirshenbaum.

Parents exacerbate those time deficits, she finds, by making too many unnecessary sacrifices for their children, whose lives are often overscheduled. She urges adults to consider their own well-being, too.

Marty Friedman, author of a book for men about staying married, recommends that “couples should agree not to talk about the children when they go out, or to keep it to 10 minutes for the evening.”

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    My wife and I restricted our discussion to the trip home, when we would alternately exclaim “My God, what do you think we will find?”

  2. Mira Kirschenbaum has it partly right — demanding careers breaks up marriages. On her second count, I suggest a remedial biology course for her.

    Babies are hopelessly dependent bags of skin poorly supported at the neck. Children are born dependent. Some never grow out of it. Want independent, get a cat.

    There is no reason to lose the “self” while parenting, but raising kids is supposed to be selfless. Want a career without the burden of being a parent, DON’T HAVE KIDS

    Not having kids has the added benefit of not feeding guilt money to kids neglected by parents that put their careers (themselves) ahead of their family. Kids with non-functional (inattentive) parents and lots of cash get involved in all sorts of bad stuff.

    Here’s some advice from a person with a job (not a career): Keep the business discussions to 10 minutes and the family will be better off.

  3. Alan: Well said!!!

  4. I think the point here is well taken. Parents used to have more time to interact as couples (back in the day of the 9-5 job!) Now, they are expected to ship their kids to 14,000 after school activities to “keep-up” after spending 10 hours in the office. It’s stupidly unrealistic to expect two people who barely talk to eachother to have a romantic relationship. People need to carve out time for themselves – that way parents can give their kids the gift of harmonious partnership. This is not selfish. It is one of the best things you can do for your children.

  5. BadaBing says:

    One problem is what do you do if you have a wife that makes the universe spin around the kids? You’re somewhere in an outer orbit because it’s always “we” (she and the kids) vs. you.

    Your spouse should always be the most important person in your life, not the kids. And the most important thing you can do for you kids is to show them that he/she IS most important. When the wife puts the husband on the back burner or vice versa, there’s going to be trouble in paradise, and you will have kids that may eventually go on tilt in the teen years.

    You take a vacation to Lake Tahoe and your significant other complains that there’s nothing for the kids to do. You take your wife for a weekend get-away, but you have to make it back to grandma’s house at 2:00 AM the first night because the wife is worried about the kids and misses them. Your wife uses a syrupy voice with the kids that drives you mad. You take walks in the evening to get away from it.

    This was my life for eleven years. After divorcing, I was too depressed to fight her and so let her take the kids to another state, which she fantasized as being perfect: no crime, no immigrants, country living, no drugs. Although I tried to maintain contact, the ex told them I had abandoned them. My eldest daughter was shooting heroin by age twenty. At twenty-two she was killed in an accident. The middle one went into rehab for heroin. Her last words to me so far are, “You’re dead.” Only the youngest corresponds with me, but there’s an irony there. I didn’t want to have three kids, but the wife kept after me for two years until I threw up my hands in surrender. “I’ll be your friend for life if I can have a third child,” said she. Truth is, she wanted a third because my sister had just had a baby and she was jealous of all the attention the new baby was getting.

    Make your spouse numero uno. If both don’t agree on big decisions, such as having another child, then don’t do it. Never play the peacemaker and give in when you know it’s wrong, know it’s not going to work. When your spouse tells the kids to do or not do something, don’t countermand the order.

    Just a bit of boring advice from one who learned the hard way.

  6. Nancy D says:


    Are you seriously telling the truth?

  7. BadaBing says:

    Hard to believe, isn’t it? I could write a book. I don’t know if it would be cathartic or self-destructive, the memories so anger me. Not a day goes by that I do not think about this stuff, particularly my deceased daughter. My ex just divorced her second husband, who commented, “I wasted 13 years of my life.”

  8. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Partly, it comes down to economics.

    In the era of powerful obstructionist unions, big government, and protectionism, it took one middle class income to support a middle class family life.

    With the era of big government over, free trade, and all the good that comes from proper conservative economics, it takes two.

    People can settle for a less expensive life, but they are no more greedy now than they were 30 years ago. It’s economics that have changed.

  9. Where I live many, many parents send their kids to sleep-away camp for 4 to 7 weeks. (And quite a few of these families are single-income.)

    I find that shocking.

    I would never want to be away from my kids for 7 weeks, or even 4, and neither would my husband.

    I don’t even want to be away from the two autistic kids for 4 to 7 weeks!

  10. Richard Brandshaft says:


    I was born in 1941 and raised under the old rules, when wife-and-mother was a full time job. When I heard the term “smother love” in an elementary psych class, it stuck in my head for the obvious reason. (Although my case wasn’t really pathological.)

    Yet I went to sleep-away summer camp. I don’t recall exactly how many weeks.