The Fire Has Gone Out, Part 1
By Marita Littauer with Chuck
Noon, MA, LPCC
This week’s couple, Todd and Erica, is experiencing the “growing pains” resulting from one spouse’s new career and personal growth. Erica’s rather sudden success has thrown their relationship into an unexpected role reversal, which Todd is having difficulty handling.
Todd is a Peaceful Phlegmatic and a schoolteacher. Erica is a Powerful Choleric, although most of her life she has functioned in her role as a Perfect Melancholy—her secondary personality. Todd and Erica were high school sweethearts and married young. Todd settled into being the breadwinner, while Erica managed the home. Erica became pregnant with their first child on their honeymoon. Two more children quickly followed. Erica was a good mother and used her natural abilities to manage the family in an enviable manner.
When the youngest reached high school, Erica found she had more time on her hands. She began taking classes in real estate, and within two years she had become the top producer in her area.
As she competed in the business world, she adopted the characteristics of other professionals. She developed her Powerful Choleric personality and took on the fast-talking, multitasking, cell phone packing style so dominant in our culture. The money rolled in.
Meanwhile Todd labored away in the public schools, feeling unappreciated and underpaid. In comparison, his modest salary seemed inferior to Erica's commissioned sales income.
In social settings Todd went from respected educator and leader of a beautiful family to "Aren’t you Erica’s husband?" Todd felt he had lost his role as provider and leader of the family.
All of this took a toll on their sex life. Erica confided in her best friend saying, "Todd hasn't touched me in months." Todd found the "new Erica" threatening and unappealing. As he withdrew and sulked, Erica found him increasingly unattractive.
There are confident men at Erica's office, and there are pretty young teachers at Todd's school. A potential crisis!
Have you noticed that when one spouse changes, the marriage changes? Be sure to read the next installment when we will look at “The Insights” of this issue, focusing first on handling Personality Differences.
Be sure to watch for the next installment of Marita's column.
Marita Littauer is a professional speaker with more than twenty-five years experience. She is the author of 17 books Including Personality Puzzle, Communication Plus, The Praying Wives Club, Tailor-Made Marriage—from which this column is derived, and her newest, Wired That Way. Marita is the President of CLASServices Inc., an organization that provides resources, training and promotion for speakers and authors. Marita and her husband Chuck Noon have been married since 1983. For more information on Marita and/or CLASS, please visit www.classervices.com or call 800/433-6633.
Chuck Noon has worked as a professional counselor--licensed in two states. He holds a BA in Motion Picture Production from Brooks Institute and an MA in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from the University of San Diego. He has worked with hundreds of families and couples in many varieties of settings. Currently, Chuck is working in mental healthcare management. Chuck and Marita live in the mountains outside of Albuquerque.
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