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She Sacrificed Her Career for Her Marriage

By Marita Littauer with Chuck Noon, MA, LPCC
Guest Columnist -- This week we will look at a couple, Troy and Annette whose high-flying lifestyle was suddenly interrupted by a major health issue which caused Annette operate outside her gifts as she became Troy’s caregiver. Annette sacrificed her career and ultimately lost her sense of fulfillment. While Annette, the wife, is the focus of this story, the same struggles could just has easily happen to a man, the husband, Therefore the same “Insights” will be helpful to both men and women readers.

The Issue
Troy was a high-powered salesman, flying a half a million miles a year—gathering up the free frequent flyer tickets the way that some people collect grocery coupons. A gregarious Powerful Choleric with some Perfect Melancholy, Troy had a massive stroke six and a half years ago. He was 56. Annette, his Popular Sanguine/Powerful Choleric wife, was 46. While originally completely debilitated, Troy has progressed from a wheelchair, to a cane, and now to walking—although his left leg still drags a bit. Together Troy and Annette have worked their way back to a halfway “normal” life.

The first three years after Troy’s stroke, Annette was Troy's primary caregiver. She had to quit her job because she couldn't leave him long enough to go to work. The stroke caused him to do things that were unsafe—he'd leave the water running or the gas stove on. But he finally got beyond that, began to drive, and now pretty much functions as he had before. He has lost the use of his left arm, but manages to compensate.

Around year four, people began to ask Annette why she didn't get a job. With neither of them working, their income went from over $100,000 a year to less than $35,000 from disability insurance. They could use an extra income. Annette’s self-image began to suffer as they continued living on the disability payments, and she missed the intellectual stimulation her job had provided.

One of the things that attracted Annette to Troy was the power that came from his position. He was strong and together they had an enviable lifestyle. Now after six-and-a-half years of disability, Troy no longer has the same magnetism he once did. While Annette has stood by his side and supported him through the difficulties, she is concerned about going back into the work force. Her effervescent nature has always attracted men, especially those who want to take care of her. Annette feels empty. She is afraid if a man paid any attention to her, it would be too great a temptation—she might up and run away! However, she loves her husband and as a Christian feels she should not put herself in what could be a compromising position. So, she's remained at home—waiting for the Lord to show her a better idea.

The stroke and its aftermath created an extreme shift in the marriage—Annette and Troy need a new equilibrium. Annette wants to continue to grow. Her husband now looks old to her and she still feels young! She believes she sacrificed her career to save her marriage. However, Annette is now in a place where she can do something that uses her skills and abilities while giving her the mental and emotional stimulation she longs for.

What would you do? Have you ever been in a place like this? Or perhaps you know someone who is. Watch for the next installment where the team of experts offers Annette “The Insights” for her situation.

Find more articles from Marita Littauer here.

Note from the author:
How to Make the Most of This Column

This column—based on material from my new book, Tailor-Made Marriage, is as unique and modern as the marriages we hope to help. Rather than outline a specific success formula for every marriage to follow, we recognize the premise that each marriage is unique—there is no longer an average American family. While all marriages are different, many do face similar problems and difficulties. In the following weeks you will find a collection of real life scenarios found in the modern marriage—which we are calling “The Issue.” These scenarios have been reviewed by thousands of couples worldwide. Those who have faced something similar in their marriages have offered their insights as to how they got through the situation and found their own “equilibrium.” These insights are presented with their first names only. In most cases the names given are their real names, however, some have asked that their personal identity be protected.

Additionally, therapists and other experts have given their professional advice on each presenting problem based on their professional experience and what they have seen work with others in similar situations. To make their contributions easier to identify, the “experts” will be identified by the use of their last name along with their counsel.

As a person with the burden for the modern marriage, a writer and a noted Personality expert, I am bringing the problems, the peer insight and the professional advice together, and adding the input on the Personality complications. While his fingers seldom touched the keyboard, my husband, Chuck Noon, a licensed marriage and family therapist in two states has added his opinion—mostly through our dinner conversation.

Where direct quotes are used from either the peers or the “professional” contributors, their comments are placed in italics to make it easier for you to identify their insights.

This combined advice is under the heading of “The Insights.”

In the weeks to come, this column will present a prescription for some of the problems that those of us who do not fit the Ozzie-and-Harriett model face. Rather than trying to fit your marriage into a mold, you will learn to find the specific equilibrium that is right for the characteristics that are on your scale.

Marita LittauerMarita 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 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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