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Every time you hear that a police officer has been shot, your heart skips a beat. You find yourself getting angry whenever your girl leaves to go to work at the strip club, although you know that’s where you met her. Whenever there’s a drug bust, you pick up the phone and dial his number.  Occupation is a hot button topic in most relationships.  Usually, we’re concerned about how much money they make, whether they have benefits, and/or the classiness of their job.  However, a more important subject we should explore is whether you can handle the type of job your partner has—their chosen profession.  When we think of starting a serious relationship or even marriage, we must consider the lifestyle that comes along with our mate’s career path, and whether we can live, happily with a person in their line of work.  Some areas you should consider in responding are the amount of danger, issues of morality, and your level of insecurity.

Some jobs are very dangerous and may require your mate to face the possibility of life or death on a daily basis—iron and steel workers, fireman, policeman, military, airline pilots, flight engineers,  etc.  In order to be involved with a person in any of these lines of work you, as the spouse, must accept the fact that each day could be your last time seeing them.  While the incidences of death in all of these professions are small, the chance of death is higher than in almost all other professions.  Death, however, is a real possibility for many occupations.

Moral issues can cause serious problems in a relationship.  The types of careers that can raise issues of moral conflict are:  Drug dealer, Abortion doctor, exotic dancing, strippers, and actors in adult films.   These professions can cause moral conflict in a couple because they are illegal and/or considered questionable by most of mainstream America.  In addition, depending on religious beliefs, you may experience spiritual issues if you’re constantly trying to accept and love a person whose profession conflicts with your belief system.  Being supportive of your mate’s career would be impossible and you may become their biggest critic instead of their cheerleader.

Many people find themselves bothered by their partner’s career because of their own insecurity.  Some types of professions that can increase a person’s level of insecurity are: Massage therapist, Gynecologist, Obstetrician, and Pastor, stripper/exotic dancer.  If you’re dating or planning to marry a person in any of these professions, you must be secure enough in yourself and your partner’s commitment to the relationship.  The level of temptation in these fields is greater and can cause huge conflict in the relationship.  Even if your mate is 100% faithful, you may suspect and become obsessed with the motives of their clients who are of the  opposite sex.  To be the wife of a Pastor can be just as stressful as being the husband of a stripper because most of your partner’s exposure will be to people of the opposite sex who admire them greatly.

Conflict around issues of profession can be very difficult to overcome in a marriage.  In order to find resolution to problems about profession, consider these methods of addressing the issue:

  1. Be honest – Think through your fears/moral issues/ insecurity upfront, before discussing them with your mate.  Are you being selfish?  Are you trying to change or control your mate?  Would they be able to find happiness in another career?  Why didn’t you address the issue before the relationship got serious?  Can your mate find a comparable career without going through extensive preparation (i.e. school, training program, relocation, etc.)
  2. Discuss the issue – Once you’ve thought through the issues around your mate’s profession, have a sit down discussion with your mate.  Voice your opinions and objections about their line of work.  Try to focus on how their job makes you feel.   Discuss how their profession affects you physically, mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually. Ask your mate if changing careers is an option for them and if not, ask why?  Be sure to listen, closely to their reasons.  This has to be an open, non-judgmental discussion between two people who love each other.
  3. Is changing an option – If your mate is willing to consider changing professions, be their biggest supporter in helping and encouraging them.  If your mate is not willing to change professions, seek counseling to deal with your own issues of fear, insecurity, control, and/or morality around your mate’s profession, particularly if they were in that career when you met them.
  4. Accept the decision – If the conversation doesn’t go your way, accept the decision.  If you maintain a position of unhappiness and fail to support your partner in their chosen profession, it can lead to additional problems in the relationship.  If you absolutely can’t accept your partner in their current line of work, and they’re unwilling to change, you may have to consider ending the relationship.

Sophia Avery, MA and Donavan Sterling West are a dynamic Relationship Counseling team!  If you’d like further information, discussion or a Relationship Counseling session, please call us at visit our website at www.ChristianTalkTherapy.com AND  become a fan of the Avery-West Counseling team! Visit our page on  FaceBook  at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-PA/Avery-West-Counseling-Team/273651777811