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Wanting It All

“You’re always late and never show up for the kid’s activities. It seems like all you care about is work. All my friend’s husbands are off at a reasonable hour and are backyard grilling while you’re still working a customer. This isn’t what I signed up for!”

Ever hear that speech before? Those who haven’t are either not married, just married or they married a jewel who gets it. For your career’s sake, I hope it’s the latter, because having a loving and supportive spouse is more valuable than all the gold in Fort Knox. Hey, with everything we deal with on a daily basis — from lying customers and “line five” calls to salespeople trying to rush the delivery — it’s vital we have a soft landing place at home.  

With that said, it’s understandable why your spouse would object to a more than 60-hour work week. Unfortunately, the job often demands it. Hey, not many people can live well financially working a 9-to-5 job. Still, for any relationship to work, both sides must bend.

Yes, it’s easy to forget the needs of our spouses when our work schedules are challenged. But we must remember that our spouse is the most important person in the world. Yes, the job provides a comfortable lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be the focal point.

And that’s why we need to remember that it’s a big event when our spouse makes plans. To have those plans cancelled at the last minute because a salesperson landed a customer before closing can be crushing. Yes, it’s easy to justify working late because that’s your job, but it can feel more like a broken promise to your mate.

I’m a pretty lucky guy. Mrs. Marv and I met in the car business, so she completely understands what I go through. But let me tell you, I don’t take that for granted and neither should you.

For instance, I usually call at least once a day to remind her how important she is and then again at closing to let her know I’m done or if I’ll be late so she can adjust her plans. Sounds like utopia, right? Well, it hasn’t always been that way.

Like many of you, I’ve been to the altar more than once, and let me tell you, it’s no holiday being married to someone who hates what you do. Friction becomes a daily event, and there’s nothing worse than missing your kid’s dance recital or being late to your anniversary dinner.  

To you, the complaints from your spouse are annoying, but to your spouse they could simply be a cry for help. Problem is, most of us have a tendency to look at problems from our point of view, as though our opinion is the only one that counts. Like the old expression says, there are two sides to every coin.

That’s why we must strive to do everything we reasonably can to make living conditions comfortable for our families. And I’m not talking about our income potential; I’m referring to quality of life.  

“I’m the bread winner so my family should make accommodations for my career. After all, they wouldn’t be living as well if it weren’t for me.” If you’ve ever uttered those words, remember that your responsibility to your family goes beyond a paycheck. And besides, your spouse didn’t marry your job; he or she chose a life devoted to you.

Now I’m no marriage counselor, but here are 11 rules to live by that I’ve developed in my more than 25 years in the business:

  1. Try looking for another dealership with better hours.
  2. Invite your spouse to visit the store during peak hours to observe.
  3. Talk to your boss about a more flexible schedule.
  4. Don’t come in on your day off.
  5. Refrain from talking about work excessively at home.
  6. Make certain your family gets your undivided attention when you’re home.
  7. Keep the romance alive by surprising your spouse with flowers and a date.
  8. Train someone as a backup to relieve you.
  9. Don’t work late when it’s not absolutely necessary.
  10. Try being more sensitive to your family’s needs.
  11. Make certain your family isn’t second to your work.

Listen, smart people figure out how to thrive both in their professional and personal lives. So use your problem-solving skills to find a solution that works for you and your spouse. And remember, all the wealth in the world is a waste if you don’t have peace at home. Good luck and keep closing.

Marv Eleazer is the F&I director at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga. Email him at


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