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Interracial Couple

Ann and Barry's Marriage


Ann and Barry's Marriage


When Ann and Barry married, over three hundred family and friends gathered to wish them well. They had grown up in the same town, were brief friends in high school, and then met again after college and began dating. They seemed perfect for one another. Both grew up as only children, were outdoor types, and very ambitious. As their eleventh anniversary approaches they have three sons, two full-time jobs, a temperamental housekeeper, a huge mortgage, and two poorly trained dogs. Ann is overwhelmed by the number of things she must keep track of and do every day. Barry worries about paying for it all. Weekends are devoted to the boys’ school and sports activities. Time alone, for them as a couple, is rare, and tension is high.

“I know it’s a cliché,” Ann says, “but it’s true; we are like ships passing in the night. It’s really hard with no family around. If I can get to the gym once a week I feel blessed. We’re both so pressured that it’s easy to pick on one another. That’s the worst—when we fight and there is silence for days. I know Barry wants more sex, but I’m exhausted most of the time. But it does happen—even if it’s in the middle of the night and we’re both half asleep.”

“Money is always an issue” says Barry, “but it’s also a dump issue. I mean you can dump all your frustrations on that one topic, and I know I do that. I don’t think we’re much different from a lot of couples these days. Life seems more complicated than when I grew up. With the boys it’s a constant running from one thing to another. If something goes wrong I can blow up. It’s as if there’s no tolerance for mistakes. We’re running hard just to keep up.”

Barry continues: “Sex is a problem because there isn’t much of it. Most times it’s a quickie. That’s a pattern I’m not happy about. It’s not how I envisioned it would be. But not much about our life is. Ann tries; I try. But it’s a win if we can just keep fights to a minimum.”

Ann and Barry have what might be called a mild case of roommate blues. It is mild, because the lack of closeness they feel is largely situational, the result of each of them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Despite all of the stress, they still basically like one another and have a foundation of love feelings that they can fall back on. So far no deep resentment or bitterness has taken root between them. The question is: Where will they go from here? If they don’t realize their marriage is drifting and take some corrective action they may end up feeling more and more frustrated and disappointed. As this happens, the likelihood of finding fault and blaming one another will increase.