Some of the biggest hot-button issues in marriages today involve each spouse’s career. Work is a major part of each individual’s life, and it can be challenging to balance work and career needs while maintaining a healthy, happy marriage. Couples often find themselves in the midst of conflict over the jobs of one or both spouses.
Even though it can take a lot of work, it is possible to balance your careers and your marriage. In this article, we share four suggestions to help you and your spouse create a healthier relationship that exists in harmony with your careers, rather than pitting you against one another.
Share Your Highs and Lows
When one (or both) of you is very invested in your career, the other might end up feeling left out of a major part of your life. So if you’re feeling like you’re completely on the outside of your husband or wife’s career, what do you do?
Let your spouse know how you’re feeling–while being careful not to assume that he or she is deliberately withholding information from you. He or she simply may not be energized by talking about work at home. And it would probably shock your spouse to learn that you feel like they’re giving the best of themselves to everyone except you.
If you want your spouse to open up a little more about their work, start by showing an interest in what they do. What industry does your spouse work in? Learn about that. Find out more about what they value and what they love.
Finally, at the end of the day, ask your spouse something like, “What were your high and low points today?” This will help to open your spouse to conversations about work, without demanding a large amount of detail–thus creating a more comfortable dynamic for both of you.
When you’re busy with a career, it’s easy to feel like you might miss out on something–or get behind–if you don’t allow yourself to be perpetually tethered to your office. While computers and mobile devices are great things, they can really encroach upon your time with your spouse and your children (if you have them).
Even though you might feel like you’re losing traction or progress at work when you disconnect, it’s simply not true that you can’t take a regular time-out from your connection to your job.
At least one night every week (to start), set a family “blackout time” where you totally unplug from work communications. You can start as small as two hours every week, increasing over time. Don’t lose valuable time with your family by staying connected to your job 24/7. Work will be there when you get back.
Work Together at Home
Keeping up a household is a full-time job in itself. Add one or two full-time careers and a child or two (or more!) to that mix, and you’re likely to get overwhelmed very quickly. That’s why it’s so important for the two of you to work together to keep your home running smoothly.
This concept will look different from one couple to the next–and that’s fine. What’s important is finding the dynamic that works for you.
Maybe your spouse is more adept at keeping up the outside of the house, and you do a better job of keeping the inside clean. Or maybe one of you has more energy to play with the kids while the other cooks or cleans.
And if you’re so busy or stressed that neither of you can do an adequate job of keeping up your home, don’t be afraid to hire a housekeeper, a lawn maintenance worker, or even someone to help you cook. Whatever the case may be, sit down with your spouse and negotiate whatever you think might work best for your situation, then give it a try.
Negotiate to Survive a Career Clash
When you and your spouse are both passionate about fulfilling your dreams, they can collide–and cause major chaos in what should be a happy marriage. Be sure to work together to negotiate a shared vision relationship. As much as possible, help one another achieve your goals and dreams.
Sometimes, the fulfillment of one spouse’s goal requires the other person to sacrifice temporarily. Communicate with one another early on about your dreams and goals for yourselves and your family. Negotiate and compromise when needed.
If you’re currently the sacrificing spouse, remember that a vocation isn’t only an expression of gifts; it’s a way of providing for your family. This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re in a vocation that doesn’t allow you to do the kind of work you’re passionate about. In these instances, focus on your passion for providing for your family.
Remember, life comes in waves, and each season is temporary. Never keep score. Continue working together toward the goals that you share, supporting one another along the way, and you’ll avoid major career clashes at home.