Balancing Work and Romance
If you are in a relationship where you both are working, you have undoubtedly experienced the challenge of balancing love with a career. Quality time is an excellent concept, but it isn’t easy to find. Grocery shopping and meal preparation can fall by the wayside. Likewise, romance may seem unachievable when career demands consistently interfere with investing in your relationship. Here are some ways to succeed at both your romantic and career pursuits:
Establish and maintain boundaries.
How often will you work from home? When working from home, how many hours a day will you work? When will you work? If going into the office, when will you leave and come home? If your employer sets your hours, when will you come home vs. going to your favorite watering hole or shopping? How will you manage technology so that you have at least some interrupted time with each other each day? It is possible to set boundaries to have room for romance, but you must use the team approach and have a mutual agreement, or it won’t work.
Agree on the consequences of boundary violations.
Use your imagination and be creative. For example, one consequence could be donating to the opposite political party than the one you usually support. Another could be doing household chores – cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash, doing the laundry, cleaning the shower, making the bed, etc.
Share in household duties.
This may be obvious, but working couples do not always practice it. One of them bares the majority – or all – of the household management and responsibilities. As with boundaries, it should be clear who is responsible for what and that it is an equitable arrangement. There are no gender-specific duties. It is about what works for you and your partner.
Make time for each other.
It is essential for your relationship to make time to be together. For example, you could run errands together, grocery shop together, clean the kitchen together, work out together, walk together, etc. Try scheduling a weekly date night that can’t be rescheduled.
Communicate about finances
What is the most common argument that couples have? It’s one that revolves around money. It is crucial that you communicate clearly and frequently about money. What are your shared financial goals? Are you in sync concerning your monthly budget? What will you do if one of you loses your job or makes a career change? When either of you gets a promotion or a bonus, who will decide how it will be spent? What reasons justify dipping into your savings? How much can you each spend without consulting with the other? Will you have joint or separate accounts? Don’t let money become a wedge between you.
Don’t let the sun set on your anger.
This well-known adage from scripture doesn’t say that you have to agree on everything or resolve every issue between you before you go to bed. Instead, it says to let go of your anger. If you go to bed angry, you’ll wake up angry. So instead, agree that you love each other and will address the issue when you are both fresh, and the conditions for the discussion are optimal. If you remain angry, it could affect your productivity at work and damage your relationship as well.
Apologize and forgive.
Be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. Keep short accounts and give grace to each other. You are human and will make mistakes and disappoint each other. Don’t hold grudges that will crack the foundation of your relationship. Your relationship and home should be a safe place where you are accepted and loved, regardless of your performance. It can be a place where you renew and recharge when you are weary of the battle of advancing your career.
Give support to each other.
You both may be tired from a long or stressful work day, but you must show genuine interest in your partner. Spend 10 minutes a day decompressing and sharing about your day. Share the highs and lows of your day and how you feel about them. When your partner shares about their day, be empathetic and understanding. Make the conversation all about them, and don’t interrupt. You will get your turn. Make your support of your partner and their career unconditional so there is no room for misunderstanding or resentment.
Share the sacrifices.
Very simply, take turns in sacrificing for your partner’s career. It is unfair and may breed resentment if one of you continues to be expected to make all the sacrifices. Whether it involves an adjustment of schedule or relocation across the country, be equitable in making sacrifices. This is another issue that requires enthusiastic mutual agreement. If you are making the sacrifice, then it is crucial that your feelings are heard and validated and that you enthusiastically support the decision. Be committed and willing to help each make your career dreams come true.
- Make it about “we,” not “me.”
In a relationship or marriage, there are two opinions and perspectives, not just one. While you may have made all your own decisions in the past, another person is now in the equation who is affected by the decision. Unless you both “win,” you both “lose.” Learn the art of negotiation and be willing to share in the sacrifices (See above.)
In two-income households, couples who successfully balance romance and work are the ones who are first committed to their relationship. As crucial as a career can be, to succeed with no one to share the success with is hollow. Clear communication and a policy of enthusiastic mutual agreement can help balance your lives and careers in the above ways.
If you want to discuss how we can help you and your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.