Every relationship needs time and effort to nurture it into growth, even if you’ve already been married for ages. Most people live such busy lives now—both men and women—that between the time spent at work and in traffic it can be hard to find time to keep the spark in your relationship. It’s easy to believe that one must give way for the other to thrive, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can, with a few deliberate steps, have a thriving relationship AND a great career.
– Be present in your relationship
Make your partner feel that they are just as important as your career. Set aside time for your relationship that you both regard as sacred. Spend your time together without the intrusion of phones and other work-related technology. If you must, discuss work-related issues only in the spirit of sharing your lives or seeking your partner’s advice. As much as you can, leave your work at work.
Half of the issues people have are really about not communicating properly, so talk to your partner. Don’t assume things and don’t accuse unnecessarily. If you feel ignored/neglected, or if you are the one who is doing the ‘ignoring’, communicate how you feel or what’s keeping you from paying them a lot of attention. From the get-go, talk to your partner about your needs, career goals, and aspirations. This way, they understand the sacrifices you have to make, and support you instead of feeling like they’re in competition with your career.
– Sync your calendars
If need be, let the more naturally organised partner sync both your work schedules. This way, you can try to have free time in the same period, and deliberately schedule dates and couple time. You’re also better able to remember and attend important career-related events that require your presence. Let your partner know as soon as things crop up so that they can make any necessary adjustment(s). You should feel like you’re on the same page at all times.
Give as much support to your partner’s career as they give to yours or as much as you would like to receive yourself. This also requires that you respect each other’s choices regarding careers. No partner should act like their career is more meaningful/important than the other’s.
– Be flexible
No matter what the event/occasion is, nothing has to be set in stone. Pick other convenient dates to celebrate occasions, if need be – your Valentine’s date doesn’t have to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day itself, if it’s not possible. Staying flexible helps you both to make necessary adjustments without resentment. You can also have fun without guilt when you do have couple time.
– Split chores according to strengths
Household chores should be shared equitably (or outsourced) to avoid rousing resentment in either partner. Let each partner take on duties in their areas of strength as opposed to “roles” assigned by people outside your relationship. For example, if your partner loves kids way more than you do, let him/her take on the tasks in that area. Or, if you’re a finance whiz, you should take the lead on budgeting
as opposed to someone who can’t even figure out how Excel works.
One last thing to keep in mind is that you’re on the same team. We’re already assuming that you’re partnered with your friend. With a lot of love and a bit of effort, you can both work together to achieve a fulfilling work-love balance.