Lamentably, in today’s world, there is an ever greater focus on work – do it quicker, do it better.
While you can certainly be proud of work well done, it may come with a hefty price tag. Your personal relationship could end up on the back burner. And if your partner’s work schedule conflicts with yours, it only adds to the stress.
Does this mean you should just give up on a good relationship?
By no means! You just need a little creativity and willingness.
Setting Relationship Goals
A relationship is a collaboration of two people – two lives. That means it’s important that, as a couple, you are on the same path. Otherwise, you may find yourselves drifting apart because work is getting in the way more and more.
Just like you set goals for achieving your dreams, you can set goals for your relationship. They don’t have to be grandiose, but they should be things you can work towards together.
Consider six examples:
1. Balancing your private and work life
Rather than just hoping you’ll get to spend some time together, try actively scheduling work breaks so they coincide. It takes forethought. But a good relationship is important for your emotional well-being. Give spending time with your partner priority, even if that means postponing other things.
If you have control over your own schedule, you should set clear boundaries. Stick to your “on” and “off” hours. So, unless it’s an emergency, simply don’t answer work-related calls or emails during the time you’ve scheduled for your partner.
2. Treating each other with dignity and respect
It can be very hurtful when your partner speaks unkindly to you. Make a concerted effort to treat each other with dignity and respect. Stay positive and constructive, particularly when work-related stress has you on edge or you’re completely exhausted. None of that is an excuse for being rude when your partner approaches you with a problem. Rather, try to see each other’s point of view.
3. Showing love and appreciation
Don’t assume your partner feels valued – make sure they feel it! Even with a busy work schedule, you can make it a point to praise each other for your positive actions and qualities. But validation doesn’t have to be verbal only. You can reassure your partner that they’re special to you with a warm smile, a tender kiss, or a kind touch.
4. Regularly communicating
The importance of regular, personal communication can’t be overestimated. Make an effort to talk – really talk – to each other at least 10-15 minutes each day. Sit close to each other, hold hands, and have a personal conversation. Not about mundane things – about important matters.
In between these personal talks, you can stay connected to each other by sending short text messages, taking a few minutes to talk on the phone or online, or putting a sweet note in your partner’s briefcase or lunchbox.
5. Paying attention to the little things
Your personal relationship isn’t just an add-on to your work day – it’s worth taking seriously. Endeavor to pay careful attention to your partner. For example, you may notice that they express special interest in something. Demonstrate to them that you listened, and surprise them with it. It might be something little, but little things add up and can make a huge difference.
6. Making time for fun things
Don’t forget to laugh! Be creative and brainstorm things you can do together for fun – a special dinner, a two-hour date on the weekend, or a mini vacation. The more you work, the more pressure will be on your relationship, and the more important relaxation and fun become.
When both of you have busy work schedules, making time to spend together can mean the world.
If you are finding work getting in the way of your relationship, please contact me for a free consultation so we can get your relationship back on track.
To find out more about my services click here: Couples Therapy.
Suzi Sena, EdS, LPC provides individual, couple, and career counseling to clients of Connecticut Integrative Counseling, LLC.