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Five Week Blog Series: Biggest Areas of Couples' Conflicts - Work

For week four, I'm addressing how working and jobs can get in the way of having a happy relationship and what can be done about it.

This is a tough topic. Usually, at least one person in a relationship has to hold a job in order for bills to be paid, mouths to be fed, and overall quality of life to be met. Many times, two-income households are the norm in our culture because one income isn't enough to provide for everything. There is no way around having to earn money somehow, so what can be done when one or both of you have to work but your relationship is suffering because of your or their job?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Sit down with your partner and prioritize your time together daily. This may be challenging depending on the nature of your work and hours required, but it is worthwhile. Whether it's 30 minutes or 2 hours, each undivided moment of attention is precious and time you can share focusing on each other. If you don't get the chance to do it one day, be sure to do it the very next day.

  • While spending quality time together, share your high and low points of the day with each other. This will most likely include work-related discussion, especially if one or both of you is struggling at work. Be supportive and nurturing of your partner's thoughts and feelings as they share with you. Ask questions and be curious about their day. Celebrate their victories with them. The more you show a genuine interest in what your partner says, thinks, and feels, the more likely it is that he or she will return the same kindness.

  • Be intentional about leaving work at work when you come home if you are able. Since many of us spend a lot of our day working, we need to transition out of that environment and back home where we can be present with the people there. Work can be stressful and keep our minds preoccupied and worried. However, if there is nothing that can be done about it until the next day when you return, do your best to leave it there.

  • Plan regular date nights with your partner. You can plan together, or one of you can plan for the both of you. Do something where you will actually talk and interact rather than going to a movie or show. This is your time to connect and get out of your regular day-to-day routine so get creative!

  • You know the proverb, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"? I'd rework this to say, "All work and no play makes your relationship a dull one." If you spend a majority of your time devoted to working, when do you have time for your relationship? And of the time you put aside for your relationship, how much of it is fun? Partners who make time to have fun together on a regular basis have happier, more fulfilling relationships than those who do not. So go out, have fun, and de-stress!

Next week's topic: "let's clean house"

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