Tag Archives: marriage trouble

Is Job Stress Impacting Your Marriage?

It’s June, and I can nearly hear all those wedding bells ringing. Couples are marrying at a slightly older age these days (around 28), meaning many are established in their careers by the time they are married.

Perhaps they have given their jobs their priority for some time, and now they’ve decided to marry and share their lives with a partner. “A failure to give marriage top priority is a major cause of the breakdown of marriages in our country,” says Larry Birnbach, psychotherapist and author. He adds, “Fun and romance have gotten lost between job stress, family stress and money problems.”

This is true for many long-time marrieds and newlyweds alike. A recent Chicago Tribune article gives tips on how to avoid the work-related stress that can undermine your wedded bliss. I’ve added some of my thoughts on the topics as well.

Two worlds—Couples who are living in two different work worlds (this includes a working parent and a stay-at-home parent or two working adults) may have difficulty communicating, particularly when one or both is dissatisfied or resentful. Communicate your feelings using “I language” without using judgmental words or connotations. Continue to share a view of your work world and let your spouse feel included in that world.

Unemployment or work setbacks—Today’s economy means no spouse can expect lifelong job security or that their partner will always support them. This lack of security can cause resentment and even feel like a broken promise when you thought you married a certain someone with a high job profile. Support one another through the ups and downs and consider alternate employment by both partners when needed.

Labor division—It’s fairly common for two adults to work all day and for one spouse to carry most of the burden of chores within the home. Yes, the labor should be shared, but avoid the temptation to divide everything 50-50. No one will ever feel like they are getting their fair share. Keep expectations in check, and divide jobs according to what you are best at, what you dislike the least (It’s hard to “enjoy” chores but what can you stand doing?), and what you are fastest at accomplishing. Also, consider what jobs are most important to you to be done. If you can’t stand seeing a pile of dirty laundry, you might make laundry your primary domain.

Adjust priorities—I’ve shared many surveys about the lack of time for the marriage. Care.com recently completed a national survey that said 64 percent of working parents reported being too stressed from managing their jobs and families to have sex with their spouse. If you feel you are part of that large group, assess your lifestyle very seriously. Look for ways to cut extraneous activities, change to a job closer to home, consider every option open to you to make changes. Hire help for chores if you can, or assign more chores to the kids. Have a heart to heart with your partner about how you miss being with them and want to work on reconnecting and having regular time together. Block that time on your calendar before other obligations come.

Resolve conflict effectively—Fighting in the first year of marriage is not a predictor of divorce. However, the style of fighting can indeed cause a split. The most dangerous pattern is one partner who analyzes a disagreement while the other withdraws.

Avoid bringing work stress home—Yes, you can share details about your job, but constant complaining about your job while at home is not constructive. Your spouse may feel that your heart is not at home; it’s back at the office. That partner may also begin to view you as a source of stress not comfort. “The ideal scenario for marriage is compartmentalizing,” says management consultant and author Beverly Hyman. “When you are at work, work owns you. When you walk out, leave it behind.”

How do your jobs impact your marriage? What advice do you have for keeping your marriage a higher priority than your job, even though you understand your livelihood may depend on your work performance?

Photo courtesy Photoxpress.com

Advertisements

Marriage Often Follows the Unplanned Route

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—  
I took the one less traveled by,  
And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost

 

A young, married blogger friend has written eloquently and honestly about her recent struggle to become pregnant, and her search for her current marriage identity as she awaits their desired child. It called to mind so many interviews with wise couples who have walked the unplanned path in marriage. Kathleen graciously offered me a guest post so I could share these thoughts with her readers. The wisdom I learned from these couples may be able to give insight to other struggles you may face.

The following post was published Feb. 3rd at www.ProjectMonline.com.

During the last two years, I’ve interviewed happily married couples who improved their marriage through adversity. If you ask around, you’ll find nearly every marriage eventually faces adversity. All are changed by it. Some marriages use it as a catalyst for unity or growth, and some are so devastated they do not survive.

Their stories convey that life does not always (or even usually) go as planned. They all had a vision for how their life would go, and the vision was far easier than the reality. That is not to say that having a plan didn’t help some of them get back on track, but we don’t control when life veers us off our planned route.

When these couples got married—some more than a few decades ago—they didn’t plan on having a child with autism, or learning their husband was addicted to drugs. They didn’t plan on having a miscarriage or struggling for 12 years with infertility. They didn’t plan on being separated for three years during a war, or suffering from depression or cancer. They didn’t plan on periods where the passion leaked out of their relationship. They didn’t plan on overcoming infidelity or recovering from stranger rape. They didn’t plan on losing their bank accounts and real estate assets in a financial crisis. They didn’t plan on their parents not supporting their marriage because of the color of their spouse’s skin. They didn’t plan on having their own baby die in their arms.

The couples I interviewed experienced all of these things. They didn’t just survive; they became great love stories of resilience and hope. I share their stories, their failings, and their near failures, because I think we doubt we could survive given the same obstacles. We think they must be somehow better than us. When we follow their stories, we learn how success is possible.

Thankfully, most of us (we hope) will not experience the level of crisis many of them did. But don’t kid yourself into thinking your marriage will be easy and bump-free, that there will be no valleys next to the hills. Even when things do go right eventually, they often don’t go right in our perfect timing.

For many of these couples, the depth of the valleys only heightened their hilltop experiences. For example, the couple who was infertile for 12 years now has three children (one adopted, two born naturally). They don’t take any minute of time with their children for granted, and they created a ministry to support other couples struggling with infertility. The couple who overcame infidelity now teaches other couples how to affair-proof their marriages. They completely rebuilt their marriage into something much stronger than before and have a love and passion most would envy.  Even the couples who lost children said the painful lessons in their lives have taught them immeasurable lessons—and that they wouldn’t go back and remove the pain if it removed what they had learned. I was truly amazed by the grace shown by them.

Another lesson coming out of this: When you are tempted to be jealous of an especially unified or loving couple, be aware that they have probably traveled some rough roads together to get there. You have no idea of their journey, so don’t be envious of their destination. You also don’t know the pain they may be hiding.

All these couples did plan to spend their lives together. That’s one plan that worked out—as a result of their commitment, love and hard work. While they didn’t always come together initially, they did become more unified by learning their spouse understood their suffering better than anyone else. Their bonds were strengthened; their love was heightened.

If you are facing difficulty in your life, share your sorrows and challenges with your mate so he or she can walk through it with you. Consider that this valley, while you would never choose it, may be something that makes you stronger as a person and as a couple.

Lori Lowe is writing a narrative nonfiction book called First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: How to Improve Your  Marriage through Adversity. She also blogs at www.LifeGems4Marriage.com. Lori has been happily married to her husband, Ming, for 14 years. They live in Indianapolis with their two children, a crazy cat and two aquatic frogs.