Balancing marriage, work not an easy task

In many two-earner families today it becomes difficult to fully meet the demands of work and to give the necessary time to create and maintain a satisfying and intimate partnership. Here are some ideas.

Separate work and family activities. Establish rituals that signal the end of the working day and leave business behind. Focus on love life, children and what to have for dinner — anything so long as it isn’t work. Take vacations. Though it’s hard to take time off, vacations break the routine and give a fresh perspective. Pursue non-work-related activities. Take a class, engage in a sport or hobby, or volunteer time to an organization. Stick to work tasks while on the job. Compartmentalize personal and professional roles. Realize that those two roles are different, and enjoy the diversity.

Talk honestly and often. Get disputes out in the open. Putting something aside and avoiding it, which is common with couples, ensures that it will come back magnified. Listen without being critical. It’s important to listen without getting defensive or assuming you’re being criticized. Express needs in a positive way. Be very specific about explaining wants and needs. Avoid blaming the other person for not meeting them. Learn that reciprocity is the best approach for a true partnership.

Resolve all disputes — at home or at work. Focus on priorities. Don’t be sidetracked by extraneous issues. Learn how to develop a win-win situation. Lose-lose situation occur when trying to “win” out of pride, arrogance or need to be in control.

Divide home work carefully. Define areas of responsibility at home. Determine who has the skills to be in charge of what. Help each other when needed.

Balancing work and family demands require both skill and commitment from all parties. Remember the best intentions without appropriate action can lead to difficulty.

Cindy Williams48 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.

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