Though relationships are and always have been important, in the modern environment, more and more of us find ourselves being extremely career driven. An article published in the Psychology Today magazine briefly goes over balancing career ambitions and your relationships.
This is a pertinent question and one that concerns many of us. How does one strike a healthy balance between a career they love/need and a relationship which is equally if not more dear?
How to Strike a Balance between Career and Relationship
Again there are no hard set rules here as different relationships come with different nuances. Careers can demand different degrees of one’s time and energy hence coming up with a one size fits all type solution for such a situation is tricky.
There are however a few things you could do which most certainly help maintain that balance between career and relationship!
Consult and Communicate
Sure when you’re on your own, you take decisions as and when, possibly without a second thought. If you’re in a serious relationship or married, the decent thing to do is to keep your partner in the loop regarding any big career related moves and decisions.
Communicate what your situation is and consult with them to see how they feel about a decision you are looking to lock down. This is not to say that you allow them to run your life completely. This is simply giving them and yourself the room to see if or not certain decisions impact the relationship as well as to look for alternatives. This works both ways.
See Where You’re Putting in More Hours
Sure there are times when we might be required to work late or take a business trip away from home for a few days. This is alright. At the same time, if you find yourself spending too much time at work on a regular basis to the point that your time at home is being cut into; maybe reorganize.
Similarly if you feel your relationship is taking up too much of your time and energy, talk it out. The idea is to give an adequate (as possible) amount of time and energy to both. If you feel your scales are tipping, put in the work to cover where it’s lacking!
Separate the Two
At times we may get worked up at work and take it out when were home or vice versa. We may even sometimes carry troubles from one place right into another. Try your best not to do this. When you’re at work, focus on it and when you’re home, unless it’s something interesting; don’t carry it to the dinner table with you!
Keeping your work and home space separate mitigates conflict and helps keep things streamlined.
Busy is Not Unavailable
A mistake many people make is becoming completely unavailable to their families and loved ones, the standard response being; “I was working”. Though this is acceptable, being busy does not equate to unavailability.
If you have access to a phone or to the internet, it helps to check for any messages and to respond to them in your free time. It is your partner after all and a little effort will go a long way!
Sometimes all a relationship needs is a little more structure when things are too up in the air. If you feel you have a choppy work and home time table, try organizing a little. Make schedules. Give your partner a heads up on times or portions of the day where you won’t be available.
In the same spirit, take out a few hours daily as well as maybe a day or two where you devote yourself to the relationship and are unavailable to any employers or other co-workers. This is not only healthy for you and your relationship – it’s your right as a human being!
There are other things you could do to help balance your career and your relationship ensuring one doesn’t overshadow and damage the other. You could even seek couples counseling to help you and your partner navigate the space between the two of you and your respective careers.
If you’re located in the Bay Area or in Palo Alto, get in touch with us! We specialize in couple counseling as well as other relational therapeutic work!
If you grew up like many on a diet of fiction, romance and maybe a lot of Disney one of the things you might have been exposed to is notions of undying, unconditional romantic love. It is love according to such narratives that breaks curses, it is love where people find healing and solace and it is love that overcomes all.
Even a lot of the music we listen to today (and have for decades past) seems to harp on about this powerful (and dare we say unreal) brand of love. It’s no wonder that when it comes to finding a life partner, many of us feel that love is enough to carry things forward and see them through.
The question; is love enough to see a marriage through?
Let’s Talk Love for a Minute
People have struggled to understand what love is for centuries and everyone from poets and philosophers to behaviorists and psychiatrists have had a crack at it. An article in the Psychology Today online publication on love stated that for the most part, “love” is a blanket term we used to cover and describe numerous human behaviors.
Another thing to remember is that in many cases, we mistake infatuation for love. Those lightning bolts and butterflies you feel when you run into someone even if you hardly know them? That’s biological attraction and infatuation more than anything else! Love in actuality if you must define it is a lot less dramatic and a lot more robust!
For the sake of clarity; let’s just say the love we’re talking about here is the deep rooted care and affection. This is the same as that which you feel for a child, a parent, a close friend, a partner or even an ex who you have grown close to.
So Is Love Enough?
Now that we have that bit clear, maybe ask yourself. Is love alone enough to make you a good friend, child, parent or partner? If there is something you love doing, does that automatically make you good at it? The answer; no, it does not.
If Not Love, What Then!?
You may be wondering what if not love is enough to see a marriage through. Though love might be the heart or root of a marriage, it takes a little more to make sure the marriage in question is healthy and works for both parties concerned.
Open communication and the ability to do so is one of the things needed to make any marriage work. If a couple stops communicating, rest assured that is a sign of relational deterioration.
You sometimes have abusive partners claiming to have done things out of “love”. This is not love; rather control. Healthy marriages however require mutual respect. This includes respect for your partner’s wishes, their individuality, their space and their sensitivities among other things. If you don’t have respect for your partner, loose notions of love won’t do much.
Willingness to Work
Even the best relationships come to hard points and stages where one or both partners need to put in a real effort to move things along or help things become unstuck. One of the biggest factors that may help relationships work and thrive is when both partners are on the ball and willing to put in the work needed.
This means learning, this means compromise and this means taking ownership for ones flaws and being receptive when blind spots are pointed out.
Trust is something without which a marriage might as well not be called one. If you can’t trust your spouse, what exactly are you standing on?
Intellectual and emotional compatibility are two of the things that could turn a simple relationship into a life commitment like marriage. Further, those are also two of the things that really help keep a relationship afloat.
If you notice some of the healthiest couples around you, there aren’t always the ones with the fieriest stories of how they met. In most cases, they are the ones that grew together and get along like the best of friends! Compatibility is what helps us really bond when the initial sparks of infatuation die down.
We could really go on and on but the question seems to have answered its self. Love alone is not enough to see a relationship through and as you can see, there is a whole lot else that goes into it! The good news; if you feel you’ve hit a rocky place in your marriage or simply want to work around some obstacles with your partner, marriage counseling can be extremely helpful!
If you’re located in Palo Alto or the Bay Area and are looking for a couple therapist offering couple counseling to both heteronormative and same sex couples as well as other options such as family meditation, feel free to get in touch with us!