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Fitting marriage into work life balance

We all know that marriage isn't easy, especially with all the stress we bring home each day.

Rhonda Ricardo, author of Cherries Over Quicksand, interviewed hundreds of married and single people from ages 18 to 80 about the subject of love and marriage. She picked up some interesting insights. Rhonda found that many work-related situations can either make partners start to doubt each other or make their bond grow stronger.   

1Cherries_Over_Quicksand_Cover Some of the stories she heard took her by surprise. What she realized was that there are commonalities in why marriages succeed or fail. Her new book shares more than 70 personal stories.

Rhonda offers these tips:

* Stick with your dreams. In the initial courtship, couples often share their dreams for the future. When we fall in love, we expect a similar package that was presented in the beginning.  Could one partner’s loss of enthusiasm for any of their once-passionate career goals frustrate the other partner?  The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” When a partner watches the love of their life lose their zest for their aspirations, including education and career goals, confusion can become overwhelming.   Caring and honest communication or professional counseling could be the best way to address this issue.  

* Encourage your spouse to walk in your shoes. If a wife puts her career on hold to stay home with the babies, then decides to return to work, she will need her husband to take over some of the household and child-time duties.  Men admitted that as soon as they were at home alone with the children, especially if she had to travel overnight, they gained some great ‘walked in her shoes’ respect for their women.

* Listen and set goals together.  When talking with your partner about his or her dreams and goals and how they may have evolved, listen and repeat their words back to them.  Many people complain that their partner seems to be listening but then jumps in with their opinion and obviously did not hear the ideas they had just carefully revealed.  Once everyone is on the same page it is easier to make a realistic plan for both partners to go after their career goals.

* Offer understanding about work demands. Be prepared for situations when a partner suddenly has an overwhelming project at work that requires he or she must spend so much time on the job that they barely have time to get five hours sleep and a shower before they get back to work.    I have had this subject come up many times and I almost always discover the same outcome whether it was the woman or man with the work project.  Outside pressure from a spouse is resented.  (“Why can’t she/he get it?”) Women who understood that their men were temporarily ‘too busy’ and took the extra time to enjoy their own career,  family or school goals  had very happy men. 

* Make an effort to support each other. Each should be respectful, caring and supportive at work and social functions no matter how long the couple has been together.  These simple but deliberate actions can create heartfelt gratitude and carry over to make couples even closer…and exceptionally romantic because you are a tight-exciting team.

* If you are unhappy, speak up -- creatively. If there is a career or money problem in the home sometimes it is easier hearing and discussing a story or a movie about how someone else dealt with their finance/relationship problems to get a conversation going.  While the couple discusses how they would have handled the movie character’s situation (the one that may be looming in their own current relationship) they find it easier to be open about their true opinion while still being careful not to cross the line into disrespect. Cool attitudes and wisdom are a must.   If the conversation gets too one-sided; stop, think back to that first kiss, smile and remember to look at your partner like they are the only one who can melt your heart.  If necessary, take a break, there’s always tomorrow for fresh conversation.

1Rhonda_Ricardo For more information about Rhonda Ricardo and CHERRIES OVER QUICKSAND,  visit www.cherriesoverquicksand.com.