When you are married and working, it is important to balance your professional and personal lives. This balance is tricky because all it takes is one incident for everything to spiral out of control.
The two are also closely connected. If something goes bad at work, it has a chance to effect you at home and vice versa. This creates a cycle where the negative from one aspect of your life starts to cause problems for the other part of your life. If you do not find a way to address these issues, then you end up making yourself and your partner miserable.
One of the most common traps couples fall into is growing complacent. Many couples spend years together perfectly balancing their work and personal lives. When something does finally happen, it catches both parties off guard, which only causes more problems. Every married couple deals with problems in a different way, plus there are no shortage of possible workplace issues. However, there are several tips all couples can follow to balance their work and personal lives.
Spillover vs. Crossover
Before you attempt to solve any problems, it is worth identifying whether your problems are causing spillover or crossover. Spillover refers to issues where you bring your work stress into your personal life. With spillover, you start working at home to try and make up for whatever is bothering you at work. As a result, you stop paying attention to your partner because you are solely focused on fixing your work issues.
Spillover causes isolation, while crossover directly affects your partner. The crossover refers to stress entering your personal life. When one partner is burned out, the other is bound to become burned out as well. This is due to trying to carry the relationship alone, but also from the general negative atmosphere around the house.
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Most problems begin with spillover, but in more serious cases, it might lead right into crossover. If your partner is more involved in your work life, such as knowing your work friends or being in a similar field, the chances of crossover happening right away are increased. This is because your partner has a better understanding of what you are going through and is more likely to get involved right away.
On their own, spillover and crossover are not inherently negative. If things are going well at work, your positive emotions may spillover at home, leading to your partner celebrating your success with you. Even spillover or crossover caused by work stress may not end up being inherently negative. Sometimes, venting about work to your partner is enough to address your work stress and once you feel support from your partner, you are able to face the stress head on.
Warning Signs to Look Out For
Work or personal stress is unavoidable, but it does not always lead to spillover or crossover. If you are unsure whether stress is causing your two lives to blend together, then look for common warning signs, such as:
- Work priorities taking precedence at home.
- You are too tired from work to spend time with your partner.
- You only ever talk to your spouse about your work problems.
- You are uncomfortable making personal plans because of your busy work schedule or you feel too tired to socialize.
While most of the issues involve your work life affecting your personal life, it is possible for your personal life to bleed into your work life. The reason these issues are not as common is most workers spend more time in their personal life than they do at work. If your personal life starts to spill into your work life, look for the same issues. For example, if you spend all day talking to your coworkers about your home issues or you constantly interrupt work to call your partner, these are signs your personal life is interfering into your professional world.
Communicate With Your Partner
One of the simplest ways to keep your professional life from harming your personal life is to be open and honest with your partner. Many problems arise when one partner tries to keep their stress away from his or her partner. Normally, this is done in an attempt to keep the stress from crossing over, but it also creates animosity. Your partner can tell when something is bothering you.
By trying to hide the truth, it makes it seem like you are hiding something much more sinister, or it signals you do not trust your partner. As the stress increases, you are more likely to get into a fight with your partner because he or she is frustrated that you are not communicating.
Remember, you are not the only person to experience stress. If you explain to your partner work is difficult, he or she will understand where you are coming from. Let your partner know you are on edge, but you are not mad at them. When you balance your professional and personal life, you do not have to keep the two completely separate. It is okay to spend a few minutes discussing your work problems, just so your partner understands why you are moody.
Once your partner understands what you are going through, try not to bring up anything work related again unless he or she asks. This way, you do not have to worry about your partner becoming too involved in your work stress.
Find Time for Your Partner
Work stress causes problems when it takes over your personal life. An easy way to keep work stress out of your personal life is to set aside at least one day a week where you do not have to worry about work at all and just spend time with your partner. If you find you are unable to set even one night aside for your partner, this is an indicator your work stress is becoming unmanageable. At this point, you need to set aside time to properly address what is causing you so much stress at work.
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In some cases, the work stress comes with a set end date. For example, your stress may be a result of preparing for an inspection or having your deadline cut in half, doubling your work. In these instances, communicate what is happening with your partner and come up with a solution. Instead of having a date night and waiting two weeks for your deadline to pass, you can both agree to spend the weekend together. Consider taking even more time off to plan a family vacation. If you do not see an end to your workplace stress, or the end date is too far in the future, you need to reassess how important your job truly is and whether it is worth putting your marriage at risk.
High Risk Occupations
Any job is capable of causing issues with your marriage. However, some careers cause more stress than others. If you are in any of the following professions, make sure you pay even more attention to the balance between your work and personal life:
- Gaming managers and service workers.
- Flight attendants.
- Metal or plastic setter, operators and tenders.
- Textile manufacturers.
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