Jennifer feels torn and guilty. For the first time in her life, she’s doing work that she absolutely loves. She’s had several jobs in the past that merely paid the bills. Now, however, she looks forward to going into the office every day. It’s always stimulating and rewarding.
Some days, she is disappointed when 5 pm rolls around. That’s when the guilt pours in.
While Jennifer adores her work, she also adores her family. Her children are teenagers and pretty much take care of themselves, but she feels a distance growing between herself and them. It’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with what’s new in their lives and that didn’t used to happen.
What’s even more troubling is the distance she feels growing in her marriage. She worries that the time, energy and attention she devotes to her work is having a detrimental effect on her relationship with her husband. Sometimes, as she excitedly shares with him about one of her work projects, he seems to be bored and not really listening. He rarely talks about his job except to complain about his boss. Other times, when Jennifer calls home to say she’s staying late at the office, she can hear the irritation in his voice.
She doesn’t want to lose either her fabulous job or her loving relationship with her husband and children. Most of the time, Jennifer feels like she has to short-change one or the other and that is stressful and upsetting.
The inner conflict can be huge!
When you work at a job you love and you also want to keep your relationship healthy and connected, you might feel just as torn as Jennifer does. Finding balance is the goal and it may not seem easy to come by.
The demands of life can be stressful and you might even believe that, in order to have success in one area of your life, you’ve got to neglect the other areas.
Please note: There is a difference between being passionate about your job and being a workaholic. When work is an excuse to avoid your partner or a tense situation at home, pay attention. Acknowledge it if you feel compelled to work long hours or spend little time with your partner. Get curious about why this is and decide what you will do about it.
We don’t believe that you have to neglect any aspect of your life and certainly not your own well-being either!
If you are seeking balance between your relationship and career, we first recommend that you try a re-frame. This intentionally looking at the same situation you find yourself in a slightly different way.
For example, if you tend to tell yourself that, “There’s no time for it all” or “There’s not enough me to go around” or “I can only focus on either my work or my family,” stop yourself and remember to breathe.
While it’s probably true that you can’t be and do everything all at once, you CAN nurture both a thriving career and a healthy and close relationship.
Balance, success and satisfaction become available when you open up to, “I don’t have to choose.”
You might not know how this kind of balance will happen. In fact, if you try to plan it all out in advance, you’ll mostly make yourself stressed out and exhausted. What you can do is to affirm the possibility of balance to yourself and then make decisions that are in alignment with balance as they come up.
Keep the communication between you and your partner open and honest. Let him or her know that you see your work AND your relationship and family as equally important.
Don’t stop sharing about what you love about your job. If your partner seems to you to be bored or uninterested, ask if he or she wants to hear more. Don’t take it personally if the answer is “No.”
Make sure to ask about your partner’s day and to value whatever he or she does, regardless of whether or not there’s a paycheck involved. The point here is to use what you each found enjoyable, difficult or thought-provoking about your everyday experiences as a way to stay in touch with one another.
This can be fuel for connection regardless of how different each of your experiences are.
Never stop creating chances to connect with your partner and with your own self. Remember, nobody wins if you sacrifice yourself or what you are passionate about. You may have to do some creative scheduling, but it IS possible to keep the connection with your partner strong and healthy.
Think of it as an adventure!
How can you and your partner take the 15 minute chunk of time you have alone in the evening and make it a moment for touching in with each another? Could you sit together on the couch holding hands and listening to the relaxing music or just the sounds of your home and one another’s breathing?
This might sound boring, but if you really tune into the moment, you might really enjoy it and it could build up for later passion in the bedroom.