When both partners in a relationship work, it can be difficult to balance love with career. Modern romance often means no one is home to make dinner, and quality time can be hard to find. Here are 10 ways to still find success as a couple while pursuing a career:
1. Set boundaries. Whether it's the time you each leave the office, or how often you work from home, make sure you communicate and set clear expectations about how your careers will bleed into your life. Make a rule that you can't look at iPhones after 7:00 pm, or that you'll both work on Sunday afternoons. Career-oriented couples often enjoy working, but setting boundaries allows you to also enjoy each other.
2. Talk finances early and often. The most common argument couples face is around money. So talk now, while things are good, on whether each person is willing to support the other if a job is lost or if a new career direction is fancied. Are you willing to dip into your savings to support a relocation? How will your lifestyle change if your partner gets a promotion? Decide how you will allocate money at home and for work.
3. Carve time out for each other. It's important to create regular time to spend together. Maybe you make special moments out of running errands or perhaps you exercise every Saturday together. You can also try scheduling a date night for every Tuesday that can't be rescheduled. The point is to find quality time together to look forward to.
4. Don't go to bed angry. An old adage that is meaningful for the success of both your relationship and your career. If you wake up angry, not only did you possibly lose valuable sleep from the night before, but you also get a negative start to your morning that can affect your productivity throughout the day. Work out your issues before your head hits the pillow for the good of your relationship and your career.
5. Balance sacrifices. If one or both of you want to pursue a high-profile career, it's almost a guarantee that sacrifices will have to be made for the good of that career. Remember that balance is created over long periods of time. Accept and acknowledge the importance of your partner's sacrifice to further your career and be willing to do the same for their dreams in the future.
6. Show unconditional support. It can be difficult to show interest in your spouse's career after your own long day of work. But it's important that you're thoughtful and present in your conversations relating to your partner's career, and that your support is unconditional toward their work. Without such support, a lack of understanding and resentment can breed in your partner, making it difficult to act as a couple.
7. Love the person, not their title. For the health of your relationship, make sure you've fallen in love with your partner as a person, and not with their title or position. In today's economy, nothing is certain, and compatibility is no longer based on whether or not the other person can take care of you. Instead, know that you can take care of yourself, and decide if you still want your partner around.
8. Do the decision two-step. The first step to making a decision is you, and the second is your partner. No longer are you operating in life independently, no matter how headstrong your personality. Your decisions now affect each other, and you have to recognize your partner has equal say. Prepare yourself to handle the consequences of the other person's actions.
9. Share household duties. No one wants to come home to a sink full of dirty dishes. Divvying up household chores is often a sticking point between couples that escalates into ongoing arguments. Assign clear roles and decide who takes out the trash, who does the dishes, who cooks, and who vacuums. Stick to it, but then don't be afraid to break out the dish soap when your partner is having a tough week.
10. Forgive and apologize. In a world of career uncertainty, relationships can be a secure foundation and minimizer of stress. Don't make things more difficult by holding grudges. Communicate often with your partner; show compassion toward their bad moods and celebrate their good ones. A successful relationship is often the first step toward a successful career. Make sure you commit to the long-game.
Rebecca Thorman's weekly blog Kontrary offers tips to create the career, bank account, and life you love, and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it, and earn more money. She writes from Washington, D.C.
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