How does your employment affect your marriage? Having an enjoyable job can make a big difference in your overall happiness and your marriage. However, there are many circumstances where work can have a negative impact on the relationship.
How stressful is your job? For people who experience high stress jobs, it may negatively impact their health and their relationships if they do not learn how to manage their stress well. It is important to take notice of your stress levels and find activities to help you relieve your stress so that it doesn’t cause problems at home as well.
How’s your mood when you arrive home from work? Does your spouse know what kind of day you’ve had within seconds of your arrival? If so, it is important to recognize how your work may be affecting your marriage.
If you come home from work, stressed, upset, angry, frustrated, or depressed, it is going to impact your ability to enjoy quality time with your spouse. It is important to recognize what sort of mood you return home with and learn to change it. Continuing to be in a bad mood from your day at work will only lead to marital discord.
Can’t leave work at work
Sometimes people just can’t stop working. They arrive home and still continue to accept phone calls. They check their email and continue conducting business, just like they’d never left the office. Depending on what field you work in, this may be an expectation of your job. However, it is important to recognize the cost it is having on your marriage and family life.
Make sure to spend some uninterrupted quality time with your spouse. Your spouse deserves to have your attention when talking and spending time together. Agree to set some time aside where you will refrain from anything work related.
If you feel satisfied with your level of income and your benefits, you’ll likely experience less stress about these issues when you are home. Do you and your spouse agree on how to spend your money? Do you feel the need to work a lot of overtime to try and cover your expenses? If you and your spouse argue a lot about money it can have a negative impact on your marriage and your overall stress level.
Both of you work
When both partners work, it can help ease the financial strain in the relationship. It can also decrease the burden so that there is not one primary breadwinner. It can also give both people a social outlet and sense of purpose each day.
The negative aspect of both partners working is that there is less time to get household responsibilities done. For couples with children, there can be added stress of dealing with childcare issues, determining who stays home from work when a child is sick, and managing daily responsibilities.
A 2002 study, Women’s Employment, Marital Happiness, and Divorce, concluded that in happy marriages, when wives entered the workforce, there was not a negative impact on the relationship. However, for marriages that were already struggling, the added stress of the wife working lead to higher incidence of divorce. This study suggests that the marriage needs to be strong to begin with in order for both partners to maintain careers without their work disrupting their marriage.
Sometimes people use work as a way to avoid home. Volunteering to work extra hours can be a way to avoid problems in the marriage. When people start using work as a way to avoid problems, it can be very difficult to work on the marriage. If you use work to avoid your home life it is important to take an honest look at what the issues are and determine a plan on how to address them.
Managing Work and Marriage
Maintaining a balance between work and married life can be difficult at times. There may be times in your life where your work requires more attention and other times when your marriage requires more effort. It’s important to take notice of how your job is affecting your home life and work with your partner on managing this delicate balance.
Schoen, Robert, Nan Marie Astone, Kendra Rothert, Nicola Standish, Kim Young. 2002. “Women’s Employment, Marital Happiness, and Divorce.” Social Forces 81:643-662.