When two people decide to blend their lives, compromise, compassion, and respect are critical factors in making the marriage or relationship work. Although two lives become one in a sense, individual likes, dislikes, and habits of each still exist. Because of those differences, relationships need constant cultivation, no matter if it’s brand new or long term. Add different work schedules to the mix and everyday stressors can seem more significant than they are. Here are 4 ways to keep your relationship strong, when you are both too busy.
Take Advantage of Time Together
When two people have opposite work schedules, to keep a relationship strong, they designate a specific day devoted entirely to each other. See a movie. Grab a bottle of wine and picnic lunch and walk to the park or beach (or set one up in your living room or bedroom). Go exercise with your partner. Don’t answer the phone, shut off your cell phone, and go a day without answering email. This day is about finding interest in your partner’s life.
Carve Out Time During Work Schedules
Even if work schedules differ, make an effort to meet your significant other, if only for a few moments. Schedule lunch or dinner together. If 20-30 minutes isn’t possible, make the extra effort to call him/her. Get up an hour early or delay bedtime to discuss the day’s events with one another – make the most of the few moments you have together. And, hey –once in awhile, play hooky!
Establish Roles and Responsibilities
Who does the budget? Who cooks, cleans and the numerous other responsibilities that keep the household running smoothly? If children are part of the picture, who takes them to school or daycare, reviews homework, sets up play schedules? Decide who does what so that time together is not filled with trying to figure out if bills have been paid, the laundry has been done, or the kid’s school project is overdue. Establishing those roles and keeping the lines of communication open alleviates time spent playing catch up and help keep relationships strong.
Remember Holidays, Birthdays and Special Occasions
With different work schedules, inevitably, a holiday, birthday, anniversary or special occasion may have to be missed. Understanding that a partner’s work schedule may not allow time off during those celebrations doesn’t have to mean the event is lost or any less important. Make a concerted effort to remember those occasions – send flowers, stick a card in with lunch or near the coffeemaker where your spouse will know that it’s not forgotten.
Take time to celebrate the special day before or after. Instead of lamenting that an anniversary can’t be spent together, be grateful that it can be celebrated on the day or week before or after. Remember what brought you together in the first place and the actual days that mark those occasions become far less important than the reason why they are special in the first place.
Relationships are essential parts of our lives and deserve loving attention. Being aware of each other’s needs and finding special time for your partner, even when work schedules differ, is vital to its continuing success.