It’s a story as old as work itself – people who lose their marriage because they spend too much time on their career. And the crazy thing is that often the people that lose their marriage in this way justify how much they work by saying that they’re doing it for their partner.
In other situation, it isn’t so much that they work too much, but they can’t separate their work lives from their private lives. We can all understand why that happens. When we come home, we can’t quite stop thinking of work. And the frustration affects those that have nothing to do with it. To the detriment of us all.
So how do you prevent that from happening? What can you do to make sure that your career – which was always supposed to support your private life – doesn’t end up ruining those moments of happiness you’ve got.
There is hard work and smart work
From our television shows, our magazines and our daily conversations we’ve been led to believe that if we’re serious about our careers then we have to work a lot, with the idea being that if we work more then we’re more productive.
The thing is, that’s just not true.
If we take regular breaks, spend more time with our families and take time to relax, we actually end up being more productive in the time that we do work. Deep down, most of us must know that. And yet, it doesn’t seem to change our behavior. Did you know that for the last 10 years even as a whole host of new ‘productivity enhancing’ tools have been added to our lives, our productivity has actually dropped?
Don’t be part of that trend and let your marriage suffer for it. Instead, realize that spending time with those you love will ultimately allow you to boost your productivity and make you enjoy your life more to boost.
Success and happiness
Another way that we can save our marriages is to realize that we’ve been lied to in another way by society and that is that if we’re successful then we’ll be happier. The thing is, the research in psychology has shown this not to be true.
In his book ‘The Happiness Advantage’ Harvard Psychologist Shawn Anchor argues that we’ve actually managed to put the horse behind the carriage on this one. If we’re happy, he argues (and demonstrates through plenty of studies) that if we first focus on being happy then our success will follow.
And though he points out a lot of ways to be happier (like changing our frame of reference, exercising gratitude and more) one of the key ways that he points out we can be happier is by spending more time with the people that we love.
Creating a barrier between your work and your life
Sometimes we work too much and sometimes we fail to put up a barrier between our work and those we love. Our wives are not punching bags, there to take out our stress on when we’re feeling frustrated or annoyed. In a similar way, we shouldn’t ignore them even as we dwell on everything that we should really put off till tomorrow.
For that reason, we need to find ways to construct barriers between our private lives and our work lives. There are many ways that we can do this. For example, we can start exercising, we can start meditation, we can start going for a long walks with the dog.
What it comes down to, really, is creating a ritual which tells our bodies and our minds that it is time to switch over from one activity to the next. As long as we practice this ritual consistently and really try to use it to switch off, our bodies will get into the habit and thereby it will become more and more automatic.
Get a new job
Remember, you work to live, not the other way around. For that reason, if your job is really endangering your marriage, why not switch it up? Start looking for something new that is more in line with your personality and that doesn’t make the same demands on your time and your mental wellbeing.
Those jobs do exist, you know. Sometimes they pay more, sometimes they pay the same and sometimes they pay a little less. Does it really matter, if it means that you can fix your home life and once again turn it into a source of support and growth rather than a sinkhole that draws in what little energy you have left?
If that’s the road you want to go down, than really go down it. Start the process today by finding out how you can apply to jobs even while you’re still working and ing a mastergrades cover letter expert to help you out.
Getting outside help
Sometimes you might feel like it isn’t your fault. That your spouse is being unfair and not giving you a fair shake. In that case, get a third opinion. Ask some friends if you spend most of your time talking about your work.
Do note that we have a natural tendency to select those friends that we feel will give us the answer that we want to hear. So if you’re serious about making sure your career doesn’t destroy your marriage, make sure that you select somebody who can be more honest about these kinds of things.
Otherwise their opinions might just reinforce the beliefs you hold without letting you fix the problem. And then your downward slope will simply continue.
It’s hard for many people to accept, but it is possible to be productive at work and have a happy home life to boot. Your marriage can be a source of strength and enjoyment for yourself and your spouse.
The trick is to make sure that your marriage gets enough time and attention. Your career can’t take first place. Nobody wants to consistently have to take second place to your work – this goes doubly for your spouse.
So, take time. Take a breath. Realize that even the most patience partner will eventually snap. Accept that it’s easier to find another job than to find another soul mate.
And then start taking action to re-balance your life in a way that you can share more time with the ones you love.