Sometimes marriage takes a backseat to work. Marriage doesn’t become less important, but it does get less time and energy.
There are seasons in which work demands everything we have—a crisis happens, an opportunity presents itself, a promotion is given, a co-worker gets sick. Whatever the situation, the normal schedule will not do. We work a regular day and then put in a second and third shift. Schedules are changed; kids’ events are missed; we almost grow unaware of the world outside of work.
And in these moments EVERYTHING falls on our spouse.
It’s as though they become a single parent, but it is more difficult than that because not only do they have to do everything with the kids by themselves, they also have to assist us.
It’s the scenario which kills marriages. But it doesn’t have to.
Healthy marriages can do more than just navigate these times but can actually find a way to thrive through him.
How can some couples endure these times while other couples die from them?
Healthy couples do three things when marriage takes a back seat to work:
It is vital that a couple communicates what is taking place at work. If a wife becomes stressed over something at work but fails to communicate that with her husband, the husband might assume she is mad at him instead of being stressed by work. Knowing what our spouse is facing is a pre-requisite for assisting them through a tough season. We can’t help what we don’t know. Healthy couples communicate their stresses, fears, difficulties, and anything which is creating a challenge in their life. (Side-note: healthy couples also listen well when their spouse describes challenges and does not try to fix the challenge. Simply listen and learn.)
There is a difference between a season which demands marriage take a backseat to work and a person who willfully places work before marriage on a continual basis. Healthy couples face seasons where work is demanding; unhealthy couples live in a constant state of imbalance. There is a simple way to tell the difference—when will this season of demand end? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Anything much longer than that and it’s more than just a busy season; it’s possibly a life out of balance. There must be a clear beginning and end to the demanding time or our spouse will grow weary and dismayed. We can endure nearly anything for a season, but we should not live a life in which our spouse places work before us.
While communication and definition are necessary for healthy couples, the real secret between how some couples navigate difficult times while others do not is what happens before a tough times arises. If you continually put your spouse first and dedicate the time and resources to your marriage and family, then you will be able to easily navigate demanding seasons at work. However, if you regularly ignore time with your family and always place work before them, your spouse will not have the reserve energy to endure a difficult time.
Consider two people being put through a stress test. Stressors are placed on the body to reveal its condition. If a body is healthy, it will adequately meet the increase of demands. However, if the body is unhealthy, it will not be able to endure the stressors. So it is with many marriages. Tough times often reveal the true condition.
Far too many marriages live in a constant state of malnourishment, barely able to adequately navigate daily life. When additional pressure is experienced, they fold. Yet some couples regularly nourish their relationship so that when a demanding time arises, they have plenty of stored resources off which the relationship can depend.
We must regularly invest in our relationships because there will be seasons of life in which we will not be able to do so. If we haven’t properly stored good memories, experiences and energies, our marriage will greatly suffer when difficult times arise. However, if we continually invest in our marriage, serve our mate, and show them they are the top priority in our lives, when demanding times come we will not only be able to endure, but may actually thrive in those times.
Don’t let work kill your marriage. Invest in your relationship today, because you don’t know what tomorrow may hold.
Posted on Mon, October 23, 2017
by Kevin Woods