Working different hours for some couples can be a nightmare when it comes to the relationship. The reasons are fairly simple especially in the early stages of marriage spending time together is essential for the relationship to succeed. The pressures of pursuing a career can really affect the work-life balance when one of you works during the day and the other is working the graveyard shift.
However, there are methods you can use to minimize the impact of working different hours so that your relationship can continue to grow.
Make the Most of the Time You Have
Whatever the crossover time that both of you share should be exploited to the fullest. By making the most of the time you have, you can improve your communication and express your love for each other in ways that will help your relationship grow. This means making each other a meal, buying little gifts, and doing the things during a shorter time period than you would if you both worked the same hours.
Spend One Day Together Each Week
This is another way to help foster your relationship is by choosing at least one day a week to spend together if possible. You can go out for a meal, spend some time in the park, catch a movie, or plan whatever activity you want to pursue during this time together. By spending a whole day together, you can help increase the bonds of your relationship while working on your work-life balance in a positive manner.
Use Email for Communication
One of the biggest issues that both of you face is how little time there is to communicate when one of you is at work. So, use email for your communication to solve particular household issues that come up from time to time. While some matters are better handled face-to-face, the smaller things can be taken care of if you use email which allows the other person to see and read the messages on their time.
Set Appointments for Serious Issues
While many issues can be handled through email, there are some things that need to be discussed face-to-face and that is where setting an appointment comes in. This is because bringing up an important issue when your partner is tired and just got home from work will often make things worse because they are not energized or mentally ready to handle such a discussion. So, use that time to set an appointment so both of you can be ready to discuss serious issues.
Plus, you also gain the advantage of time which means that both of you can be better emotionally and mentally ready for whatever is going to be talked about. This also allows any emotional buildup to taper off somewhat so that it doesn‘t get the better of you.
Split the Chores
One big issue that often arises with couples that work different hours is doing the chores required around the home. This is because when one partner sees a sink full of dishes, trash that is not taken out, or the floors that need mopping and knows that their significant other is asleep it can seem like they are not pulling their weight around the house. You can remedy this by splitting the chores as evenly as possible and getting assistance if some tasks are beyond their capabilities. For example, if neither of you have the skills or time to do lawn work then hire someone who does. It certainly beats trying to mow the lawn at midnight with neighbors who might not be so understanding of your situation.
Divide Up the Decision-Making
With so much time apart, it can be difficult to make decisions together so you should lay the groundwork for each of you making decisions on your own depending on the circumstances. The most obvious one is that the person who is present in the home should make the decisions while the other is at work or upstairs asleep. Of course, there are some decisions that are still best made together, such as those that will have a lasting impact, so keep that in perspective when you dividing up the decision-making process.
Judiciously Use Vacation Days
While this particular system of trying to balance your life and career can work for a while, at some point you will need to spend even more time together and that is where vacation days come into play. You will need to use them judiciously so that you can maximize the time you spend with your partner. However, there are only so many vacation days to go around so be wise in how you set them up. Take advantage of holidays where there are extra days that can be taken off and work together in planning your vacations so that you can really enjoy them to the fullest.
Keep Things in Perspective
Another issue that often arises for couples that work different hours is how little annoying things are allowed to build up over time until they become major issues. Seeing unwashed dishes left in the sink, trash not taken out, something left in the floor, and other small things can be a little annoying. However, that should be kept in the proper perspective. It‘s not worth a major fight over small stuff, so look at it in the right way and tries to enjoy the time you have together without devolving into fighting over the small stuff.
Look to the Future
For some couples, this type of work schedule can last for an indefinite period of time while for others it may be difficult to handle even in the short run. In any case, you will need to look at your career to see what changes can be made down the road. Effective work-life balance can best be achieved when you and your partner start working similar hours. So, perhaps not today, but down the road each of you can build your respective career plans so that a few years away both of you will be more in sync. This will not only improve the communication in your relationship, it will provide a light at the end of the tunnel that each of you will look forward to seeing.
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