Ruth and I have supported many clients struggling with the transition between work life and home life. Increasingly, more couples complain that they are overstressed by their jobs and long work hours; they have little left in the tank upon returning home. Also, they often report that they have difficulty letting go of their experiences of the day. Hence, connection and quality time with their partners and families is substantially diminished. Furthermore, women especially have lamented that their mates disappoint, frustrate, or anger them by relating to them similarly to how they speak or behave at work.
Here are some suggestions for ways to make the work-to-home transition smoother and more mutually satisfying:
Bolster your self-care, e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep routine, to increase your stamina.
Request or arrange some remote work or perhaps flextime.
Upon returning from work, allow sufficient downtime to de-stress before connecting with your partner and other family members. Engage in a relaxing or energy-building activity.
Be mindful and intentional about leaving work behind and shifting gears.
Accept and respect each other’s individual differences.
Prioritize time to talk and broaden your conversation topics, especially beyond household management and job discussion. Also focus on active listening.
Gently and patiently inform your mate as to how you want them to be with and respond to you. Rather than criticizing or blaming, offer specific requests and encouragement for favorable communication and behavior (which you also model). Men often require some primers regarding sustaining attention and emotional expression.
Develop a few mutual interests and activities.
Arrange regularly-scheduled dates--at least three monthly, preferably more often.
What else do you already do to spark your relationship? Can you add something brand new for yourselves to this list? I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.
I recommend discussing the above list with your partner and together considering additional ways of enhancing your connection and intimacy during your limited time together.
Toward love in action,
Your Relationship Coach,
Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.