Last Monday, my husband and I celebrated 13 years of marriage. Trouble in paradise happened around year two. I had an infertility diagnosis and was practically living at work. Many days, I arrived at my school at 7 AM and kept working until 7 PM. I arrived at home in time for dinner and bed. No relationship is sustainable if you continue on the path of putting work before your relationship.
I remember during undergrad, a professor took the time to share with us some data about depression, alcoholism, and divorce rate for educators. She framed this data with a conversation challenging us to think about how much of ourselves would we devote to work and how much of ourselves would we devote to having a life outside of work. That was 2005, and here in 2019, I can remember my professor’s words as if she said them yesterday.
Year three of my marriage, my husband and I took off of work for a few days and renewed our vows in the Great Smoky Mountains (The picture of me in the gold dress above is from our vow renewal). We wanted to start over and set some new norms for our marriage. Although we did complete pre-marital counseling at the church we attended during college, we didn’t discuss work and the expectations we had for each other. Setting those expectations helped us reset and save our relationship.
Some guidelines we set were:
- Not over committing to extra tasks at work.
- Being mindful of how many days a week we were staying beyond our contract hours.
- Balancing when we would pursue work aspirations that may involve obtaining additional degrees, certifications, or positions.
- Being willing to check each other if we were violating the above guidelines.
Maybe you are not married, but I’m sure you have people or activities that are just as important or even more important than your job. It is important to have some work guidelines so work will not consume your life.
Until next week!