Take a peek at your schedule. No, on second thought, don’t. If you’re like most of us, you’ll feel overloaded and discouraged. Maybe we should talk about how to find work-life balance instead. Finding the right balance isn’t easy. Especially when you think about how you spend your time. Your day is likely spent getting the family ready for school or work, juggling the demands of the job, coordinating kids’ schedules, driving, doing chores and, if you have a few extra minutes, saying hello to your spouse. How can you balance work while building a strong marriage when there’s so much to do?
Is work-life balance even possible?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics studied the lives of everyday Americans and here’s what they found. Each day we spend about:
- 2 hours a day on household chores (with women doing the bulk of the work)
- 1 1/2 hours eating
- 5 1/2 hours in “leisure and sports”
- 9 hours sleeping
- 2 hours dedicated to childcare and/or aging parent care
And then there’s all the time we spend at work! No wonder we struggle to find a healthy work-life balance!
God cares about your work-life balance
Psalm 90:12 is a reminder about our time: “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” God cares about our work-life balance and how our time commitments affect our marriage.
Because God cares, we can turn to Him when we need help to develop the right work-life balance.
How to find a healthy work-life balance
- Choose your priorities. You can’t find a good work-life balance until you choose what comes first. If you are a follower of Christ, then it’s no surprise that you should put Him first in every decision. The next priority should be your spouse and children, then proper self-care and finally, your work. When you prioritize, you intentionally choose who and what you focus on.
- Quit speeding through life. Are you trying to do too much, too quickly? Dr. Richard Swenson, the author of “In Search of Balance,” puts it this way: “Watch the speed limit.” Dr. Swenson says that while the workplace values speed because it increases productivity, speed has the opposite effect at home. “Families don’t thrive on speed and productivity,” he says, “but rather, on love and communication.”
- Tone down the tech. In 2015, photographer Eric Pickersgill photographed couples and families without their phones or tablets, but with a twist. Pickersgill took away their electronics and then asked people to stare at the space where their phones or tablets would be. The photos provide a sobering look at how we allow our technology to take the place of loving interaction. Maybe, if we’re looking for work-life balance, it’s OK to put down the phone and make eye contact with our spouse.
- Learn that there’s more to life than deadlines. In her Forbes magazine article, “Your Marriage or Your Job?” couples’ therapist Erika Boissiere encourages busy people to appreciate the here and now. “Every day, simply ask yourself this question, ‘What did I do today to connect with my partner?’ ” Boissiere answers the question this way: “If you come up short, you need to put a bit more effort in.”
We’re all busy. We all have demands on our time and abilities. But for the health of your marriage, it’s important to work toward balance. A healthy work-life balance doesn’t “just happen.” It means being intentional about your time. Make a commitment to your spouse and keep your marriage a priority.