After I put the kids on the bus I look forward to my morning ritual. Coffee, newspaper & quiet. Now the Hartford Courant usually doesn't get my creative juices flowing very often, but this morning they had a small excerpt that caught me. The heading reads "Work Stress Can Strain a Marriage." Wow, really? Who knew? All sarcasm aside, this is something I deal with & I'm sure we all do. Work as taken over our lives and puts our marriages in a very fragile place.
Long ago there was a time where the work day ended at 5pm. 9-5 jobs have gone the wayside and more & more of us are in a position where our jobs fully consume us. Throw some kids in there and you are talking full on exhaustion. This obviously creates some tension. The Courant article states " Strong marriages take investment. Today, people work longer hours, make less time for their spouses & feel too tired for sex." HA! No kidding? There is no down time, ever. Weekends once reserved for family time & fun are now riddled with baseball games, recitals, birthday parties & random running around. Sunday night comes with that dreaded stomach ache and the thoughts of "where did the time go?" I see this more & more. Our relationships are on auto-pilot. This is a scary thing. When you forget about your actual connection with your partner eventually bad things creep in. Doubt, fear, resentment. All destructive things in a marriage. Most of us don't like to admit feeling this way toward the person we love, but we do. This doesn't make us bad people, you know. This makes us human.
Marriage is an amazingly difficult undertaking. The life-cycle is ever-changing & with each new day there is a new challenge. Our jobs & our children take first priority now. Our relationships are in the back seat and there comes a time where you need to move it back to shot gun. Surely it is not going to be bliss everyday but it is important to get back to that once in a while. I am guilty of taking out my own frustrations on my husband. Most of the time it has nothing to do with him. It is me & my own head-trash. What is lacking in many marriages is effective & honest communication. Bad or good..you have to talk. Like anything else, if you wait too long it's gonna blow. That fight you had over the laundry really has to do with other things you failed to address 2 weeks ago. We all do this. It is the most vulnerable thing you can do, to tell the truth.
Work has driven a wedge into even the most solid & stable of relationships. We all have something else we should be doing. Maybe if we turned off the laptop, ditched the iPhone & just talked things would be better. The house, the yard work, the bills will all still be there. I sometimes forget how nice it is to just spend time with my husband without worry. Have a few drinks & laugh. I love those times. You get a glimpse of your former self. Remember that fun, carefree & spontaneous person? It's still in you, you know. You just have to coax it out.
The pressure is all-consuming. The pressure of being a good, wife, husband, father, mother, provider & partner. We have to give ourselves a break and just breathe. Maybe recognize the good things instead of dwelling on the negative. Say thank you instead of criticizing. Perhaps we should work as hard on our relationships as we do in the workplace. Interesting thought.