We can’t place our jobs before our spouses and kids. Something must give–and it shouldn’t be the family.
Work is a necessary part of life, but like most things, there’s a delicate balance when managing our work hours and home life. If we aren’t intentional with how we manage our time, work will dictate our family life and frustrate, if not harm our marriage. Many of us wonder if balancing work and home life is just an elusive pipe dream and if it is possible to do both effectively.
I had lunch with some women not long ago asking themselves this question. One shared that she and her husband had recently moved their whole family across state lines to accept a more family-friendly job. At first, the job seemed to be everything she thought it would be. Her husband was home at a decent hour and could have dinner with the family most nights of the week. He only had to work on a Saturday now and then, instead of every weekend like in his previous job. So, she was hopeful that this new job would improve their family dynamic. However, within six months of starting the new position, her husband began staying later at the office and accepting more weekend work. Consequently, he would be exhausted when he came home, and many nights, he wouldn’t be home in time to see the kids before their bedtime.
Unfortunately, this couple found themselves in the same predicament as before, and this wife was more frustrated than ever. With tears in her eyes, she asked our group of friends to pray for things to change with her husband’s schedule and for him to see how much the family needs him right now.
…your family can do with less of a standard of living if it means having more time with you.
This woman is not alone in her frustration. So many families live like this and feel helpless to change things. Friends, we can’t place our jobs before our spouses and kids. Something must give–and it shouldn’t be the family. We must work to live, not live to work. There are seasons when our job can be more demanding, but we can’t ignore and neglect our family. We must find a way to complete our work so that we still have time to invest in our marriage and children. Our job can’t love us back, but our family can. They desperately need and deserve our love and presence.
5 Workplace Habits that Could Harm Your Marriage
If you are reading this and recognize that things are out of balance with your work and family life, self-assessing whether you might be working too much, is an excellent first step. Jobs and family situations will vary, but here are eight signs that you are working too much:
You frequently miss family dinners and activities so you can finish your work.
You usually deny your spouse a lunch date because you are too busy at work or opt to have a working lunch instead.
Most days, you choose to go out with your colleagues after work to “build work relationships” instead of going home to be with your family.
Whenever your boss asks you to stay late, work weekends, or take extra work home beyond your general job requirements, you say “yes.”
You rarely use vacation time to do something with your spouse and kids.
You have never made it clear to your boss that you prioritize your time with your family and aim to complete your work so that you can spend plenty of time with them.
You are often too exhausted to talk to your spouse and kids when you get home due to the extended work hours, and you feel like you can never get enough sleep.
You avoid going home promptly after work because home life feels awkward due to the lack of time you tend to spend at home.
3 Truths for Getting Through Hard Times
Friends, if you find that most of these characteristics are true for you, then be willing to do what it takes to reclaim the time with your spouse and kids that have been lost. You cannot continue to avoid your family and expect your home life and marriage to thrive. They need you! Sit down with your spouse and discuss what needs to change with your work schedule. Please write it down, and be open to making small and significant changes. It might take changing positions and sticking to a more family-friendly plan. It might even take taking a pay cut, but your family can do with less of a standard of living if it means having more time with you. Let your spouse know that you love them and want to invest in the family more than you have invested in your work. And then follow through with your actions. You can do this! Your family will improve by leaps and bounds because of it.
Be willing to do what it takes to reclaim the time with your spouse and kids that have been lost.