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Work/Life Balance - How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship


Work/Life Balance 

How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship

We hear the phrase Work/Life Balance all the time, it seems like.  But do you really know what it means or how to achieve it?  Most of us struggle to find the answer to this question.

But there are a few factors that can help:

  • Communication 
  • Priorities
  • Boundaries

As with most stuations in a relationship, the first step toward finding balance is communication.  Both people in the relationship must communicate their wants and needs with each other, so that they can make decisions that work for both of them.  One partner may feel it's important to have time together each evening, to talk and reconnect at the end of the day.  This may be the way that they feel loved and cared for.  Another person may need a few minutes alone when they first get home, so they can unwind and disconnect from work before engaging in family life.  Or both people may agree that they each need some individual time each evening.  Or it may be that one or both people want to make sure there's enough time and energy in the evenings for intimacy.  No matter what, this first step is key.

This communication is like laying all the cards on the table so that both people have all the information from which to make decisions.  Once everything is laid out, then additional discussion can take place to determine which things are most important.


One of the first things you have to discuss with your partner or spouse are your priorities.  This includes you own individual priorities and the priorities of both of you as a couple.  
Determine what things are most important to you and how much time and energy you want to devote to those things.

Some examples of priorities are agreements to have dinner together every night, or for both of you to be able to attend your children's sports or other activities.  For others it may be building a large nest egg at the beginning of the relationship, so they can sit back and enjoy later.  And for others it may be to advance as far as possible in their career, make partner at a law firm, or reach a certain income.

In my home, as empty nesters, my husband and I don't have to focus as much on ensuring that we set aside alone time with each other, as we had to do when the children were younger.  But, my husband does enjoy playing online multiplayer games with a group.  That group "meets" together online on certain nights each week, at a certain, to accomplish things within the online game.  I know that playing this game is a stress reliever for my husband.  So, we made an agreement that he could play the game on those nights, and those would be the evenings that I see clients.  But on the other nights and weekends, we agreed to reserve that time for each other.  This arrangement generally works for us.  However, on occasion, we agree to make changes, for example if one of us wants to go to lunch with a friend on a Saturday or my husband wants to play a little extra on the game one morning.

Once you've agreed upon your priorities, individually and as a couple, then you can put together a realistic picture of how to make that happen.


Once the priorities are established, then together you can develop boundaries in which to ensure those priorities are maintained.  They provide guidelines for how to respond to other things that may call for your time.  For example, if together you decide that having dinner together every night is a priority, then one person would not agree to regularly stay late at work, to work on a project.  They would inform their boss that because of prior commitments to their partner or spouse, they cannot commit to working after hours on a regular basis.  And while that may sound like it might be problematic for the boss, chances are, they will respect you for making priorities and keeping those commitments, and will work with the person to find ways to still get the work done.  Or one person would not agree to a weekly meeting, book club, or Bible Study on a night that had already been reserved for the two of them to spend together.

Of course there must be room for the occasional exception, because we can't be so rigid that life can't happen.  But we must be protective of the commitments we make to our partners or spouses.  The relationship should be our first priority and all other decisions should be based on ensuring the health of the relationship.  

Once you've address all three of these things and have boundaries around your commitments to each other, it makes other decisions so much easier to make.  You don't have to struggle every time a new opportunity arises, because you already have goal posts and boundaries in place.

However, as life changes, as you transition through new stages of life, it's prudent to reconvene from time to time, to re-evaluate the priorities and possibly set new boundaries, once that match the current stage of life you find yourself in.  As with my own that I mentioned above, that agreement didn't come into play until our children were grown and out of the house.  Prior that, we had a different set of agreements and boundaries that we worked within to keep balance at home.

If things are unstable or unbalanced at home, then there's no way you'll be able to maintain balance anywhere else.  It's just like when they tell you on the airplane to put your oxygen mask on before helping others.  You can't help anyone if you don't have enough oxygen.  You can pour into your relationship if your cup is empty.  So make sure things are in harmony and balance at home first, and everything else can work around that priority.

If you'd like to see previous blog posts on Fair Fighting Rules in Marriage, Couples Communication, Self-Esteem, or Anxiety, please click here.

If you'd like more direct and personal help with improving communication or balance in your relationship, please visit my website and schedule a free 15 minute consultation -

I provide online couples counseling throughout California, South Carolina, and Florida.

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