Pep-Talk Tuesday {Balancing Work and Play with Your Significant Other}

Someone sent me this little tidbit of a dilemma a few weeks ago and I've been patiently waiting (or rather, she's been patiently waiting) for me to address it. Said reader was hoping I could share my advice on merging my life and my husbands together since she correctly assumed that he works a 9 - 5 and I work a primarily demanding nights and weekends kind of gig. She's interested in hearing how I, and of course how all of you out there, handle the demands of irregular job schedules in a relationship. And I am so glad she asked :) Below are a few of the things I try to do to find balance between work and love.

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{Set Aside Date Nights} One thing Apb and I have tried to do (and I say tried because lately this has been a toughie to uphold) is set aside one day or night a week that is specifically devoted to date night or alone time for the both of us. We then both understand that come every Thursday evening, we've previously arranged to free our schedules of appointments or priorities because this is one night we have specifically set aside for the two of us. And date night doesn't have to mean getting dressed up and going to a fancy restaurant but it might mean turning off our laptops and cell phones and sitting on the couch together to watch our favorite show or a DVR-ed movie with a glass of wine. It's incredible how much this one night a week just being together without external distractions, can make a difference in allowing you to feel connected to your significant other. 

{Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder} Andrew and I spent two years of our engagement and the first four months of our marriage apart. And I don't mean apart like "Yo babe I'll see you this weekend" I mean like "Hey babe I'm over here in a different country, I'll see you in a few months when flights get cheaper" kind of thing. It was a brutal, lonely, frustrating and at times downright crappy time but it most of all made me realize how sure I was that at the end of the tunnel was our metaphorical light for happily ever after. I'm not saying to suck it up if you and your significant other do have irregular work schedules but rather than feel defeated, instead embrace your own individual lives so that when you do find time to do things together, it'll be that much sweeter. I know when I spend a few days away from Apb handling my responsibilities and him managing his, I get really giddy just thinking of how excited I am to spend time with him again; whenever that may be.

{Be The Partner You Want to Be With} Wait a sec Rhi, wha? I know that sounds way too confusing. But let me explain because this little piece of advice is for anyone in a relationship regardless of when and if you or your spouse work at all. Too often people get into a long term relationship or marriage to find that things get a little too comfortable and you no longer find it necessary to do things you may have done in the beginning stages of the relationship. It could be caring less about your physical appearance, forgetting to leave love notes on the counter, texting less "just because I love yous," but essentially sometimes we put in less effort in our relationships while still having the same expectations of our partner. Irregular work schedules are common and at times inevitable, so rather than feel upset over your given circumstances, embracing the love you have for your partner and being the best version of yourself for them is a sure fire way to get the most out of your relationship.


Let's hear it blogettes; your tricks and tips for merging work schedules with your significant other!

31 Lovely Comments:

Natalie {Bayside Bride} said...

I love every post you do! You truly take the time to put thought & care into everything and it truly shows! This post is no exception.. Great advice and I have found that Date Nights are such a special way to keep a romance going amidst the craziness of daily life!

Morgan said...

Long story short my boyfriend and I met at an out of town (for both of us) marathon expo. The next 8 months were spent sending each other texts, emails, surprises in the mail, deliveries at work, etc... And an ungodly amount of time on the phone. We visited each other as often as we could and made it a priority to have one special "date night" for each visit. Last May I made the move from Florida to Michigan for us to be together. We continue to make it a point to have one big "date night" a month. We also make it a point to spend quality time when we can during the week whether it's watching a movie on the couch together or taking a walk to dinner. He also works out of town up to three days every other week and our initial long distance relationship helped make it bearable while I was still adjusting to the move. He leaves me notes around the house and I leave him notes in his luggage. I honestly think having that LDR made our relationship stronger and more in tune to the little things when the little things were all we had for so long.

This, like so many others, was a great post. This is the first time I've really thought to comment though (I'm not engaged... yet.), although I've been a long time lurker. I absolutely LOVE your site and hope to enlist your help with my future wedding plans someday. :)

luxe + lillies said...

I've found that my blog, work, etc. absolutely consumes me. So- I started getting up when he does, and stopping work when he comes home. I'm trying to learn you can't be all things to all people, and sometimes, yes, it might take a few days to sift through your emails, etc... and that's ok, because like everyone else, this is a job too- not my whole life.

For my sanity and his, I try my very best to shut my computer at night!

SC said...

My fiance has a manager position at a local resturaunt and I have a 9-5 job. Our schedules are very often opposite and we find ourselves spending our "off" days apart.
It has been extremely hard on our relashionship since when we first met/started dating and up until we got engaged, I had worked for him and he made my schedule fit perfectly with his :) Recently we sat down and decided we had to make more time for each other. I meet him at work whenever he gets off early enough to have a drink and just chat about our days. On days when he is off and I am at work, he gets everything he needs to do out of the way so that when I get home we can make dinner together or go to a movie! We send caring texts and call each other throughout the day to catch up. We even recently joined a soccer team together to get some social time in while still being able to enjoy each others company.

I strongly believe you can make your relashionship work if you really love and care for the other person. As hard as it is to be away from each other, it feels that much better when you are finally reunited :)

bijouxbride said...

As a newly-wed, new blogger and full-time career girl your post is just what I needed! I've been finding it hard to make time for 'us' but now will take your brilliant advice and put it to good use :) Thank you for sharing!

lolly said...

Such great advice and it is all so essential to maintaining a balanced, loving relationship!

I especially think it's key to always have your own individual life as well as your life with your spouse. Having your own interests and doing things with your friends or on your own is so important! In the beginning, A and I made the mistake of always having to be together as we spent the first six months or so of our relationship long distance. The minute we were able to see each other on a regular basis, we took advantage of it. To the point that it was not healthy! It's been a struggle to find the balance still since we live and work together. But we'll find it eventually!

It's great that you two are able to manage so well for the most part. Certainly inspiring!

Nikki said...

Great tips. I would say communicate, communicate, communicate. And eat dinner together, or even cook together if possible.

Marcie said...

Lovely post! These are great "to do steps." I did a post on marriage maintenance today and this is the perfect compliment to it.

xo Marcie

Nicole said...

Love this! You always have great tips!

The Loveliest Day said...

Great tips, Rhi! I struggle with finding this balance every day.

Kirby said...

Finally! ha! Thanks for your tips. T's schedule is all over the place so it's hard for us to pick one certain night for a date night of sorts, but we'll have to try this. We used to do this a while back but we would go out for dinner and drinks, and it just go too expensive. AND we dated long distance too, the entire time we dated. me in NYC and him in Wisconsin. so I totally get that part of things. this morning he took me to work and it's just little things like that that make a difference, ya know? like if you were to pick up lunch and bring it to him one day. what a treat!

you're seriously the best!
xo
Kirby

Brooke said...

I love these posts! You always give the best advice :)

Julie {love, julie} said...

this is wonderful advice! Not cancelling date nights is a huge tip. its so easy to just think, oh well, I can move that dinner/movie/event.

Miss K said...

great post, i think all of them are great ideas!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

You are such a wise lady! It is so easy to take our partner-the most significant person to us-for granted! We are starting to do more date nights and I'm proud to say that we still push each other in a good way (to be better people and partners)

Darling, forgive me? I've been meaning to write back forever and work has been kicking my behind. I will soon though!

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

la petite coquine said...

This is such wonderful advice-I love it! Since I'm the one that works a 9-5 (or 6, or 7) and John is going to school, I've made a rule that I don't do any work-whether it's work work or blog work-once I get home at night. John deserves to have me really there with him, and even though it can be tempting to "just finish up this post!" or "just reply to this email", it's just not as important as spending time with my sweetheart!

THE ALTERNATIVE WIFE said...

Fabulous post! I so agree. So funny how you, me and Marcie are on the same page today :)

xoxo

Shana said...

I like your last point that we need to be the spouse we would want to be with ( is that how you worded it? I think I have read to many blogs today my mind is feeling a bit blurry!) It is so easy to get comfortable in a relationship and forget to do those little things that you did in the beginning. I have a little chalkboard on the fridge and try to leave Dave a little message every day. Usually it isn't please pick up your clothes...usually...

Thank you again for your advice posts. They are my favourite.

jacin {lovely little details} said...

this is so true - my biggest thing lately has been to shut down the social media - shut down the computer, and turn off the phone. there was life before twitter, and there will be life after facebook {insert post i've been working on about this very same topic to come very soon!}.
too many times we get bustled in our computers while hubby watches TV alone - that just breaks my heart and i can't let it happen any more :) there is a balance - you just have to look deep inside to find it and make it happen :)

Tamara Nicole said...

Great tips! We swaer by date nights, and non text/email/internet nights. Also making dinner together almost every night is sooo much fun.

It's hard with schedules, but pretty much just make time and effort to show you are truly thinking about them:-)

Great post Rhi!

Megan said...

Perfect advice, Rhi!! I definitely agree with the still doing sweet things!

natasha {schue love} said...

Such great advice! I think it's all about making the other a priority! :) Date night is a wonderful idea!

LB said...

I love this. My boyfriend and I have completely different schedules and the only time we have the same is weekends and we are usually doing something with a group of people which leave for little alone time. I think having a "date night" for the two of us every week would help so much! Thanks!

Laura *You Stir Me* said...

I have a different perspective on this since the hubby and I actually work together in the same office. We commute to and from work together so I see him all the time. It sounds great but I've realized I cherish the time I spend on my blog, alone on my computer at night...that being said, I still need to shut down the computer (and my blogging mind) and make sure I spend time with him, whether it's walking to the grocery store to get food for dinner or watching Game of Thorns with him (love that show!!!) every Sunday night. No matter what your work schedule/life is like, it's so important to make those intimate connections whenever possible!

Nicole-Lynn said...

I totally agree all of these!

The once a week date nights is definitely something the hubs and I do too! Sometimes we do two date nights -- one low key one at Barnes & Noble, and another "nicer" out on the town type of date night. We often have the more low key date nights though and they're just as wonderful :)

I couldn't agree more with being the partner you want to be with and to not take eachother for granted. So true! I try to remind my husband in little ways everyday that I love him! Lately (since we got married) since I come home from work before him, I like to greet him at the door when he comes home and say "Welcome home, honey" it makes him feel special and I enjoy it too. :)

Nicole-Lynn said...

p.s. I was reading through these comments after the fact, and I couldn't agree more with Natalie -- the first comment. You definitely put a lot of time and thought into your posts and it shows! Loved this one especially! :)

Petite Voyageur said...

this is so lovely and romantic

Petite Voyageur said...

this is so lovely and romantic

Petite Voyageur said...

this is so lovely and romantic

lifesmirrorimages said...

I work and I work A LOT. Ihave a full time job 8-5, which is good for the part my husband works 8-4 Monday-Friday. I'm also a part-time to full-time (depending on the time of year)photographer and if I'm not shooting, I'm editing, ordering, delivering prints and cds, etc. I make sure I have lunch with my husband 3 days week (family the other two)and we text each other I love yous or our plans for later that night. I have a calendar so up so he knows when I'm available and when I'm not. As soon as a shoot is over, we hang out chatting, playing board games, or working out together and then I get to work editing,etc. On my off days, we go out on his boat and fish or we kayak or hike. At the end of the night, no matter how busy the day was, we cuddle on the couch and fall asleep in each other's arms, every night. Friday nights we keep free to go out to dinner alone or with friends. Every couple of months, I take an entire weekend off to travel with him, even if we are just traveling 30 minutes away. The most important thing is communication. Love notes, love texts, hugs and kisses when we are together. It just works.

Char said...

Great topic! My hubby and I work very different schedules. Our whole year of engagement we were on completely opposite schedules, so we literally never saw each other until our days off matched up, which happened only once during an entire summer period. We made that time together worth it. It can be hard at times and frustrating and even make you want to cry (I know I have!) but like you said, it is worth it when you do see each other.