What is the key factor in maintaining a healthy work/life balance? If you are a business women and you are married the answer is very likely the quality of your marriage. I conducted a recent survey of business professionals and 7 out of 10 women indicated that work/life balance is often a big concern or constantly a big concern. Of those women, marriage was almost always seen as a major factor in this equation. Not surprisingly, fewer men indicated concern about work/life balance, even though many would like to improve their marriage.
In a recent interview, Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, talked about the fact that women are still significantly under-represented in top-levels of leadership. Sandberg suggested that one of the key factors is inequality of responsibilities at home. She further suggested that women play a role in this by holding onto and insisting on playing traditional feminine roles, and that we as a society have little sympathy for men who are stay-at-home dads. So there are deeply ingrained attitudes that make it difficult for men and women to find a happy balance in the home, and consequently harmony between work and life demands.
If you are married and have a demanding career it is critical that you keep your marriage stable and happy. If you do, it will be your secure base where you can get supported and re-energized. If your marriage is unhappy or has become short on intimacy and fulfillment, it will run you down over time. We need to learn how to negotiate a balance of responsibilities from a place of love, honesty, and mutual respect. But how do you do that?
I have spent the last 20 years, among other things, working with couples and searching for the most effective methods for helping people find happiness in marriage. The best approaches have only a few things in common: Addressing core fears, understanding primary human needs, seeing patterns, doing what creates more loving feelings, and avoiding behaviors that hurt your partner. I have synthesized what I think are the best approaches and boiled them down to four key decisions:
- Decide to raise the bar and make marriage a top priority
- Decide to stop the cycles of hurtful behaviors
- Decide to meet each other’s most important needs
- Decide to commit to partnership – negotiate from a safe and loving place
Of course all of these are easier said than done. When you make a commitment to these decisions, however, you realize you need do whatever it takes. That is why is created my online course, “Re-imagine Marriage: The Heart of Work-Life Balance”, to provide the information, support, and structure you need for the journey. The content of this course will make for great date night conversations so I hope you start now. I look forward to being your guide.