It’s hard enough keeping your own work life and lifestyle aligned without factoring in another person. But that’s what every successful relationship needs: personal balance plus mutual understanding, equals harmony.
Easy to say, difficult to get it right. But it can be done, according to two leading relationship bloggers. Huff Post invited Naomi Lewis from The Naomi Narrative, and presenter Paul Thomas Bell, whose website deals with relationship advice, to discuss how exactly couples can get that balance right.
The good news, they say, is that the work life balance equation is being recognised by workplaces around the country.
The problem is, of course, that while work is designed to be managed, the other part of the equation – life – can prove to be a little tougher to handle. So how do we put work and play on an equal level? Over to you Naomi and Paul...
Problem: Work keeps getting in the way of intimacy.
Naomi: “A great deal of communication and understanding is important when two people lead different working lives, and ultimately, arrive home in different states of mind. Whatever you do, or rather don’t do, don’t forego on regular intimacy.”
Paul: “It’s very easy to tell people to plan a special night, make the effort, light the candles and so on, but sometimes the more attention you give a problem the more forced it feels and the less you can be bothered doing it. Do something spontaneous once in a while, and things you normally do together, do them by being physically close – hold hands, loving strokes, embrace.”
Lesson: Keep in touch. Literally.
Problem: One of you always has a crazy deadline to meet.
Paul: “In the case where one has a much more demanding job, the other needs to bear in mind their partner is working really hard and for both their benefits not just his/her own.”
Naomi: “If this pattern is wholly unavoidable, work with it. You can’t rely on spontaneity when you’ve got a busy schedule, so set aside at least one night a week where you spend quality time together – even if you can only spare a couple of hours, make that time special.”
Lesson: Relationships need work too.
Problem: One feels unappreciated for working too hard, other resents the idea they’re not pulling their weight.
Paul: “It’s all about being mature enough to recognise that just because your workload or the type of work you do differs – it doesn’t mean life is easier for one or the other. A relationship is a team effort, not a competition.”
Naomi: “There are plenty of things you do together as equals. Set the dinner table together, clear up together, watch a movie. Get rid of this idea that one of you is a ‘lesser’ worker and the other is the ‘harder’ worker. You’re both in this together.”
Lesson: Equal partners make successful relationships.
Problem: Balancing work and relationship is leaving no room for a social life.
Naomi: “If work takes over any aspect of your personal life, you haven’t struck the balance. Social activities help us relax and to shun them in favour of work commitments risks bringing stress into your sacred couple time.”
Paul: “I like to establish that we have our own individual lives, we have our life together, and then we have our work life. All three areas need equal attention.”
Lesson: Don’t neglect any part of your life.
Problem: Notifications keep interrupting couple time.
Paul: “If ignoring a phone call means missing out on a work gig, that’s not going to help anyone. If it’s urgent, make sure your partner gets why it’s important. But seriously, put your phone away, dim the lights and remind each other why you’re more than just roommates – the work request and the retweets will still be there when you’re finished.”
Naomi: “Agree on a time where devices are set aside, dinner onwards, or an 8pm cut-off point – the important thing is you both stick to it. Create a physical barrier between home and work by putting your laptop away or leaving your phone in another room. This gets rid of the social media intrusions too, meaning you can be in the right frame of mind to do what you’re meant to in the bedroom!”
Lesson: Log off, make love. And remember, stress can be an important factor in the bedroom; the NHS lists it as a factor for erectile dysfunction. So turn off that phone/laptop!
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