From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Dual Career Marriage
Among the great challenges of the twentieth century is maintaining a dual-career
marriage. Families in which both spouses work and there are children to be raised know
that the greatest problem is shortage of time.
Phrases like... "Let's hurry up and relax" or "Let's spend some quality
time together for the next 20 minutes," are dead give-aways of the limit of the 24
hour day. But like all problems, great and small, this only invites our creative
imaginations to come up with clever solutions...provided we can stay awake long enough!
I offer the following recipe for a successful dual-career marriage:
- Begin each day with some discussion of that day's agenda. Difficult as it may be for
some of us to talk (let alone breathe!) in the morning, it is critical to communicate with
your spouse about the day's coming events. The day may be special or routine...but
touching base before the day begins fosters a sense of companionship even as you go your
- At day's end, recount your experiences together. Asking your spouse, "How did it
go?" and listening to the details invites a sharing of our jobs. It is important to
discuss our jobs, unload our burdens, and give each other support for our hard efforts.
Being a best friend to your spouse means providing empathy and a "sounding
board," as well as expressing appreciation for each other's toil.
- Decide your plans for the evening together. Time spent after hours should be planned
too. There are always household tasks that need to be done and responsibilities for the
children. But each evening should include some "couple" time as well. Often,
however, one spouse relaxes while the other does chores, and by the end of the evening, we
have one spouse who is bored and another who is resentful...neither of whom have shared
these feelings with the other.
- Every week deserves at least one date night. Regardless of how long we've been married,
how old our children are, how pitiful our finances or how active our social obligations,
there is nothing sexier than a couple's date night. Date nights are defined as time out
from the house and all of its encumbrances and time spent alone as a couple. NO ONE ELSE
ALLOWED! It is essential to schedule this time and a babysitter. What you do doesn't
matter. The important thing is to have fun!
- At day's end, relax together... go to sleep together. Work schedules often rob us of the
most intimate time of the day; but nothing can take the place of this important time to
relax and be loving together. Sleep is a time for renewal of strength and energy. Sharing
this time brings a couple closer together; not sharing this time often drives them apart.
It is often said that it takes a lot of effort to make a good friendship. The same is
true of marriage. But in a dual-career marriage there is the two-fold need for
understanding, encouragement, sharing, and communication...in order to make this
multi-faceted business and personal endeavor a success.
ęCopyright 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated August 30, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.