No doubt about it, work can be hard and demand more out of you than you ever imagined. Keeping your marriage healthy and vibrant can prove to be a serious challenge. But in the same way guilt can be the constant companion of the working mother, inadequacy and anxiety shadows the working wife. These twin evils can break a woman down.
Reaching the end of my own rope, a friend of mine once spoke to me about how she was at her wits end and in frustration had confided to another Christian friend about the state of her marriage. Her CEO husband was seldom around and she was tired of feeling like a single parent in a one sided relationship. Her friend asked her some simple questions. Do you believe God spoke to your husband and told him to take this route? Do you believe God’s blessing is on this business? If so then stop nagging him and start supporting him. You are trying to make him choose between you and God. That conversation changed her marriage and mine.
Seeing as God sees
That story helped me change my attitude towards both my own work and that of my husband. Realizing we had both heard from God and obeying is so critical to living a fulfilled life. I realized I was guilty of not supporting his God given calling and mine too. So after repenting I relooked at our lives and recognised that I was constantly nagging him about what he was missing due to his demanding job. I channeled that energy into looking for ways to help him miss out less. We find that many couples are not on the same page in this very important area (let alone in the same library). This is a pity. The bible says a wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1 NLT). If you focus on areas of disagreement, that is all you will see and you will never agree.
Carrying each others burdens
The nature of both our jobs means periods of inactivity followed by franticness on steroids. If either of us needs to work late the other joins them, if possible, so that we do not go at it alone. Sometimes this support is as simple as my husband sleeping on the coach near me, instead of in our room, while I work late into the night. In this way we carry each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2). We have an established list of places to work from late at night in our city. We work from these locations when we need a change in scenery and good coffee.
Supporting each other has been an enormous blessing on our family. Monkey see monkey do. Your children do what they see not what you say they should do. We post updates on Facebook and our family Whatsapp groups on what is happening in the family, wherever they happen to be – from what Mom is cooking for supper to the toddlers wearing Mommy’s lipstick. This makes us all feel that little bit closer because we are sharing life together.
Like a seed planted in the right soil marriage flourishes and thrives in the right environment. This goes for inside and outside the home. We make a deliberate practice of surrounding ourselves with people who are a few years ahead of us from a career perspective and have great marriages. Their lessons help us navigate difficult terrain and their continued commitment to each other encourages us to do the same. Coupled with unashamedly speaking life into our marriage, attending each other’s work functions and verbalised encouragement, this has become of particular importance for countering our everyday work environment where infidelity, fornication, divorce and unhappiness are normal.
God is all knowing and we are not. When we accept this we open ourselves to learning from Him and others. Every year we read at least one book on marriage and/or attend a marriage seminar. I am a particular fan of marriage seminars. They can be really fun when your marriage is in a good place but also an opportunity for reconciliation and healing when it is not. My husband subscribes to a number of marriage blogs and forwards me posts that he thinks I will find useful or funny but also those that trigger a discussion on a particular aspect of marriage we have not yet bedded down. As frequently as we can we agree on one or two recommendations to implement in our marriage.
Families that pray together stay together
I asked an older lady in our church the secret to her 50 plus years of happy marriage. The answer – prayer. She prays with her husband every morning. I was challenged. I do not pray with my husband every day however we do pray together, worship together and discuss the bible together. I also pray for my marriage regularly (I dedicate a particular week day to praying for specific areas like each child, ministry areas, my walk with God, etc). In addition I have a friend who prays for my marriage once a week and I do the same for hers. My husband and I both work in financial services but on different ends of the spectrum. Our worlds cross occasionally. However through regular discussion and keeping abreast with what the other is doing we are able to assist each other when these events do occur or there are tough times at work and pray more focused prayers. But what if we are not in the same profession or industry? I recently watched a man who is an accountant wax lyrical about his wife’s abilities to run nurseries to a prospective parent. That could only come from a place of deep interest forged by their love they have for one another.
This is far from an exhaustive list and there are so many other wonderful and important ways to reinforce your marriage. Fun, romance and spontaneity are just a few, also see Songs of Solomon for ideas. We pray for a long and happy relationships that bless God’s heart.
How have you work-proofed your marriage? Leave comments and recommendations below.
About the Author
Jolly is the Founder and CEO of Mokorosi Financial Consulting, in the recent past she was acting CEO of the Municipal Councillors Pension Fund. She has a passion for members’ rights in the pension fund industry and a desire to see women shine in the business arena. She is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she resides with the husband of her youth, Sam. Together they have five children, a grandchild and several pot plants.