Many of us find ourselves putting in tons of hours in the office or picking up extra jobs to make ends meet. Unfortunately, this can cause your relationship to suffer. When most of your hours are spent at work and you come home grumpy and too tired to engage or spend time with your partner, it’s only a matter of time before conflict becomes more frequent. Resentment builds and you can lose the close connection you have with each other.
Recognizing red flags and body language from your partner can help you readjust your priorities and behaviors at work before they damage your partner’s trust and affection. I have listed five of the most frequent and damaging behaviors involving work that can damage your marriage.
1. You prioritize your work over your relationship. If you find yourself canceling time with your partner to spend more time at work, that’s a red flag for your relationship. You need to develop a balance between your work and home life.
2. You come home too drained and exhausted to spend time with your partner. Coming home should be the highlight of your day. Healthy couples get re-charged when they come home and enjoy engaging with their partner. If you find yourself retreating to the couch while your partner is busy with the kids or doing all the chores, you are encouraging resentment and anger in your marriage.
3. You have nothing to talk about but work. When work becomes your whole life, it begins taking the place of your shared vision together. Your partner doesn’t go to work with you, so when you talk about work all the time, your spouse begins to feel invisible. Work is important to our personal development and for financial security, but your marriage is your foundation of everything. Jobs are replaceable; spouses and children are not. You need to create a life together and make firm boundaries to protect it from work.
4. You enjoy spending more time with your work spouse than your partner. It may seem totally innocent but when you begin discussing intimate topics with your work spouse, it’s easy to cross a line that betrays your marriage. Keep work at work and come home to talk to your partner about intimate details and topics.
5. You project work stress onto your partner and conflict escalates at home. If you’re working too much, exhaustion creates stress. When you come home that stress doesn’t go away; instead, it often gets acted out on your spouse. If you find you’re becoming irritated and unkind to your partner, it’s a good idea to talk to them about it and explain what you’re feeling. Apologize when you take stress out on them and find a healthier way to de-stress before you come home. Increased conflict in your relationship is often due to prioritizing work duties over each other.
Your work is important, but it should never be more important than your marriage. If your partner begins to resent your work, that’s a red flag that they feel like an option instead of a priority. Take time to create marriage boundaries the two of you value.