Is your partner a police officer, first responder, attorney, doctor, pilot, or shift worker? Does he have a crazy, unpredictable schedule? It’s hard to have a happy marriage when you barely get to see your man. Researchers at the University of Maryland's Department of Sociology studied work schedules of married couples and found that divorce rates among couples with children were considerably higher when one partner worked late shifts. According to the study, when one partner worked between midnight and 8pm, divorce rates were as much as 6 times higher than couples that worked regular daytime hours.
This does not mean that you can’t have a happy marriage when your partner has a demanding job; it just makes things more challenging. With good communication and planning, you can enjoy the time you have with your partner and have a stronger and happier relationship.
How partners of busy dads can juggle it all. Here are a few tips.
Use the calendar: When your partner works a crazy schedule, it may be hard for him to make time for social events. You may feel like you are missing out because your partner may not be able to attend family get-togethers, school functions, or other things that are important to you. While he may not be able to go to every event with you, you can still go and have a good time, or if you can plan things out in advance, he may be able to request the time off. Prioritize what events are most important to you both and use the calendar to schedule out events. If he can’t go with you to something, bring your camera, take pictures, and share things with him to make him feel a part of things.
Schedule family time or mini vacations: You may not be able to have spontaneous time together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun family time. If he is very busy he may not have time to organize and plan, so help him out by putting it on the schedule for him. Keep a shared calendar that you both can refer to and schedule family time. It could be as simple as a Wednesday night movie together, but it will help you to reconnect and feel like there is some normalcy in your hectic life.
Have a plan for working late: If your partner has to work late or over his scheduled hours, have a plan for this. Communication is very important. If he is going to be late, ask him to call or text to let you know.
Schedule dates: Make time to be together and rekindle your relationship. Dates don’t have to mean leaving the house. The important thing is that you make time for each other.
Try to have meals together as often as possible: When your partner works evening shifts you may miss out on eating meals together as a family. If you can’t have dinner together, try cooking a nice breakfast or a Sunday afternoon lunch.
Get your rest: Make sure that you take care of yourself. Try not to get run down taking care of everyone. Try to eat balanced, healthy meals, and get some down time, as much as possible.
Stay busy: Find things to do. You don’t want to feel isolated, alone, or trapped in the house.
It’s okay to lean on him: If your partner works a stressful or demanding job, you may feel like you can’t add any additional stress to his life. It’s okay to lean on him, but you may not want to bombard him as soon as he gets home from work. If you wait until he has had time to unwind, he will be in a better mindset to listen to you.
Have a support system: You may find that it is difficult to find people that relate with you. Find a support group, JustMommies has message boards for Military Mommies, Public Saftey Families, and Stay at Home Moms. You can also find a church, mom’s group, or other support system.