Balancing Family and Work
Family-work balance is a complex issue that involves financial values, gender roles, career paths, time management and many other factors. Hidden values and models from our cultures, original families and other sources influence our choices in ways that we often don’t anticipate or understand and that have far-reaching consequences for our lives.
Like so many of the challenges and dilemmas of marriage, balancing family and work has no easy solution-no one-size-fits-all approach. Every person and couple will have their own preferences and needs.
Many couples tell us that they have seen the drawbacks of their parents attempting to ‘do it all’ and ending up very much over-extended. Still others hope to avoid the restrictions of roles and experiences that are too narrow or mismatched for them. Couples are struggling with the relative priorities of their values family involvement, career and material goals, personal growth and fulfillment.
The most important thing we can tell you about balance: Preparation, intentionality and joint decision-making are the key to creating and maintaining the right family-work balance for you. Many couples experience extremely strong forces pulling them away from the priority that they would like their family to have. If you don’t aggressively plan your balance, these other forces will prevail. Without a clear plan and commitment to maintaining balance, time and energy for family erodes and evaporates.
Family-work balance is a process, not a static achievement. It’s important to make the ‘big decisions’ – selecting careers and jobs, timing children, allocating roles and responsibilities, etc. that will provide the opportunity for balance. The real task of balance takes place on a weekly and daily basis, even from hour to hour. This is where couples hold the line to protect family time or allow it to evaporatewhere they opt to take advantage of a family opportunity or allow other priorities...