Lawyers in love: How to balance work and relationships
As a lawyer, you are at most times busy and stressed, so how do you ensure you are committing enough energy to your significant other outside of the office? Here are some tips on how to keep your relationship healthy.
Just like you keep a calendar for client meetings, depositions and paperwork, you need to make it a priority to schedule time for your significant other. Save at least one spot per week that you can dedicate fully to your significant other. Use this time to go to lunch, dinner, a movie, take a walk in the park, or just hang out at a coffee shop and catch up.
Have young children at home? Try to schedule a time when the kids are at school or when you can leave them with a relative or babysitter. If you have trouble finding a sitter or if you do not have any relatives in town, try websites such as care.com, where you can find a trusted babysitter.
If you use this time with your partner wisely, you will see that your relationship will benefit in a good way. You will feel closer and more in tune with each other’s expectations and needs.
One more thing. When spending time with your spouse or significant other, make sure you leave work at the office and the kids at home. This is your time to talk to each other about your lives with no interruptions.
Every strong relationship is built on a solid communication platform. Be open with your partner about your emotions and stress levels. If you come home in a sour mood without any explanation of why you are upset, it will affect your home life. For example, say you had a bad day at the office and then you fought traffic for two hours on your commute home. A simple explanation when you walk in the door about why you are angry will go a long way. If you do not offer an explanation, your spouse might be wondering what he or she did to upset you, which, in turn, will create tension in both of you. Instead of slamming the door on your way in, refusing to talk, and hiding out in your room, try a simple: “Hi. I had a horrible day. I’m not upset with you. I just need a few minutes to cool down.” Always try to put your significant other’s feelings in mind, and remember that your actions can affect others.
Setting boundaries might sound like something meant more for your mother-in-law, but boundaries are crucial in every healthy relationship. Boundaries do not mean that you do not trust your spouse or that you are secretive. Couples set boundaries to understand each other better. Perhaps your partner does not feel comfortable going to every work-related event that you attend, and he or she has agreed to be present at only one event per month. This is a boundary. Maybe you like to golf when time allows. Communicate this with your partner so both of you can set parameters around how often and when you golf.
Remember that your spouse does not automatically know what you are comfortable with or without, so it is essential that you communicate these limits to each other. Respecting these set boundaries will help you and your partner be more at ease, which will only help your relationship.
Don’t think or plan. Just do. Sometimes the best events in life happen when they aren’t planned. Maybe your client canceled last minute or your court date was rescheduled. Use this opportunity to do something nice for your partner. How about a surprise visit to his or her office or last-minute tickets to the opera? Maybe your spouse has been hinting at a certain gadget he or she wants. Go out and get it! The options are endless. Being spontaneous at times helps keep your relationship alive…and healthy.
Relationships can be difficult, but if you follow these guidelines, you will be on the road to a healthier love life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or burned out and you feel it is affecting your relationship with your significant other, the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program can help. OLAP offers Ohio lawyers confidential treatment options. For more information, go to ohiolap.org or call (800) 348-4343 or (614) 586-0621.