Women are undertaking significant positions in the workplace and are increasingly entering fields previously dominated by men – such as the hotel industry, as executives in multinational companies, in the police and even flying aircrafts – and they continue to work after marriage. Nowadays women are looking for a scope to express themselves in the workplace and want to utilize their formal education to explore their capacity beyond the traditional role of a wife and mother. And this is a venture that husbands and wives must face together because the couple where both spouses pursue their career is here to stay.
Couples who work have more in common. They enjoy having a spouse with whom they can share the challenges and frustrations at the workplace. Moreover, till you both don´t become your own people, you will have nothing left to attract the other with. Closeness only comes when you have done other things with your life, apart from your relationship.
Both men and women enjoy a higher self-respect because of their chosen lifestyle. Work outside the home provides both men and women with a sense of achievement.
The family has greater opportunities from a financial point of view, as there is a potential for more disposable income. This provides the family the opportunity to upgrade their lifestyle.
There is always the risk of getting caught up in their respective career at the expense of the marriage.
Given the time assigned to their professional lives, a question facing these couples is whether or not to have children as it is quite a task to spend quality time with each other, let alone distribute that time with one or more offspring. If a couple does decide to have children, the timing has to be exact. Starting a family at an early stage in one´s career can have a negative impact on professional life and if the couple waits for too long to achieve career satisfaction, age can be a problem where raising a child is concerned.
The division of household duties can pose a problem. Even were both spouses work, on an average, women perform 90% of the household chores. It seems men who have been raised in traditional homes struggle with a more equal distribution of household obligations, and thus the entire load falls on the woman. Complains Mita: “Even thought both of us have to leave the house around the same time for work, my husband still expects me to make and serve him bed-tea and breakfast! This behavior, when we have capable servants is so frustrating. It’s as though my work doesn’t count or I don’t get tired!”
Gitanjali enjoys life, loves her career and her family – and tries to give each equal attention. But there are days when a board meeting coincides with her daughter´s school PTA meeting, when the plumbing at home just has to be got done and the car simply must be given for servicing. Then there is that looming deadline on her latest assignment. And the fact is that she doesn´t want to cut in on anything. If she compromises on any one, there is always a nagging feeling of guilt.
Men are adjusting to the fact that they are no longer the sole provider; their wives may equal their financial contributions to the family as well as their career accomplishments. In a society that still defines masculinity in terms of achievement, a percentage of husbands may feel a sense of deprivation in their new role.
HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY LIFE
Communication is the base of any relationship. In the fast-paced lifestyle, stress will develop quickly if both the spouses do not clarify their expectations at the beginning of the relationship. A good starting point for couples who want to strengthen their marriage is to spend some quality time sharing their ambition with each other wherein both express what work means to them – and how they should juggle work with their family life.
The challenge of maintaining a strong relationship lies in the understanding that life is lived on a day to day basis. It is the every day life that presents the greatest impediments. The test of their relationship will come in their ability to work through the realities of who drops the kids to school or pick them up after tuition and who gets the car if there is just one car. These decisions and divisions are all a matter of process. Plan reasonably, manage time realistically and communicate sincerely. Couples who value healthy relationships choose to exercise these abilities during the ordinary moments of their marriage rather than being forced to practice crisis intervention skills when things have gone astray!
There is no master blueprint to conquer the hurdles that face working couples. What works for one couple may not fundamentally work for another, although other people´s experiences offer some perceptive ideas. Couples who have managed this lifestyle successfully recognize the importance of keeping an open mind when it comes to generating solutions in improving their lifestyle. The ability to look at the given circumstances from different perspectives and to experiment with new ways of doing things is a basic quality among couples who want to balance work and family equitably.