Spending quality time together is a challenge for any busy, working couple. Add in the stress of working different shifts and those challenges can become a nightmare. But while it's probably never going to be a fun thing to deal with, the right coping mechanisms can help ensure the greatest possible damage control and the least amount of stress on your lives and your relationship.
Look at your schedules to determine when the two of you have free time together. Write down when these moments take place, and agree to make them sacred times when both of you will keep your schedules as free as possible in order to spend that time together.
Make plans for enjoyable and meaningful activities that the two of you can do together. During these moments, get as much bonding as you can out of the time you have together so that you avoid feeling like any time is wasted.
Build new habits for electronic and written communication when you're not together. Stop relying on in-person communication with your spouse when it comes to sorting out logistical things such errands and reminders. Leave the time you have together for having fun, bonding emotionally and discussing your feelings.
Adjust the division of labor in your household. Accommodate what can and can't be done during day or night hours. If one of you has more free time during night hours, schedule chore lists to make that person more responsible for household duties that can be done at any time.
Plan to have some “bed time” together when you're not sleeping. If possible, overlap your sleeping schedules partially, or be willing to spend a little time in bed with your partner when she's going to bed or getting up, even if it's not time for you to be in bed.
Make an effort to be physically close during day activities, such as cuddling on the couch while watching TV. This will help you get the most out of your limited time together.
Be proactive about scheduling time to socialize with friends. Let your shared friends know what your weekly schedule looks like and encourage them to accommodate your limitations by scheduling more events in large groups. When possible, schedule time with the friends the two of you don't share for when your partner is working.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images