Balancing a Marriage and a Night Shift Job

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Long work hours including night shifts can put a strain on marriages and family life. While the financial benefits may be great, quality time with your partner will be affected unless you can use all your resources to keep the lines of communication open and continue to build the intimacy and quality of your relationship.

Communicate Regularly

With modern technology, you can connect with anyone virtually anywhere and anytime. Therefore, you being at work through the night does not necessitate being out of touch with your partner. The extent to which you can engage in phone messages, Facebook or video calls will of course be dependent on your particular type of work. However, these methods can come in quite handy in discussing your partner’s day and even giving a virtual “goodnight” kiss.

Manage Off-Work Time

Make the most of your non-working hours when your spouse and children are at work. Run your errands and do the chores that can be done. Try to get enough rest at these times so that when your family becomes free you can maximize the time you have with them before you have to go back to work. In this way, every moment you spend together will be quality time.

Plan Romantic Day Dates

Set aside special date time at least once weekly. These intimate moments together can strengthen your marriage by keeping things new and interesting, facilitating communication, solidifying your commitment and reducing the buildup of stress, suggest researchers from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Though one or both of you work nights, a daytime date on a weekday or weekend can still have the same positive effects as "date nights." Schedule this time and keep it sacred. Activities on date day can include brunch or lunch dates, hikes and nature walks, or sporting activities such as swimming or cycling.

Maximize Intimacy

Take every opportunity to show affection and promote intimacy in your marriage. A long kiss goodbye can set the mood for the rest of the day and have you longing to see your spouse again. Spend time cuddling in bed when you are both home at the same time. Leave little love notes, compliment your partner and do the things that you know would be appreciated. When your partner is satisfied and feels appreciated, you will too, notes family and human development specialist, James P. Marshall, Ph.D.