The Great Balancing Act:
Profession And Marriage

by Carwin Dover, Professional Business Coach

The odds are in a disproportionate favor that you will be married during your life time. The odds are also in a disproportionate favor that you will have a profession during your life time. And guess what? The odds are in a disproportionate favor that you will do both at the same time during your life time. If you have succumbed to the odds, the following will be of interest to you!

What Does Your Present "Great Balancing Act" Look Like?

  • Family Business with Both Spouses Actively Involved

  • Family business with one spouse active, the other "silent" with an unrelated salaried profession to help make ends meet.

  • Family business with one spouse active, the other "silent" with unsalaried profession of "stay at home Mom."

  • Both spouses with salaried professions unrelated to the other.

  • One spouse with salaried profession, one spouse unsalaried profession.

Consider A Few Definitions Of Words Or Terms
Which Will Be Used Before We Start:

Balance: Think in terms of a dynamic process rather than a rigid stance. Examples include skiing, bicycle riding, and cooking.

Profession: A "public declaration" of what you believe and of who you are and of what you do. Your profession may or may not include a salary and thus includes stay at home Moms, volunteers, and "silent," hard working partners in a family business.

Believe this and your Great Balancing Act can be fluid, rewarding and peaceful. Your marriage can work. Your marriage is vital to your profession. Your profession can enhance your marriage.

Your marriage can not only work -- it can help you live longer and can be an asset to your profession. The basis for the comment, "Your marriage can work," comes from my understanding of "two become one" when marriage occurs. In the interest of space, I won't elaborate here. If you are interested in a further explanation from me, contact me at the address noted below.

Marriage vs. Divorce: What Do Studies Show?

A great deal of research has been done in the area of marriage. There are numerous studies available noting the effects of divorce vs. marriage on people. Here are a couple of sound bites taken from David B. Larson, M.D., James P. Swyers, M.A., and Susan S. Larson, M.A.T. research-based seminar, "The Costly Consequences of Divorce." Additional information may be obtained from the National Institute for Health care Research by calling 301.231.7711

"The married have a (health) advantage at every period of life, particularly prior to age 45... Among males 20-44 the death rate for the married is only about half that for the single, and an even smaller fraction of that for the widowed or divorced."

" is men who appear to reap the most physical health benefits from marriage and suffer the greatest health consequences when they divorce."

"Five years after a divorce, the average man's total household income had grown by 14 percent, while the average divorce woman's total household income had shrunk to 71 percent of the pre-divorce level."

"A major reason for the disparities in post-divorce income between men and women, is that many men are often failing to pay child support to their ex-wives."

My interpretation from these sound bites is that staying married and making the marriage beneficial can pay unknown benefits to both husband and wife. Men tend to benefit more than women in physical health by staying married. Women tend to benefit more than men in economic health by staying married. It seems like there is good motivation available for both parties to find ways to forward their marriage from just these two observations.

Spend time reading and listening to ways to grow your marriage rather than ways to get out of it!

Your Marriage Is Vital To Your Profession

Healthy marriages do not appear to be important to your profession until your marriage becomes unhealthy or ends in divorce. Just ask yourself how well your present profession would thrive should you go through the process of a divorce.

If you own a business, could it survive if the assets were divided in half and your spouse's half were taken from the business? Most businesses do not survive such a "hit." Even if your spouse is a "silent partner" or is not even listed as a partner, your business may not survive the divorce court ruling for dividing the marriage assets. Maintaining a healthy marriage allows you to never consider turning over your business to an impartial judge!

If you are a "stay at home Mom," would your children continue to receive the amount of care from you as they do now? The statistics say, "No!" Children do not do well during and after a divorce. They find themselves traveling from one house to the other, meeting strangers their Mom and/or Dad have decided are the new love of their life, and dealing with parents who still continue to fight. Finding the value in your marriage allows you to avoid the complexities caused by changing the status of your relationship.

Bottom line -- taking the time and energy to develop your marriage in the same way you develop your profession has great hidden benefits.

Three Ways Your Profession Can Enhance Your Marriage:

1. Use your professional strengths in your marriage relationship.

What makes you good in your profession? Organization? Leadership? Commitment? Creativity? Flexibility? Generosity? Communication? Perseverance? Attention to detail?

If your spouse were a customer, how would you use your strengths to develop the relationship? Would you have more patience? Would you be more interested? Would you be more communicative?

Often, very successful professionals find themselves feeling very inadequate in their marital relationship. Consider the outrageous possibility that you are very adequate. Now, show your stuff!

2. Use your professional opportunities to spend time together.

If you are in a salaried profession, you have opportunities for travel. You may have company business, professional education or sometimes, a bonus pleasure trip. Include your spouse occasionally and take an extra day to check out the city you just spent three days sitting in a windowless meeting room!

If you are in an unsalaried profession, you also have opportunities to include your spouse. Kids love to have both parents at the school Christmas program! The scouts love to find out about your spouse. Chaperone a class trip or school dance together sometime. The experience has a high possibility of bringing the two of you together!

3. Use your professional experience to vitalize closeness.

Your professional experiences help build your character. Share your experiences from a perspective of, "Guess what I learned today, honey?" Take time to reflect on what you are learning and communicate your experiences to your spouse.

Both you and your spouse will find your sharing is no longer whining and feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, you will both be eager to spend time together to find out how each of you have grown in your recent experiences and how you can use your experiences for the future.

In conclusion, assume you can do the Great Balancing Act! With such an assumption, you will find yourself seeking ways to make it work. Include a Personal Coach who will forward you in your marital relationship and in your profession.

The value of a healthy marriage cannot be measured in monetary terms, yet, if it fails, you will discover the costs are economic, physical and mental to each spouse, child and profession. The choice of forwarding your profession and your marriage creates a momentum which enables the Great Balancing Act to thrive beyond your wildest dreams! Take action today.

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