After taking the initial survey for pre-marital counseling, the therapist told my husband and I that we scored the highest combined stress levels she had ever seen. Unfortunately, it made sense. As a doctor in Emergency Medicine, while my husband serves on the front lines in the fire service, our schedules were ever-changing with unexpected obstacles. Not to mention, the chaotic, traumatic events that occurred on a regular basis. Talk about stress!
That said, from our first premarital session on, we vowed to always work hard at our marriage. We promised to make it a top priority, no matter how busy, stressful, or chaotic our lives (or jobs) would get. Luckily, from the get-go we were poured into by peers, mentors, and counselors with some of the best marriage advice we still lean on. And, despite our high stress occupations and lifestyle, we’ve remained dedicated to our marriage and each other for two and a half years. I know… it’s not 60 (yet) but 2.5 in this setting is still something to celebrate!
With a little intentionality, support, and guidance, it is possible for working couples to maintain a healthy marriage!
Benefits of a Healthy Marriage
You know what they say: happy wife, happy life. Maintaining a healthy and happy marriage is one of the most fulfilling opportunities for both husband and wife. More so, a healthy marriage has the power to benefit our own physical and mental health, while impacting that of others. These are the top benefits of a healthy marriage:
- Increased joy, happiness, and satisfaction
- Improved teamwork
- Stronger family unit
- Reduced stress
- Increased longevity
In fact, according to Harvard University, marriage has been associated with better physical health, like increased immune function, reduced risk of heart disease, and better eating habits.
Tips for a Healthy Marriage
Based on my own marital experiences and the professional guidance my husband and I have received over the years, these are the best tips for maintaining a healthy marriage- especially when both partners work high stress, busy jobs:
- Lead with Intention
Be intentional with your spouse. Don’t let the stereotypical “marital roles” hold you back. Be willing to pick up the slack when needed, even if that means doing extra chores one week. Bonus: consider leaving love notes on your spouse’s car or laptop. Share what you love most about them or what you’re looking forward to!
- Make Every Moment Count
Especially for working couples with chaotic schedules, it’s important to make use of every moment you have together. Even if it’s just an hour, put aside all technology and distractions, and simply enjoy spending time with one another. Go for a bike ride, grab a bowl of ice cream, enjoy snacks on the patio, or lounge on the couch together.
- Text All Day, Every Day
Ditch the “have a good day” mentality and learn to check in with your spouse throughout the day. With busy, or possibly completely opposite, schedules, texting might be your only form of communication for days on end. Practice using it! After all, in the hustle and bustle of life, if it’s not said in the moment, it’ll likely be forgotten a couple days later. Keep each other updated on your day-to-day!
- Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
It might seem overly basic, but planning ahead is a game-changer. Plan your off days together. You might even consider sharing a calendar. Personally, we use a dry erase calendar that’s hung in our laundry room and it’s worked wonders for our crazy schedules1
- Pursue Common Goals
In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of marriage (and one that is often forgotten about) is the pursuit of common goals and dreams. Talk about your dreams, like future plans for your family, retirement, vacations, etc. Not only is it fun, but it also serves as great bonding time on date night!
Note: There is no shame in seeking professional help. Marriage counseling can work wonders for struggling marriages or even those that need a little extra support. Psychology Today is a great resource to find marriage therapists in your area. Seek out help if/when you need it!
Even though my husband and I are both dedicated to our busy, and often stressful occupations, our marriage doesn’t have to suffer the consequences. If we can do it, so can you!
Photos by Amelia Brown