When marriage partners are on different work and sleep schedules, their marriage can be adversely affected. Spouses may not get to spend enough time together. One spouse may have to do many things alone. Resentment, loneliness and distance between partners can develop. Here are some suggestions to lessen the effect of shift work on relationships.
1. Take advantage of the time off from your schedule. When you do have time that intersects with your wife's or husband’s time, make that quality time. Make an effort to watch the same television show. Go out for lunch. Exercise together. Go to church together. If you have 3 days off in a row, consider a mini vacation.
2. Share schedule information. Don’t surprise your partner with your schedule. He or she deserves to know when to expect you to be at home. This is important information with regarding to planning family events and appointments.
3. Pull your weight. It is hard to have a productive day after you have worked all night. You will have to make an effort to use your daytime hours well. Keep up with your end of household repairs, cleaning, and errands. It is not fair for your spouse or partner to handle everything.
4. Keep in Contact. Make time to call home from work. Just keeping a connection via phone or email can make a big difference in maintaining your relationship.
5. Get some rest. Let your spouse know that you need at least one day after working several shifts in a row to recover. Family events and household projects will be accomplished on the other day or days off.
6. Rendezvous. If you have time on your lunch hour, meet your partner for a quick meal or just time to talk alone.
7. Make couple friendships. If you work at night, it might be nice to have a friend who works the same hours. Your wife or husband might be able to bond with your friend’s wife or husband. This can reduce loneliness.
8. Go together on errands. Get out of the house together. Even shopping together will provide you a shared experience. If you like each other, doing errands together will make the mundane more fun. Make use of your time to accomplish both errands and quality time.
9. Plan romantic date nights. Date nights are good for every couple. It is healthy to have something to look forward to. Furthermore, a date is a setting in which you just focus on each other. Try seeing a play or a movie. Dinner out will have you sitting across from each other and talking. Try not to spend your whole time talking about work or the kids.
10. Help with the Kids. As with chores, you do not want to leave child rearing all on your partner. Take the kids out and give your wife or husband a break. Some schedules put the mornings and bedtime on just one spouse. This can be very tiresome and your partner might come to resent doing all the hard work.
These are just ten ideas to help your marriage survive shift work. The main idea is to be considerate, helpful, and keep the lines of communication open.