Dr. Ray Angelini
Business Coach and Author
Dr. Ray Angelini is a Career Coach in Saratoga Springs, New York. Dr. Angelini has been working with people in transition or in life choice dilemmas for over 20 years and brings a realistic perspective that everyone can benefit from. He is frequently seen on Capital News 9 Station out of Albany speaking on life balance issues and has a daily newspaper column in the The Saratogian.
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In the past two decades, we have experienced dramatic changes in the
way we view careers and relationships. I believe that the greatest
challenge for most couples has been how to balance the demands of
career and relationships in order to achieve a fulfilling and
economically viable life. During the 1950”s, the typical family
consisted of a father who worked full time and was the sole wage
earner, a stay-at-home mom, and 2.3 children. Today, less than 3
percent of American households fit this profile. Fully 80% of U.S.
households consist of dual-earner couples. As most of us are aware,
balancing the demands of two hectic careers, children, and trying to
stay connected can be very challenging for even the best and strongest
However, dual-career relationships can survive,
and even thrive, if they are willing to learn and implement techniques
for balancing the demands of work and family life. Dual-career couples
are more likely to be successful if they develop ad practice effective
strategies for dealing with the inevitable stress and challenges they
will encounter. The following are some strategies I have found to be
effective in working with dual-career couples: Communicate early and
Good communication in relationships has become almost
cliché, but it is still nonetheless an essential ingredient and
critical skill for successful dual-career couples. Good communication
is comprised of several components. First. It is essential to confront
the potential pitfalls inherent in being a dual-career couple in an
honest and open manner and to have realistic expectations of what the
lifestyle will involve. Secondly, it is critical to reserve time
together and talk to each other frequently in order to plan and
coordinate family responsibilities and schedules. Finally, it is
critical to be able to express thoughts and feelings and to work
through the invariable misunderstandings and miscommunications that
Support each other’s career and personal goals.
your partner’s career and personal goals means taking them as seriously
as your own. This often means making sacrifices in terms of your own
career goals as well as learning as much as you can about your
partner’s career field so that you can be in a better position to help
Be flexible in your roles.
couples cannot afford to be rigid in their gender roles. In dual-career
couples, there is often a lack of an official support person to provide
the necessary nurturing and emotional support. Many of the dual-career
couples that I work with lament, “I need a wife!” Dual-career couples
need to be flexible and to be willing to switch roles back and forth in
order to accommodate both careers. Paying bills, preparing meals, or
maintaining vehicles are just a few examples of activities that can,
and often must shift for the family to function effectively.
Nurture yourself and your partner.
old adage, “If you work hard, you have to play hard” is especially true
for dual-career couples. Taking time to unwind and relax, making time
for friends and family, health and fitness, and individual interests
are all critical in this area. All of these things can provided needed
relief from the daily grind and ideally should be enjoyed in equal
balance both alone and together.
Have a strong support system.
your career and social activities, it is best to seek out those people
who understand and support your lifestyle. You may find that some
people may be jealous or resentful of your lifestyle. You would be wise
to avoid spending too much time with people in this category, as they
are likely to drain your energy and become more part of the problem,
rather than the solution.
Get professional help when you need it.
compromise, and flexibility are not skills that come naturally to many.
If you and your partner are struggling to make your dual-career
relationship flourish, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlisting the
help of a skilled therapist or relationship coach can prove to be
invaluable, especially if their services are sought early on before
problematic patterns become too deeply ingrained.
Focus on the positive.
easy to bemoan the difficulties inherent in balancing the demands of
careers and relationships, however, as in anything in life, it is
critical to accentuate the positive. Dual-career couples can bond in
ways that non-dual career couples often can’t. Higher income and
greater amounts of social support can also contribute to greater
satisfaction with the dual-career lifestyle, so there is quite a bit to
be grateful for. While the challenges are certainly daunting, in the
end, the teamwork and shared sacrificing involved in being a
dual-career couple can serve to make your relationship stronger and
more fulfilling if you work at it and allow it to flourish.
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