Participating in Each Other's Work
Work is a key piece of our lives. Through work we do two things: we provide for our family and we use our God given talents to glorify Him and bring value to the life of others.
We are incredibly social beings. One of the great struggles of both married persons and single persons is the struggle with loneliness. We long to be a part of community.
I am thankful to have a job that cares about my well being as a person, as well as about the work I do for them, or my productivity. They were caring enough to pay for my move when they transferred me to Michigan so that I could marry my wife.
One of the differences I’ve experienced is that my current office has much more of a family atmosphere. Many of the employees have grown up together and known each other for well over 15 years.
That level of bond has formed the atmosphere of a family in the office. Each employee is keenly interested in the lives of the others. They are each others best friend, Godparents to each other’s children, and best friends. They invite active participation from spouses as well.
The advantage to this is two-fold. First, my wife is able to feel as if she is participating in my work. She is able to swing by the office, or come to a team cookout. When I share a story, she knows the players and understands the context. Second, it reinforces that my wife is an important part of who I am as an employee.
My wife, being in medical school, does not have that same opportunity to share her work with me. Certainly there are stories, but I don’t know the players. I’m unfamiliar with their faces and personalities. I don’t know what her world “looks like.” There are no med school get-togethers or after-hours mixers.
Context is so important in communication. What’s important is that you are both able to share your experiences at work. We need our spouses to be sounding boards. It is gossip if you complain to another employee about a problem. It’s a part of your mental processing of an event or situation if you share that same complaint with your spouse.
Whether you are the bread winner, you both work, or you stay home and tend to the family, your spouse’s success is totally reliant upon your support. With your wife on your side, there is nothing you can’t do!
Be an active participant in your wife’s work. Listen to her feelings and the events of her day. Show empathy and offer support and suggestions. Above all, make sure that the advice you give is sound, so that she might benefit from your wise counsel.