Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

May 2013

6 Essential Tips For A Lasting Dual-Career Marriage

Dual-career marriages – where both husband and wife pursue their chosen professions – are common in Singapore. But for these couples, maintaining a harmonious relationship at the same time can prove to be extra challenging. SingaporeBrides lists six tips and tricks to boost this juggling act.

Decades ago, a dual-career marriage was inconceivable. Instead, the man went out to work while the wife stayed home to tend to the house and children. And together, they would raise a family on the single income. It was simply the way things were. How times have changed.

Today, such dual-career marriages are the societal norm. In fact, the percentage of married couples that are drawing a dual income is steadily increasing in Singapore. From just 41 per cent in 2000, the figure rose to nearly 50 per cent in 2010 [Source]. The figure is only expected to increase, as more married couples seek to attain a greater level of economic security in a land of rising living costs.

Depending on how you look at it, a dual-career marriage can be a blessing or a curse. For career-minded Singaporeans, such an arrangement allows both spouses to pursue possibilities in their chosen professions. As they strive to succeed in their respective fields, they can have the opportunity to achieve personal self-worth and satisfaction. And with both husband and wife both drawing an income, the family will get to enjoy more financial benefits… that goes towards household expenses, children’s education and that condominium in District 10.

But these perks come at a price. Dual-career couples have to struggle with the challenges of supporting each other’s career development while juggling housekeeping, childcare and personal relationships. But it is possible to have a good career and a healthy, happy marriage. We show you six ways to achieve that balance.

TIP #1: DISCUSS EXPECTATIONS EARLY

destination pre wedding photography androids in bootsLove in Unexpected Places with AndroidsinBoots’ Pre-Wedding Photography

Unsaid expectations can lead to miscommunication and disappointments in a marriage. If you are in a dual-career marriage, open up about what you expect from each other, from daily routines to date nights. For instance, do you need your partner to SMS you throughout the day even though he is at work? Or, do you expect him to get off work at six sharp to have dinner with you?

Ideally, you should discuss and align your expectations as newlyweds – so you skip the squabbles as much as possible. Make sure you raise these expectations calmly, and work together to come up with solutions for them. Like scheduling weekly dinner dates on Friday, when both of you are more likely to get off work on time. By clarifying these things upfront, you are consciously considering how to live with and love each other – while juggling a high-powered career on the side.

TIP #2: SCHEDULE TOGETHER TIME

Rebecca and Wei Nien Rabeang Psak Tree House Chiangmai 26Rebecca and Wei Nien’s Rabeang Pasak Tree House Adventure in Chiangmai by The Peeping Thom Photography

Singaporeans are stressed and overworked. In a September 2012 survey by online job portal JobsCentral [Source], sixty per cent of respondents stay in the office for at least an hour after work hours at least three days a week. One in three bring their work home to complete, 22 per cent have worked from home while on sick leave and close to one-fifth worked while on holiday. As work becomes top priority, it can be a real challenge to manage a marriage well.

Try carving out pockets of time from your hectic schedules. For instance, wake up earlier for a quick breakfast together before going separate ways to work. Or, spend 15 minutes before bedtime to have a chat about your day. The trick is to consciously schedule time for your spouse, just like how you would schedule a business meeting. Most importantly, understand that the quality – not quantity – of the time spent together matters most. So, stow that BlackBerry away during dinners or conversations.

TIP #3: BE FLEXIBLE

Dramatic Coastal Engagement Session in Cape Town 16Dramatic Coastal Pre-Wedding Photography at Cape Town by John Lim Photography

Let’s face it: Sometimes, it is simply not possible to follow a thoughtfully defined schedule to spend time together. If his boss suddenly asks for a sales presentation at 5.30pm, he can hardly get off work at 6pm to check out that new Japanese restaurant with you. This is when a give-and-take attitude has to come in.

As a married couple, it is crucial to be understanding of each other’s work demands. For instance, if he is in a demanding industry where it is common to pull all-nighters, you can’t expect him to slip away from work when his colleagues are all rushing a project. So, be flexible. When it is not possible to dine together, why not pack his favourite sandwiches and drop it off at his office instead? Such a considerate and understanding gesture will show that you truly care.

TIP #4: OUTSOURCE DOMESTIC CHORES

engagement photography pre wedding photography couple pose ideaAudrie and Eugene’s Dreamy Pre-Wedding Shoot by Smittenpixels Photography

The division of household chores is a major issue of contention for many dual-career couples. According to the 2007 World Values Survey by the Pew Research Center, women tend to take on the lion’s share of chores – even when they also work outside of the home. This unfair situation creates feelings of overload, stress and resentment, and eventually leads to marital conflict.

To not run the risk of putting your marriage in jeopardy, consider outsourcing domestic chores if you can afford it. Even engaging part-time domestic help can significantly reduce the level of stress the both of you face after coming home from work. This also means that you will have more quality time to spend with each other (read: you’re not mopping floors together).

TIP #5: SHOW APPRECIATION

Retro 1950s Engagement Session Styled Shoot Universal Studios Singapore 4Retro 1950s Engagement Session Styled Shoot at Universal Studios Singapore by AndroidsinBoots

Here’s one of the best-kept secrets of a happy, healthy marriage: Saying thank you. As a dual-career couple, both of you are already burning the oil all day at work. After coming home, you will need that extra bit of recognition from the love of the your life.

So, within the confines of the home, show appreciation whenever each other do something nice. For instance, if he does the laundry or prepare a home-cooked dinner, thank him for it. These may be simple examples, but showing such gratitude and appreciation can go a long way in keeping your relationship healthy.

TIP #6: CHEER EACH OTHER ON

Rustic Garden Wedding at Conrad Centennial Singapore 10Cassandra and Timothy’s Garden Affair at Conrad Centennial Singapore by YTSHOOTS by Yiting Khoo

Marriage is a tag team. For a dual-career couple, it is even more so. So, try reinforcing that sense of oneness with each other. As the both of you struggle to push forth in your respective careers, cheer each other on. If you know that he’s been slaving away at work for a business pitch, ask about it regularly to show that you’re up-to-date – and care about – his career goals.

Another way to do this is to encourage each other by talking about some small, achievable hopes. For instance, say “Let’s get through this hellish week together, and maybe go see that new movie on Saturday.” When you are always supportive of each other though thick and thin, it will definitely improve your marriage.


Credits: Feature Image from MAAD About You by The Peeping Thom Photography.