The 5-7 minute rule of talking about work with your spouse:
In countless counseling sessions, I’ve heard partners share their struggles with the “work conversations” when getting home after a long day. In the workplace setting, there are conflicts, crises, and criticism which takes an emotional toll.
Naturally, a spouse might want to share their work struggles with the partner because they have a safe marriage. But the problem is that the spouse hearing the lament is powerless to do anything about it. He or she can’t help with the issues and there can only be so much “listening” and “empathy” one can give. And usually, the listener doesn’t have an outlet to share the burden or pain.
All marriage partners need allies–friends, peers, support groups–to confide in so that the marriage doesn’t become the only place to share work struggles.
We’ve tried to have a 5-7 minute “talk about work” rule in our home in order to keep it minimal. Typically, the conversation might happen while we’re making dinner together and then there’s a transition of “Enough about my work…how was your day?”
We want to be a safe space for each other and not burden the other with work issues. Instead, focus on decompressing, having some confidants (preferably a therapist, coach, pastor, or trusted friend) to talk with, and using the evening to fill each other’s love tank.