How Successful Women Can Balance Business Demands and a Thriving Marriage Without Burning Out

Sep 20, 2023 | First Person

By Susanne M. Alexander, relationship and marriage coach

You’ve probably figured out by now that it’s impossible for any woman (or person!) to do it all. When businesses, marriages and parenting run 24/7, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or to let important things slide. So, how do you prioritize?

1. Personal Well-Being – Yes, this is about self-care to an extent, but it’s not as easy as saying, “Just go to an exercise class” or “Go have a bubble bath.” Maintaining our well-being is complex, because it’s linked to factors like doing business well, having a healthy marriage and being a good parent. Part of the key is to look at what contributes to overall well-being.

2. Marriage As a Foundation for Work – When people are in a healthy marriage, they tend to be healthier and happier. When they are in that state, they are more likely to contribute to their work and companies:

“While traditionally the world of business and the world of marriage and family relationships have remained disconnected, it is clear they have a major impact on each other. Building marriage and family wellness improves a company’s overall financial health….” —“Marriage & Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business?” Life Innovations

3. Marriage As a Foundation for Parenting – There’s a lot of science now about children doing better with their health, schoolwork and life paths when they are living with married parents in a healthy relationship. Part of the prioritizing challenge for busy business people and a married couple is how to manage the demands of the children. Consider this:

“Children are natural and eager consumers of whatever time, attention and goods and services that parents will provide. It’s the job of parents to discern how much is enough, how much is too much and to enforce the difference.” (William J. Doherty, PhD, Take Back Your Marriage, p. 50) “Adjustments [to having a child]…are natural and inevitable. But there is a difference between adjusting your marriage to meet your children’s needs and losing your marriage to parenthood.” (ibid, p. 48) “The greater danger for most of us is to lose our marriage to the demands of parenthood rather than losing our kids to the demands of our marriage (although this happens sometimes in stepfamilies). In a two-parent family, we either fight to create and keep a marriage-centered family, in which the couple relationship is the stable fulcrum of the family and the couple together care for their children, or we become a child-centered family in which the marriage goes on the shelf.” (ibid, p. 59)

I often say to clients that their relationship comes first and then the kids, although I often see the opposite. If a child sees parents being affectionate, talking to one another with respect and solving challenges without arguing, it builds a strong foundation of security for the children. Respect and solving challenges well are also great contributors in the workplace.

4. Coherence – Some people compartmentalize each aspect of their lives, or at least they try. However, your personal, marriage and business well-being often thrive with a more coherent approach. This can mean:

  • collaborating with your family members to determine time choices and priorities
  • sharing your business challenges and getting input from those you love
  • seeking support from other parents instead of trying to be a Supermom

Living in burnout land ends up not contributing to the well-being of you as a person, a business leader and a marriage partner. Part of the key is recognizing that you aren’t alone. NAWBO is part of that support, too.


About the Author…

Susanne M. Alexander is a relationship and marriage coach and educator, leading her business Marriage Transformation® for 20 years. She is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of articles. She loves to work with singles, premarital couples and married clients globally over Zoom from her home office in Tennessee. Contact: [email protected].


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