Managing Your Time Between Work, School, and Marriage

(4-6 minute read)


A few weeks ago, I was talking with my cousin’s 8-year-old daughter about what we were each learning in school. During our conversation, she looked at the fancy ring on my left hand, fourth finger and asked, “Are you married?” An affirming, “mmmhmmm, I sure am,” was my reply. Shocked she asked, “You can be married when you’re still going to school???”

Her innocent surprise made me wonder, how do so many people handle marriage during school and work? Life is busy and there is a lot to manage as a student.

Little did my cousin know, you can be married, go to school, AND have a job – all at the same time! What?? Really?? Yes! It is a lot to do, but it can be done! I’m sure you see several people around you somehow managing that life and wonder how they do it? Well, good news, this post is just for you. Here are some important steps to helping you manage time between work, school, and your spouse.

1: Determine Your Priorities

You wear many hats, but which role is the most important right now? I remember back in high school, being reminded by coaches that we were student athletes. Being a good student was more important than (and a part of) being a good athlete.

Is being a spouse your most important priority? (Hint, hint: being a spouse before anything else, is the best for your marriage). After that, is your role as a student or an employee the most important? What comes after that? For me, I am a married student who is working at Cache Valley Counseling. When I focus on keeping my roles in that order, it helps me to remember that my marriage comes first, school comes second, and work comes after those.

2: Prioritize Your Marriage (Then Your Other Priorities)

Live up to what you’ve prioritized. If marriage is your priority, show it. Have time that you can spend with your spouse. Even if it is giving 10 minutes each day to listen to your spouse when they get home, taking a shower together, eating a bowl of cereal together before heading off to work, taking the dog on a walk together. You don’t have time to give your spouse all your attention for 24 hours a day, but make you have quality time set aside for your marriage.

In this video, a college professor gives his take on how to prioritize so that you can get accomplish the big things and the little things.

In the video, the professor teaches the importance of getting your priorities (aka the big rocks) in order. Once those big rocks are in place, you have the smaller ones, then eventually the sand that almost falls into place when the other larger pieces are in order. As said in the video, “Take care of your priorities, the rest is just pebbles and sand.”

Use these “10 Best Pieces of Marriage Advice” to find more ways to prioritize your marriage.

3: Make A Schedule

Schedules are a way to put those big rocks in place and help the pebbles and sand settle in around it. Your schedule will help you know how you can prioritize what’s important and get done what you need to.

For me, my work and school schedules are some “big rocks” that have definite. I put those into my schedule. Now that those set items are in your schedule, start at the top of your priority list and schedule when you can get things other things done. To do this, I would add in quality time when my spouse and I can talk and spend time together. Then, I look at my list of homework for the week and fit that in where I can so I can finish homework before it is due. Then, if there’s something I needed to do for work, I find a day and time that that can work. The rest, like friend time, walking the dog, and checking social media are the pebbles and sand that fall into place.

You don’t have to make a schedule the same way I do, but, do make a schedule. Getting organized and utilizing task management skills will help you create the time you need for you marriage and still accomplish what you need and want to get done.

4: Follow Through

At times, you may want to just ditch your schedule and “Netflix and chill,” for the rest of the evening, or maybe even the rest of the week. Or maybe you need to go on a walk to refresh your brain. Make sure you give yourself that time in your schedule, or breaks, so you can take those without feeling like you’re not keeping to the schedule.

Overall, stick to your priorities. If marriage is your priority and you had time planned with your spouse, spend that time with your spouse. If you planned on getting homework done, get your homework done.

5: Say “No” When You Need To

Not everything can fit into your schedule. If there is something you are invited to, but it doesn’t fit with your priorities and schedule, then don’t do it. Remember, you’ve prioritized what is most important to you. If it is difficult saying no, practice in the mirror. You can be honest about why you’re saying no, tell them “I really want to help; however, I know that I don’t have the time for it right now.”

By not saying no, you allow yourself to get to the point that you have too much going on. That point can bring feelings like being overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, irritability, etc.

6: Give Your Spouse The Time They Need

Your spouse loves you and wants to be with you. Why else would they have married you? Even if the time is short, find meaningful ways to spend time with your spouse.

Do they love having someone to talk to? Then talk to them. You could even do the dishes together too to get in that couple time. Find quality time to be together. Serve each other. Tell them how much you appreciate them.

Determining your priorities, making a schedule, and giving your spouse the time you need with help you run your busy life. and In the end by managing your own life (marriage, work, and school), you are able to run your life instead of letting your life run you.

For help on exploring understanding your spouse’s specific needs, read here:
Why Meeting Emotional Needs is Just as Important as Good Communication