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Do you work-talk with your spouse?

Categories: Balancing Act, Relationships & Marriage

6 comments

Over the weekend a few of my husband’s colleagues came over for dinner. (I have to just take a minute and brag, in the most unashamed way possible, about the rockin’ dinner menu I pulled off. It included my wrapping a large piece of salmon in dozens of lemon slices and bay leaves, tying it with kitchen twine and grilling it in a fish basket — absolutely none of which I’d done before. You’ve got to give it a shot - here’s the slideshow on how to do it.)

OK, back to the actual topic of this post. So we’re sitting around and talking after the delicious dinner (promise, last mention of that), and one of the guys mentions this big project they’d just finished. I knew that my husband was working more than usual, but besides that, had no specifics on what was going on with this big client deal and I said this much to his colleague. He was really surprised and that’s when we got to talking about work-talk with your spouse.

I’m not sure when we started doing this, but my husband and I don’t talk too much about our work at home. Sure, when something is going on or is particularly stressful or exciting, we share it. But we don’t really do a daily “here’s how my day at work went” download for each other and it’s not uncommon for him to not know many details about what I am working on or vice versa. We both have pretty intense jobs and find that when we come home, not talking about them and instead, focusing on other, more fun and lighthearted stuff — like say, playing Zingo with our daughter or eating random stuff for dinner while standing in the kitchen and drinking some wine — is much more relaxing than talking about our work.

But I know that many of our friends deal with work stress in the complete opposite way: By talking about it to each other, often in excrutiating detail. They get it off their chest and it helps them get over it. I get it, but it doesn’t work for me.

In thinking back to how surprised my husband’s colleague was that I didn’t know about this big project they were working on, I wondered if my lack of knowledge came off as a lack of caring. It’s not. Not talking about work at home (most of the time) is just something that works for us.

What about you? Do you work-talk with your spouse or partner?



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6 comments so far...

  • We talk about it a little. I think I talk about my work more than he talks about his. I know that if I want to know about the very interesting/gross cases he has at work (he’s an ER doctor) I have to wait until we go to dinner with other doctors. Then the “gloves” come off and they all exchange stories. But in general we talk about more personal stuff. Then again, we don’t see one another all that often or have time to engage in extensive conversations–he works nights and I work days and our overlap is often only between 6 and 9 pm or 2 and 5 am.

    spacegeek  |  June 17th, 2009 at 10:06 am

  • Ugh. My husband loves to talk about his work. I don’t. His OR mine! Sometimes I feel like such a b***h b/c I don’t really keep track of his current projects, and it might hurt his feelings a little. For me it’s kind of cultural - I was raised in a country & family where you didn’t really talk about yourself unless someone repeatedly asked you. It was kind of considered bad manners - like bragging. Maybe there’s a bit of that in the back of my brain that makes me dislike work talk at home.

    DianeR  |  June 17th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

  • We talk about his work. He’s in IT and gets to trouble shoot and talk with people all day, and I like to hear stories about who he saw or what he did. I learn about computers that way. My job is so boring when he asks about it, I just change the subject. With a career change for me, maybe someday it’ll be mutual.

    Colleen  |  June 18th, 2009 at 7:44 am

  • My husband and I talk about work all the time. We always have. It might be because we met in graduate school and were colleagues for several years. But even after I changed careers, we continue to talk about work all the time. In fact, sometimes we even schedule “work lunches” to discuss specific problems that have cropped up. While it occasionally drives me insane, for the most part I think it’s brought us closer as a couple. Work is such a huge part of both of our lives-I can’t imagine not knowing all about it!

    Delia Lloyd  |  June 18th, 2009 at 10:39 am

  • My husband and I work in the same field for the same company. We have to put limits on the work talk some nights. He’s worse about it than I am.

    Hillary  |  June 18th, 2009 at 10:43 am

  • Talking about work with your spouse is okay to certain extent, but all my husband talks about is work. Sometimes I feel like he is more interested in his career than me. It wasn’t always this way, but ever since he was promoted to VP of Sales, the talk doesnt stop. Then while I was at Mommy & Me this morning, some of the moms were talking about this hilarious YOU TUbe video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iURGJpoEcn0 ,
    When I got home and watched it, I practically peed myself and thought - maybe I’d get a reaction out of my uninvolved, career obsessed husband if I presented the idea that the mom in this video does. LOVE this! Wish I could send this video to every mom in America…I am obsessed.

    Renae  |  June 19th, 2009 at 11:55 am

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