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Ways To Support Your Husband When He Works Overtime

 

Does your husband have a job that requires overtime work? Here are 8 ways to support your husband and keep your marriage strong during stressful seasons.

 

My husband has been leaving for work a little early and coming home later than usual for several weeks. These few extra hours are only the beginning, but they have not come as a surprise. I’ve actually known for a couple years that this season was coming.

This time last year, I was dreading the inevitable. I resented the fact that my husband’s job would eventually require a lot of overtime. I didn’t want to give up so much of him.

Thankfully, over the last several months, God has changed my heart! I know that the next year is going to stretch all of us. Probably to the breaking point at times. We’re going to need a lot of God’s good grace and the support of many friends.

What I’ve realized is that this time won’t just be hard on me and the kids. It’s also going to challenge him. I have no question that he’ll still be here for us. I also recognize that my parenting and homemaking burden is going to become greater. I don’t want my extra requirements to lead to neglect of my husband. I want to support my husband in the work that God has given him at this time.

My hope is that sharing these ideas will encourage you to support your husband when you find yourself in a similar situation.

 

Ways To Support Your Husband When He Works Overtime

 

Pray for him.

 

Not just in my prayer time or as I think of it throughout the day, but in front of the kids. I want them to know that God is in control of this time. That I want God to help daddy do the best job he can at the work God has given him right now. That God will take care of all of us when daddy has to spend so much more time than usual at work.

 

Show an interest in his work.

 

His work may not be my world, but I still want to care about what he’s spending so much time on. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but my husband loves his job! He’s excited about the projects he gets to work on and likes to talk about them. I can ask questions, listen to stories and explanations, and be enthusiastic about victories. I can make time to take the kids on field trips to see the progress.

 

Cultivate a pleasant spirit.

 

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Proverbs 21:19

 

No one likes to be around a negative person! This is going to be a tough time for all of us. I can make the burden a little lighter by maintaining joy. It will be easier on some days than others, and it will only be possible as I rest in God’s plan and rely on His sustaining grace. This will come through on my face when he walks in the door, in my tone of voice when he calls to say he’ll miss bedtime again, and in my general demeanor when the kids are pushing the limits more than I’d like.

 

Provide adequate nutrition.

 

A body (and mind) that’s working extra hard needs extra fuel. I want to plan ahead so I can:

  • prepare nutritious breakfasts
  • supply energizing snacks (No Bake Whole Food Protein Balls and GF Chia Seed Crackers are some of his favorites)
  • pack hearty lunches (and call or send a text mid-day to remind him to eat!)
  • check on water intake
  • minimize sugars (but still include fun treats on occasion)

 

Encourage exercise.

 

Overtime hours and impending deadlines are stressful and exhausting (even when you love your job). Physical exercise is a great way to relieve some of that pressure. H. enjoys running and handles stress better when he is able to do that regularly. I can encourage him to keep this up since he tends to let it go when he’s already out of the house a lot.

 

Include him in daily activities.

 

The kids and I are going to miss him when he has to put in extra time in the shop. He’s going to miss us too!  I can include him in some of the daily goings on by:

  • emailing pictures
  • texting funny conversations
  • letting the kids call when they’re excited about something
  • telling him what’s planned
  • asking his opinion on our activities
  • putting pictures and notes in his lunchbox
  • stopping to say ‘hi’ when we’re out on errands

 

Make time for dates.

 

It may seem like there isn’t enough time for one-on-one dating when work takes up so many hours. But our relationship is still a priority. Our weekly date nights may have to be re-worked. I may need to take more initiative to arrange for times out together. When he has to leave extra early, I can get up and eat breakfast with him.  I can arrange to meet him for lunch. Maybe we can get out together on a Sunday afternoon. Time for just the two of us will still be important.

 

Be available for intimacy.

 

This is another area that’s tempting to ignore when days are long, nights are short and exhaustion is high. Even in busy, stressful seasons I can affirm and encourage my husband by making physical intimacy a priority. I may need to let some insignificant things go to preserve energy, but it will be worth it.

 

Have you weathered a season of overtime with your husband? Help me out! What did you do to support your husband and keep your marriage strong in the midst of it?

 

Shared at: Christian Marriage & MotherhoodNourishing JoyWifey WednesdayThriving ThursdayGrace & TruthTuesday Talk, Coffee and Conversation, Women With Intention, Thoughtful Thursday, Saturday Soiree and Fellowship Friday.


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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. I feel like I am just stuck in a cycle of resentment right now. Unfortunately I nagged quite a lot so anything I say now regarding his hours is just met with resistance. I feel like my heart is hardening each day. And it doesn’t help that often he doesn’t see “what the fuss is about”. I don’t feel like I can speak out anymore. He knows how I feel already – I need help. Lord help us. That’s what I need now, divine help.

    • I understand how hard it can be to have your husband working lots of overtime, Mai. My prayer is that you will be able to trust God to help you have a content, grateful spirit, willing to love and serve even when it’s not convenient for you. 1 Peter 5:6-11

  2. This is great, practical advice! We’ve experienced stress in our household recently because of my husband’s work schedule, along with an almost full class load since he’s going back to school. Just last night things came to a head, and I felt completely justified in venting how hard this is on me as a wife and mom. This was exactly what I needed to read today!

    • Hi, Marisa . . . added expectations and requirements on our husbands (either by their choice or demanded by an outside source) ARE hard on us as wives and moms. Adjusting to new schedules and accepting the additional demands it places on us as well isn’t easy. But God is ready to be our source of strength and wisdom in these seasons too. May He equip you to accept the challenges of your current situation graciously, understanding that He is working in and through you as you care for your family. Keep loving well, even when it squeezes you tighter than you want to be squeezed!

  3. I don’t have to worry about overtime too much, but he in a Master’s program at the moment so he might as well be working two jobs. I think the best thing is to make my schedule flexible so that I’m able to spend time with him as he is able. Your tips are great!

    • Oh, Lauren, I’m sure the work expected in the Master’s program takes him away from the family more either of you would like. Keeping your schedule flexible to enjoy his company when he is available is great. May God give you grace to keep a sweet spirit and love well during this time.

  4. What a great article! I think we get so focused on being a wife and mama, that sometimes we forget those little things that we can do make a big difference. I was just reading in 1Peter about wives submitting to their husbands. This is a great example of submission and honor to our spouse.

  5. What a great reminder of ways we can practically support our husbands when more is being demanded of them from work. We have personally been in this situation for the past few weeks and I haven’t been very deliberate in how I am responding. Thanks for the encouraging reminder of ways I can make this time easier instead of harder 🙂

    For more encouragement visit me at fieldoffireflies.com

    • Adjusting to an overtime schedule isn’t easy. Glad you found some encouragement here. I trust that God will give you the grace to meet this time with contentment for His current plan and kindness toward your husband

  6. I just found this article through Pinterest, but so God timing! My fiancé is a machinist and works for his family. We are also restoring a house, before we get married. This type of work is up and down, some months are super slow and most of the year, it’s slammed. Meaning he was just complaining to me last week that he goes to work for 15 hours, then is having a hard time keeping up with everything else. I stay with him and his parents during the week so I can get up early, make his lunch and help him and his parents with laundry, dishes, making meals etc. I’m disabled and have chronic back pain, but sometimes he is worth the sacrifice. I keep a joyful attitude and really try to encourage him. But, when it’s slow, then he worries about enough money for restorations. How do I help my fiancé who is a worry wort, besides praying for him. I’m also much stronger in my faith, do women tend to be more spiritual in the marriage? Trying to pick up better habits now, before marriages! Thanks for your blog! I enjoy it and have added it to my favorites!

    • Hi, Emily. So sorry it’s taken me so long to get a response to you. What a blessing that your fiancé is a diligent worker both at his “day job” and for you. You might try memorizing Scripture together. Maybe Philippians 4:19, Psalm 84:11, or 2 Corinthians 9:8-11. You could also start a journal together of ways you see God provide for or bless you. These can be small or large and don’t have to be material blessings. It will give you good material to review when things may start to look bleak; you will see God’s faithfulness in the past and be strengthened to trust Him for the future. Encourage your husband-to-be that you’re glad God has given him to you to be your leader. And pray for yourself too, that you would be willing to trust God through your husband’s leadership. He won’t always do things the way you might; be willing to let him lead and let him know you support him. He’s learning and will make mistakes. It’s okay – love and show grace. Many blessings as you prepare to glorify God together.

  7. “Show an interest in his work” is a tough one for me. I totally get the importance of asking about his day, but his job is so complicated that as soon as he starts going into detail I get completely lost LOL. My husband is such a hard worker and has been getting promotion after promotion. I am so proud of him but definitely know what you’re talking about when it comes to the hours he’s gone.
    Great points, I will definitely take them to heart!

    • I can understand that, Alice. Showing an interest will look different for everyone. It can be as simple as asking, “Is there something going on at work today that you want me to pray about?” Or offering to make cookies for him to take to a meeting. Or being specific in the “how was your day” category . . . questions like, “Did you get to answer all the emails you wanted to today?” or “What did you enjoy the most at work today?” or “Did you get some profitable things accomplished at your meeting?” Sometimes I even tell my husband, “I really don’t get how all that works, but I’m sure glad there are people like you who do and who enjoy it!” May God bless you as you support your diligent husband. 🙂

  8. i really needed this right now. my fiancé works a ton of overtime and since he’s on salary doesn’t get any extra pay for it. i feel like his job takes advantage of him sometimes and i get so frustrated that we just end up fighting because i get upset. i need a lot more grace and patience in my life. i just wish he would put as much effort into our relationship as he does his job.

    • So glad you found some encouragement here. Supporting those we love can be hard when it takes a toll on us. What a blessing to know that your boyfriend is a diligent worker. I pray that you will rely on Christ’s strength to help you to love well regardless of how well he reciprocates.

  9. Abi,
    I give you a high five and personally attest that the above suggestions are NEEDED to keep communication, intimacy, interest, passion and love in marriage when hubby is working a lot. This has been my experience for 12 years now. For 12 years my husband has worked 2 jobs. He works 7 days a week to enable me to be a homemaker. We are the parents of 5 children ages 12 and under. For the 1st 6 years of him working like that I pestered, prayed, nagged, prayed, begged, prayed, pleaded, prayed that the work situation would change so I could get some much needed help at home. But then God shifted my focus to stop pestering my husband about his work situation to how I could best serve him. While I continue to talk to the Lord about bringing balance to my family life, it is now a joy for me to do everything in my power to make life seamless for him. From his clothes hanging neatly in the closet, to nourishing lunches packed & dinner plate artfully arranged to sending encouraging txt throughout the day, I am committed to being that helpmate. Happy to visit you from Grace & Truth linkup

    • What a blessing to have a husband commited to working long and hard so you can work at home. Thank you for sharing your testimony of God changing your heart and perspective to embrace your role as helper with joy.

  10. Jennifer @ A Divine Encounter says:

    I needed this word, Abi, as my husband is now working an atypical schedule which often includes overtime. I sometimes struggle to know how to encourage him – and how to make time to support him when I’m so overwhelmed with picking up the slack at home. It helps to read your perspective and be reminded that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing this wisdom at Grace & Truth! This will be my feature at A Divine Encounter tomorrow. 🙂

    • I’m glad these words were a blessing to you, Jennifer. It is always encouraging to know that we are not the only ones working through any given situation. God is faithful; may He continue to strengthen your heart as He carries you through this time of extra burden.

  11. My husband is a government contractor, and our area was hit with a lot of snow this past winter. When his offices are closed because of the weather, he has to make up the hours, which can make him feel stressed out before Monday even starts because he knows that it will be a long week. I do call him during the day and put my son on the phone, and they talk, and I try to have dinner done when he gets home. We are a team, so all of what you suggested are GREAT ways to strengthen that team!

    • Yes, we definitely need to be working as a team, Lynne. Choices each individual makes will affect the strength of the team.

  12. Abi, these are great ideas. This is such an important topic because I think almost all husbands work overtime in some seasons of our lives. My husband works from home in full-time ministry, and it’s sometimes hard for him to leave off working in the evening. We do lots of evening visits, so it does get to be draining for both of us. These are great suggestions for me.

    • I’m sure you have lots of suggestions and encouragement for wives of those in ministry and/or work at home, Betsy. Those are two categories that each offer their own unique challenges! May God strengthen both you and your husband to serve Him and others graciously and selflessly.

  13. Ooh I could have written this post, and it is exactly what I needed to read right now! My husband just got a promotion that has him out of the house for at least 12 hours each day…it is temporary right now but looks to possibly become more permanent. And he loves it, this is what he has been going for, although the distance is further than he would have liked, hence the 12 hour days.

    I know my workload is going to be heavier, but so is his, and if my spirit isn’t right it will make it harder for the whole family. He also really likes to work out, so I need to remember to let him have that time instead of selfishly demanding that he neglect that aspect of his life. In fact, maybe I can get up earlier and work out with him a couple times a week–I sure need the exercise as well!

    Thank you so very much for sharing your heart and suggestions in this timely post!

    • Glad this encouraged you, Miranda. What a blessing that your husband does enjoy the job that is asking so much of him and you. May God give you the grace and strength to faithfully and cheerfully keep serving, supporting and loving even on the overwhelming days.

  14. These are all so important! My husbands work hours vary so much and we often have seasons of overtime. For us, the most important have been keeping him updated through pictures, etc as you mentioned. But, also me not weighing him down with unnecessary burdens. I try to pick up the slack as much as possible so he can come home, and rest, instead of worrying about other things. Stopping by from Fellowship Friday 🙂

    • Thanks for visiting, Misty. I’m working on not saving as many things for my husband to address when he gets home. I may not want to deal with something, but if I can, there’s no reason for me to add that burden to his plate. Thanks for you encouragement.

  15. Brittany at EquippingGodlyWomen.com says:

    I think the last one is especially important. When life gets busy, alone time is often one of the first things to go, but it’s also one of the things we need the most

  16. My husband works 45hrs most weeks so that is the norm for us. But some weeks it’s 53hrs. Then if a storm knocks the power out, he will work 17hrs on, 7 off indefinitely. It’s that last scenario that this list of tips is so important. He is often gone from home completely if there is storm work so texting and picture messages are so important to him to know that we love and miss him. Thank you for sharing this list!

    (visiting from Fellowship Friday)

    • Thanks for commenting, Julie. I think there are probably many of you for whom extra hours are the norm. We’ve had short seasons of overtime in the past, but I’ve been spoiled by a standard 40 hour work week for a while now.

  17. Glad I clicked over from Equipping Godly Women’s Fellowship Friday. As an Army wife, I’m no stranger to “overtime.” You give some great practical solutions to support you husband! Thank you for you words!

    • “No stranger to overtime.” That’s for sure, Liz. I often remind myself of military and pastor’s wives who both share so much of their husbands’ time to care for and protect people. We have walked alongside friends who have given their husbands/dads up for months at a time. Thank you for letting your husband serve in the capacity God has placed him.

  18. Love your ideas! My husband works quite a bit of overtime at a physically & mentally demanding job (not always so easy anymore as he inches closer to 50 years old!). I wake up with him each morning (4:45 comes WAY too early, but if he can do it, then so can I) and fix his breakfast and lunch. I also send him out the door with a kiss and, most days, an “I so appreciate you working hard when I know it’d be much easier to stay in bed.” Recently, after a particularly trying day, he told me, “The only thing that kept me going today was knowing how much you appreciate what I do.” His sentiments reiterated to me that sometimes it really is “the little things” that make a world of difference. 🙂
    Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us at Coffee and Conversation again this week. We always enjoy your contributions!
    Blessings,
    ~Candy

    • Remembering to express appreication is a great addition to the list, Candy. Thanks for reading and taking time to leave an encouraging comment.

  19. I love this practical post, and thank you for it! We are going through a three job season, and aside from the sheer practicality of your words, it’s just nice to know that there are other people who are trying to walk the same path. Linking up with you today at Women with Intention. Blessings!

    • Yes, it is comforting to know that others are walking the same road, Michele. May you continue to experience God’s strength for this time in your home. 1 Corinthians 10:13

  20. Kathryn Shirey says:

    Great suggestions. Working long hours is tough on a marriage and on a family. In our case, the roles were reversed. I took on a major project at work just after returning from maternity leave with my 2nd. With a newborn and 3yr old (and nursing the baby), it was definitely a trying season for us all – and I couldn’t have gotten through it without the full support of my husband and lots of prayers! Good luck in this season.

    • Wow, what a blessing to have a supportive husband, Kathryn. Knowing that others have survived similar seasons is encouraging. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment.

    • Our roles were reversed also after my 13 years of raising our small children! I knew that The Lord orchestrated my return to the same position after so long. My husband soon lost his job. It took more than half of last year to adjust to the new roles God called us to. With much prayers, tears, and heart to heart talks (in that order), I’m loving my work and know that God has a ministry for me there and allowed us to grow as a family in a different way, now that our children are in HS and college. God is faithful to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we would ask or even think, when we aligned our hearts and His Kingdom purpose for us, with Joy through Christ! Our marriage and family is stronger than ever. Praise be to Him Who is ABLE!

  21. Thanks for the great suggestions…we are currently in a crazy (and stressful and overwhelming) time for my hubby’s work. So this was helpful!

    • Glad these were helpful, Emily. Praying God will comfort and strengthen you during this season of overwhelm. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3

  22. This is such a great list! My husband works a lot and these were great reminders! Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Talk! I’m giving away FIVE copies of one of my favorite books. Feel free to stop by to enter to win!
    Sarah (co-host)
    http://www.sarahefrazer.com

    • Thanks for coming over, Sarah. Praying for you and your sweet new one as you all continue to get used to each other!

  23. Love this post! My husband has either worked long hours with overtime, more than one job, or a job on 2nd shift for all 5 years we’ve been together. I didn’t realize that it would get harder as time went on – I find myself wondering when we’ll ever be a “normal” couple. Is this our normal? I have implemented most of your suggestions in the past, but lately I’ve found myself weary with the burden. I love your reminder that I can make the burden lighter by maintaining joy! Thank you!

    • Wow, that’s a long time, Whitney! I can imagine that it would become wearing when you can’t see the end in sight. May God renew your joy in Him and help you to trust His plans while this kind of schedule remains. I was reading Isaiah 40 this morning and found verses 27-31 encouraging. Maybe you will too.

  24. What wonderful suggestions, Abi. Thank you so much for sharing these. My family has gone through this. I think the things that helped most was struggling to maintain a positive attitude and learning to cover his dinner plate with foil and keep it in the oven on “warm” – sounds silly, but night after night I would wait for him to come home for dinner, or leave dinner on the table, and be resentful because I still had to clean up the dinner mess at 8:30 p.m. When I started planning for the fact that he wouldn’t be home for dinner, my attitude improved greatly. My husband also really appreciated being able to pull one warm plate out of the oven and not having to do any clean up himself. I will be praying for your family during this difficult time. May God bless you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ways To Support Your Husband When He Works Overtime from Joy in My Kitchen — so many times I am selfish when my husband has been working, and I want him to help at home. He needs a break too or at least me caring about him and not just about my day. […]

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