Whether your spouse has decided to get an undergraduate or advanced degree, going back to school is a great way to advance at their current job or to get into a career that truly makes them happy.

It can be tough when your spouse goes back once the two of you have set up a life, have a family, and two full-time jobs, but it’s not impossible.

Here are some topics that you and your spouse should discuss before the school year begins:

Set your priorities. Before your spouse goes back to school, sit down and talk about your responsibilities and set your priorities. It’s likely that your responsibilities are going to shift back and forth between the two of you in order to cover the time your spouse will spend in class and studying.

It’s important to strike a balance so that neither of you feel taken advantage of. It’s equally important to avoid assuming that your spouse will automatically cover responsibilities without the two of you communicating, especially when kids are in the picture.

Talk about finances. Depending on the program your spouse is entering, they might have to cut down to part-time or even quit their job. How will the two of you make it work on less money? Look into financial aid options. Have your spouse set up a meeting with a financial aid advisor at the college to see what’s available.

Talking about money with your spouse can be difficult, especially if the two of you have different saving or spending habits. It’s important for your marriage to communicate with each other. Learn how to budget, and stick to it.

Manage your time. Time with your spouse will become a precious commodity. It will be frustrating, in particular when your spouse has chunks of free time only when you’re tied up at work. Sit down at the beginning of the week and schedule a date night. Also, try to make time for each other daily. Take advantage of technology. When you are at work and get a free moment, send your spouse a text or an email to let them know you are thinking about them. Slip notes into your spouse’s backpack. What matters is that you’re making time for each other and your marriage.

Help where you can. Chances are that you have a full time job and responsibilities. Do what you can in order to help your spouse. Here are a few small things that can make a big impact: do the grocery shopping and laundry. Get the bills ready to send out. Plan dinners (whether it be homemade lasagna or a frozen pizza, your spouse will just be happy to come home to food that’s already been made). Try to do some of the little things to make your spouse’s stressful time a little less stressful.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at reka@omaha-counseling.com, or via Twitter or Facebook.

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