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  1. Employee Resources
  2. My Family
  3. Marriage
  4. Supporting Your Spouse

Supporting Your Spouse

Welcome to the DHS Spouses’ Corner, a helpful resource for spouses of DHS employees. This page is designed to provide resources that will help you and your family through life’s biggest events and biggest challenges.

For DHS employees and their families, a loving, resilient marriage is both a matter of personal happiness and family readiness. When family relationships are strong and healthy, employees are free to focus on their mission and daily duty requirements. Like any good relationship, marriages take work and attention. Communicating well is one of the most important skills any couple can have, and a key component of lasting, loving relationships. Working with your partner to learn and practice basic communication techniques can help you build trust and intimacy in your relationship. View more tips on couples’ communication.

When Your Spouse Works the Opposite Shift

When you and your spouse work different shifts, it can be difficult to make time for each other and to work on building a stronger relationship. With different work shifts, both spouses often wake, work, sleep, and eat at different times of the day. If this sounds like your relationship, these challenges don’t have to be deal-breakers or show-stoppers. Here are tips for keeping your relationship on track and improving couples’ time.

  • Create a calendar and keep it up to date with work schedules and other events so that you can plan time together. You can use an online calendar, or a calendar posted on the fridge—whatever works for your family.
  • Stay in contact with each other often. A brief call or text during the day is a good way to feel connected and in sync with your spouse.
  • Share household responsibilities. Make sure you both know who is supposed to do what, so you don’t waste valuable “couple time” discussing it.
  • Take the same day off work when you can, and rather than doing chores, plan to spend some time together doing something you both enjoy.
  • Prioritize your time together. Avoid saying yes to extra duties or obligations to others when you know your spouse will be home.

Long work hours, including night shifts, can put a strain on marriages and family life. Here are some strategies to keep the lines of communication and ensure that your relationship stays strong.

  • Communicate Regularly. With modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch. A call, a text, or even a video chat session can really help with discussing your partner’s day or giving a virtual goodnight kiss.
  • Manage Off-Work Time. Try to get your after-work errands and chores done while your family members are at work or school so that you can be available when they get home. Be sure to make time to get some rest!

Supporting a Partner Through a Traumatic Event

Has your partner recently suffered a traumatic event? Are you trying to help them cope while learning to cope with the pain yourself? If you understand what is happening when you or someone you know reacts to a traumatic event, you may be less fearful and better able to handle things. View more resources on common reactions after trauma.

Talking to Kids About Trauma

After a tragedy, kids will have questions. How do we respond? View more information on helping kids cope with disasters and other traumatic events.

DHS has many resources available to help employees and their families when they must relocate for work. Work-Life Specialists are available to provide expert consultations, comprehensive educational materials, and prescreened, customized referrals to providers nationwide concerning childcare, adult care, schools and financial aid, fitness centers, pet care, relocation assistance, home services, and much more. To find your work-life specialist, contact worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

DHS has contracts with private firms that offer relocation assistance. These services are available to eligible transferring employees who receive permanent change of station orders with relocation support eligibility. Available services include home sale, property management in lieu of home sale, destination, and move management. To find your work-life specialist for help in locating these resources, contact worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) provide DHS employees and their family members a variety of free resources--financial consultation, legal aid, elder care and childcare support, and more! Visit the Employee Assistance Programs page to learn more.

Last Updated: 02/03/2023
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