There are many parts of your marriage to figure out, negotiate, and navigate. One of the most important, and often taken for granted, is your career. It is powerful to be an individual or couple who is intentional about creating a vision and setting goals for their careers.
It has been noted that ambitious people are attracted to other ambitious people. Why is that? Watch this video to know more.
Ten ways to support your spouse’s career
Here are ten key things you can do to support one another in your careers as part of a healthy, loving marriage.
1. Communicate, communicate, and communicate
A dear coaching mentor, Brandon Smith, says that in the absence of communication, people will make it up, and when they make it up, it’s usually not good.
So if you don’t want your spouse making it up, you have to be willing to communicate about all matters of the heart, including your career.
What are your short and long-term career goals? If you don’t know them yourself, work with a career coach to figure them out, and then let your partner know what they are so they can support you in having career success.
You must know where to draw the proverbial line in the sand on several work-related areas. Think through these before they present themselves and potentially create a rift in your relationship. Here are some questions to ponder to help you determine your deal breakers.
How much travel can you live with, for yourself and your partner?
Does either of you have to be away for an extended period?
If a promotion or new job requires moving, are you willing, and can your career be compatible with that move?
If not, are you open to living in separate places for a time for the sake of your career goals?
Moving for my husband’s career – is it a good idea? Reflect on it.
Are you clear on how much time spent at work is too much?
Do you care if your spouse earns more or has better work perks?
You must get clear on these answers as a couple!
3. Share the household tasks
If you haven’t, make peace with the need to break traditional gender roles and determine who does what best. If one is great in the kitchen and the other loves doing the lawn, be comfortable breaking the norms of who does what.
While we can have it all, it is usually the case that we can only have some at a time.
What practices will you put in place to support the household tasks getting done without any resentment building up over that pile of dishes in the sink or the back lawn that is out of control?
Consider creating a realistic division of labor and outsourcing for help as much as needed. There is no shame in getting professional help in this area to support having a healthy marriage that honors the career demands.
4. Family planning
For those with children or who would like to have children, be intentional about how you will support one another with children added to the picture. Asking the following questions is vital when supporting your spouse’s career.
Will one or both of you take family leave or stop working together for a while?
If not, do your careers dictate that you hire help to deal with everything that comes with family life?
5. Be nimble
Things out of your control will surely change at work. Be flexible enough that your partnership at home can withstand handling whatever changes come. Sometimes, one of you needs to give more attention to work.
Be able to handle this and not take it personally while supporting your spouse or your partner in handling the changes. There will be an ebb and flow for each of you in your careers and you must be nimble to support one another through the waves as they come.
Celebrate the small and BIG successes – a very expressive way to support your spouse’s career.
Your spouse got a raise or promotion?
You solved a challenge at work or have figured out how to deal with that difficult boss or co-worker?
Great! Celebrate! Find ways to make one another feel special and appreciated for your successes. Maybe that’s a fun date night. It could be a thoughtful handwritten note showering praise upon your spouse.
Do something that shows how they are showing up and succeeding in their career.
Often, a spouse becomes unsupportive of your career when they see that you are practically married to your work and they are just a secondary accessory to your life. They start to feel insecure and unsafe in the relationship.
Share the joys and challenges of your career with your spouse. We often spend more time at work than anywhere else. Make sure your partner has a clear sense of what you are doing when you are apart all that time.
8. Know when to take things off their plate
While you may divide the responsibilities of children and the household equally and fairly, sometimes, your spouse may need help to hold their end simply because work has them too occupied or they are too tired or burnt out.
In those times, you should know when you must take complete charge and let them relax for a little bit. Your partner should be able to do the same for you when the need arises.
The two of you may come from completely different professional backgrounds. What they want to talk about is not related to work, but about the people at work or how they feel at their job.
Sometimes, the only thing you need to do to support your spouse’s career is to listen to them. Offer them an ear, not a solution. They are just trying to vent, and they want to do so with someone trusted.
10. Encourage them
Whatever it is, be sure that you are encouraging towards your spouse whether it is going out with their colleagues to build a better bond, striving to be better at what they do, or something as simple as showing up as their best self at work.
Giving them little bursts of encouragement can feel like a lot of support from their partner.
How to deal with your spouse who doesn’t support your career
If you have felt, “my husband doesn’t support my career,” or “my wife doesn’t support my career,” Here are some things you can do when your spouse does not support your career.
1. Be clear about what you do
Whether or not your spouse or anyone supports your career, you must be clear about what you do and what you want to do. Setting goals and plans for your career will likely make other people confident about you as well.
2. Do not try to convince someone
If your spouse does not see the value in supporting your career, you do not have to try to convince them. If you do that, your self-worth will likely take a hit when you cannot convince them.
You may start questioning your abilities and wonder if you are good enough to be supported.
You may be at a stage where prioritizing your career is important. If yes, then irrespective of the support or lack thereof, make sure you make it your number one priority. Your partner will understand when they have to.
4. Do not risk everything
Just because your partner does not support your career, it does not mean that you have to risk everything to pursue it. Weigh the risks, and take calculated ones. Only leave a job to switch to another with proper thought.
Similarly, do not go against your family but try to make them understand the value it holds for you.
A career coach, couples counseling, or even both can help you navigate this journey when you are passionate about your career, but your partner won’t support you.
Sometimes, taking the perspective of a professional can help you understand the situation better and act accordingly.
How do I support my partner during a career change?
To support your spouse’s career change, make sure you:
Talk to them about why they feel the need to make the switch
Help them understand why leaving behind their current role or job is important for their growth
Talk finances – ensure you have enough to support yourself through the rough patch that a career switch may put your family through in terms of money
Be encouraging and supportive
Help them find the right opportunities
Don’t be another one of the divorce statistics! With intentionality, flexibility, and communication, you can have a healthy marriage and successful careers that allow you to be joyful people living your dreams together.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle Read more in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.