What every couple needs to know about solo success

Are you one half of a working couple? Find out why both pursuing your careers helps your relationship – and how to encourage each other.

The days of the man being expected to work while his wife stays home to care for their home and children are long gone – thank goodness.

Not only does this give women more freedom and options but, according to research, pursuing  individual career success can actually strengthen a relationship or marriage. In fact, the divorce rate among unemployed spouses is 15% higher than spouses who are both employed.

This may be because, in order to find contentment as a couple, each person first needs to discover security, purpose and fulfillment within themselves. And the more satisfaction we experience as individuals, the more support and encouragement we can offer one another.

So, if you’re one half of a working couple, here are some tips to help you to encourage each other as individuals.

Don’t divide the labour – share it

In the more traditional marriage structure, men were conditioned to provide financial stability, while women were expected to manage the household chores. This restrictive model created an imbalanced division of work that prevented couples from working as a team.

Instead, if both you and your partner contribute to the income, it’s only natural that you should practice teamwork at home – and cultivate an environment of collaboration and equality.

It may work for you to have designated responsibilities, so you both know what you are accountable for, but still work together to take care of the family and the home. Or your household task division may be more fluid, and shift depending on work schedules, travel, and any other circumstances.

If you’re both vested in each other’s success, you’ll be more willing to work together and compromise when there are unexpected events or last-minute changes.

Share your ambitions and support each other

The sense of purpose and productivity that comes from exploring your interests, honing your talents and discovering your potential can make you and your partner more confident as individuals.

When both people have the freedom to pursue their career passions and goals, you’ll start recognising which strengths each person brings into the relationship. You’ll begin to view one another as unique, intelligent, creative and accomplished, which gives the relationship more harmony and congruence.

While most couples have some shared interest, individual passions can differ. Share your passions and ambitions with your spouse, then figure out how you can support one another to go after your dreams.

Make decisions together

Jobs can often impact life transitions – from moving to raising children – but with more than one career being taken into account, both partners need to approach this decision-making process from a unified standpoint.

With two incomes to take into consideration, you can’t afford to react selfishly or impulsively when deciding on a relocation or promotion, or whether to start or extend your family and other significant changes that might jeopardise your partner’s employment.

Making joint decisions also allows you to be more practical. You can understand if something isn’t feasible at the current time due to a family or job situation. This doesn’t mean you can’t revisit the idea later, but it will help you stay grounded as a couple and manage expectations.

Recognise each others’ skill sets

Besides providing economic stability, advancing in a career path also draws attention to your innate capabilities which can prompt admiration from your significant other.

If one partner feels underappreciated or devalued, validating their professional achievements will communicate that you perceive them as more than just a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend – as a competent human being who’s thriving in their sphere of influence. This encourages mutual respect and enhances your trust in each other.

Pursuing solo success makes you stronger as a couple

Rather than just assuming that, as a couple, you’re obligated to prioritise one person’s career aspirations over the other’s, you both might come to realise that pursuing solo success makes you a stronger, closer and more devoted unit. After all, those are the marks of authentic staying power.