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← How working couples can best support each other

It's possible to have a successful career AND a successful marriage. Professor and author Jennifer Petriglieri explains how you and your partner can make choices that work for your life together -- without sacrificing your individual aspirations.

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Zeige Revision 5 erzeugt am 11/16/2020 von Erin Gregory.

  1. It may sound strange to bring up work,
  2. but when we fall in love,
  3. we often consider
    what that love will do to our life,
  4. and our work and careers
    are a big part of that.
  5. [The Way We Work]

  6. [Made possible with
    the support of Dropbox]

  7. All working couples face hard choices,

  8. and these can feel like a zero-sum game.
  9. One partner gets offered
    a job in another city,
  10. so the other needs to leave
    their job and start over.
  11. One partner takes on more childcare
    and puts their career on hold
  12. so the other can pursue
    an exciting promotion.
  13. One gains and one loses.
  14. And while some couples who make
    these choices are satisfied,
  15. others regret them bitterly.
  16. What makes the difference?
  17. I've spent the last seven years
    studying working couples,

  18. and I've found that it's not
    what couples choose,
  19. it's how they choose.
  20. Of course, we can't control
    our circumstances,
  21. nor do we have limitless choices.
  22. But for those we do,
  23. how can couples choose well?
  24. First: start early, long before
    you have something to decide.

  25. The moment you're faced
    with a hard choice,
  26. say, whether one of you
    should go back to school
  27. or take a risky job offer,
  28. it's too late.
  29. Choosing well begins with understanding
    each other's aspirations early on --
  30. aspirations like wanting
    to start a small business,
  31. live close to extended family,
  32. save enough money
    to buy a house of our own
  33. or have another child.
  34. Many of us measure our lives
    by comparing what we're doing

  35. with our aspirations.
  36. When the gap is small,
  37. we feel content.
  38. When it's large,
  39. we feel unhappy.
  40. And if we're part of a couple,
  41. we place at least some of that blame
    with our partner.
  42. Set aside time at least twice a year

  43. to discuss your aspirations.
  44. I'm a big fan of keeping a written record
    of these conversations.
  45. Putting pen to paper with our partners
  46. helps us remember each other's aspirations
  47. and that we're writing
    the story of our lives together.
  48. Next: eliminate options

  49. that don't support the life
    you want to live together.
  50. You can do this agreeing on boundaries
    that make hard choices easier.
  51. Boundaries like geography:
    Where would you like to live and work?
  52. Time: How many working hours a week
    will make family life possible?
  53. Travel: How much work travel
    can you really stand?
  54. Once you've agreed to your boundaries,
    the choice becomes easy
  55. when faced with an opportunity
    that falls outside of them.
  56. "I'm not going to interview for that job,
  57. because we've agreed we don't
    want to move across country."
  58. Or, "I'm going to cut back on my overtime
  59. because we've agreed it's essential
    we spend more time together as a family."
  60. Couples who understand
    each other's aspirations

  61. and commit to strong boundaries
  62. can let go of seemingly attractive
    opportunities without regret.
  63. If you're faced with an opportunity
    that falls within your boundaries,
  64. then what matters is
    that the choices you make
  65. keep your couple in balance over time,
  66. even if they don't perfectly align
    with both partners' aspirations
  67. at the same time.
  68. If your choices are mainly
    driven by one partner

  69. or support one partner's aspirations
    more than the other,
  70. an imbalance of power will develop.
  71. That imbalance, I've found,
  72. is the reason most
    working couples who fail do so.
  73. Eventually, one gets fed up
    with being a prop
  74. rather than a partner.
  75. To avoid this,

  76. track your decisions over time.
  77. Unlike your aspirations and boundaries,
  78. there's no need to keep a detailed record
    of every decision you make.
  79. Just keep an open conversation going
    about how able each of you feel
  80. to shape decisions that affect you both.
  81. How will you know you've chosen well?

  82. One common misunderstanding
  83. is that you can only know
    what choice is right in hindsight.
  84. And maybe it's true
    we judge life backwards,
  85. but we must live it forwards.
  86. I've found that couples
    who look back on a choice as a good one
  87. did so not just because
    of the outcome eventually;
  88. they did it because that choice empowered
    them individually and as a couple
  89. as they made it.
  90. It wasn't what they chose,
  91. it was that they were
    choosing deliberately,
  92. and that made them feel
    closer and freer together.