Developing your careers—at any time in your marriage—is hard work for both of you. While it would be nice if both spouses could progress toward their career goals at the same pace, that’s not realistic, and it’s very unlikely. That means, at some point, one of you will be arguably more successful in your career than the other.
If your wife or husband has a more successful career than you during this season, it’s normal to feel left behind, inadequate, and maybe even a little jealous. While you should definitely acknowledge your feelings, it’s dangerous to let them take root and create bitterness between you and your spouse.
Today, we’ll talk about some things to keep in mind that will help you cope with your feelings and situation in a healthy way. (Hint: it’s all about mindset.)
Everyone’s Career Grows at Its Own Pace
There are many factors that could put you and your spouse on different career trajectories. If you work in different industries, it could be that progress looks different between the two. Some industries advance workers more quickly than others.
If you happen to be an entrepreneur or in a field that requires you to “pay your dues” for longer than your spouse’s chosen field (for example, you might have to go to school for longer or work for lower pay for an extended period of time in order to progress), remind yourself why you chose the path you’re on. Reconnecting with your passion for your calling will help you refocus, create positive energy, and get your attention back where it needs to be: on your forward momentum.
Your Spouse’s Success Doesn’t Equal Your Failure
To build on our first point, it’s important to understand that if your spouse has surpassed career goals that you’ve set for yourself, that doesn’t mean you have failed. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. All it means is that you’re in different places when it comes to your work.
You’re not meant to be in competition with one another; instead, build each other up. Support each other. It may take time to get where you want to be, but if you stay focused on your goals, you’ll get there. In the meantime, cheer your spouse on, and don’t be afraid to ask him or her for positive affirmations and extra moral support on your journey.
Your Spouse’s Success Benefits You Both
Does your spouse have a higher-ranking position than you? Does your spouse make more money? Is your spouse an experienced, successful entrepreneur? Great!
Aside from the obvious monetary benefits to either of you making a good salary, your spouse’s experience as a leader or seasoned professional is beneficial to you–as a job seeker, a professional-in-development, an entrepreneur, etc. And the more winning connections your spouse makes, the higher the chances you’ll cross paths with someone who can help you with further professional development.
Consider what your spouse may be doing right, and how you might be able to implement those principles in your own career path (if applicable). Is your spouse someone who could be a role model of sorts for you?
Finally, let your spouse’s wins be your wins! Cheer one another on. You can create so much positive energy with mutual encouragement.
Turn Your Discouragement Into Motivation
It doesn’t do any good to mope about what you haven’t accomplished, or to create conflict with your spouse out of jealousy over their job. Instead, create a list of goals and desires, then turn your discouragement into motivation to get yourself moving.
Jealousy and bitterness are immobilizers. If you don’t allow those emotions to control you, you can light a fire under your feet to grow in your own career. Plus, you’ll maintain a happier marriage. Remember, you’re on the same team.
Have you and your spouse experienced a major career discrepancy? If you had “the short end of the stick,” how did you handle it? Were you able to turn your disappointment into momentum? Let us know in the comments!