Professional growth spans the whole of many people’s careers, requiring time, commitment, and change along the way. Some people choose to attend college for postgraduate degrees, pursue a promotion, or embark on a new career after marriage. In fact, sometimes, spouses are pursuing their own career goals side-by-side.
How can married couples support one another in order to achieve their career goals and grow professionally? Read on.
Communicate your needs, dreams, and professional goals to one another.
The first step of working together toward your professional goals is to clearly communicate your needs and dreams to one another. You can’t truly partner if you aren’t clear on each other’s professional aspirations. Whether you’re still pursuing your education or at the midpoint of your career, you need to talk to one another about what you need.
As you work to grow your careers, discuss your professional goals and hold each other accountable. There’s nothing quite like having your spouse in your corner, cheering you on and helping you reach that next milestone. If you have children–or if you will in the future–you’ll also be able to demonstrate a great example of teamwork to them.
Make major career decisions together.
When you were both single, you could call all the shots in your life–like deciding whether to go back to school, take a job, change your career, or pursue a promotion that means longer hours and less time at home. But now that you’re together, you need to make these career decisions together, too.
You need to not only respond to career changes together, but make preemptive plans for others. Does one of you need to leave a job in favor of a better opportunity? Make a plan so the change won’t harm your spouse or family. Does one of you want to go back to college? Make sure you have the finances and support in place to make that happen. Is one of you pursuing a promotion? Examine the opportunity and make sure it fits with your family’s goals, as well as your own.
If you have a family–whether your family consists of just you and your spouse or you have kids–then your career decisions affect them. Even if an opportunity seems fantastic at first glance, you’ll still need to discuss it with your spouse. For married people and parents with children at home, career changes can have a profound impact.
Recognize when one of you needs you to pick up the slack.
Another crucial part of teamwork is recognizing that sometimes, as you and your spouse pursue your goals, you’ll need to pick up each other’s slack at home. There will be certain areas where you’ll need to step in and support your spouse, and vice versa. Be ready for these times to come, and anticipate those needs before they arise.
Does your spouse usually make dinner? You might need to take over dinner once their new job begins. Do you usually put the kids to bed at night? Your spouse might need to take on the bedtime routine when your evening classes begin.
Part of preparing to pick up the slack for one another is also–you guessed it–communication. Create your game plan together, then do your best to stick to it, being open with one another along the way.
Pursue your ambitions with one another’s best interests at heart.
In all things, keep your spouse’s best interests first. When we’re pursuing our own goals, it’s important not to lose sight of one another’s needs. Be considerate of each other, working together to ensure you’re both feeling supported and nurtured.
Remember that helping each other grow professionally is not a competition. Your victories benefit your relationship, your marriage, your family, and ultimately, your future. So move forward together, stoking one another’s ambitions and cheering each other on, while always looking out for one another in the process.
Pursuing your professional goals together means getting your communication skills in top shape. If you need a little help doing that, the Better Love Assessment can help. You can take this quick, simple assessment together to get deeper insights into your communication styles so you can love one another better through this process. Take the assessment here.
Are you and your spouse pursuing career advancement side-by-side? Is one of you supporting the other for a season? Let us know your story in the comments.