What to do When Career Goals Collide

When you are both passionate about your future and your careers, your dreams and goals can sometimes collide. Life will take you many directions, and career goals can shift and change. For example, you may have been promoted and asked to work in another city. Or perhaps a new baby is in your future. On the flip side, maybe one of you lost your job and you are starting fresh.

When it comes to careers, it’s important to remember that your career is not only an expression of your gifts, but the tool that provides for your family. Balancing your provisions and your gifts can be tricky, but is vitally important to sustain both your family’s needs and your happiness.

Today, we are discussing points to consider when you are working through a career collision.

Think about a formula

Sit down with your partner and discuss what it takes to provide for your family. What are your provision goals? How can you make this scenario work in your case, and how will this affect your family?

This might mean that one of you may need to make a sacrifice to fulfill your future objectives. Or it may be that a shift in both of your careers is necessary so you can each continue with vocations you are passionate about. Cutting back on work hours, or hiring extra help may be a discussion that need to be had, for example.

Each scenario is different, and each family has unique needs. It’s important to come up with a formula that will work for your current situation, and a solution you mutually agree upon. Not every family works the same, so have a meeting with your partner and work out a plan that is best for your family.

Take a look down the road

To help with difficult decisions, we recommend the 10-10-10 exercise. Couples tend to focus on the short run, and a “10-10-10 discussion” will help you see further down the lane. It’s simple; ask yourselves what your decision will look like 10 weeks from now, 10 months from now and lastly, 10 years from now. How will this decision affect you and your family as a whole?

This exercise is a great decision making tool because it requires you to think of all the levels of impact your decisions will have on you – both good and bad. If you anticipate that your spouse will be devastated and sad in ten years, then this likely isn’t the right decision. Or on the contrary, if you both see a bright future after you discuss your intentions then you are on the right path!


To sum everything up we can’t forget about the one word that carries so much weight in a relationship: compromise. When it comes to careers and relationships, try not to get hung up on the “this isn’t fair” point of view. You may need to give and take a little to reach the best decision.

With life comes bumps in the road, and you will need to overcome those bumps – together. If you focus on what’s best for your family’s future, then compromise will come easy. Whatever the outcome of your decision, it’s important to negotiate a shared relationship and accept compromise, and sometimes even sacrifice.

Have you and your spouse had a conflict over careers? How did you overcome this? We would love to hear from you in the comments!


  • Katrina Locklin says:

    Thank you so much – this came at a perfect time. This morning I was working through surrendering this exact thing to God. I love the 10-10-10 model and will share this with my husband later.

  • This was an eye opener! Compromise had been difficult for me and been avoiding to discuss, the 10-10-10 seems to backup my thoughts on sacrifice and intentions, thank you! I’m going to prayerfully consider this.

  • Andy Atencio says:

    This is SO timely!! I just got a new job that is requiring us to move. Though the move is only to another town 80 miles away, we are moving from the City (Denver) to the mountains (Frisco). This is a huge, what I refer to as a seismic, change for us in lifestyle. The biggest thing that has made this possible was for us agreeing before I even applied for the job that this was something we both wanted. The upfront conversation what about what we both want our lives to look like for the last half of it (we are both over 50). Communication is almost more important than compromise because if you talk through your dreams and aspirations you might just find they are more in alignment with your spouse than you even knew they would be.

  • Paul Edwards says:

    It was simple, I told my fiance that I would work and she would raise the children. If she wanted to work before the children came along, that would be great but there would be no working outside the home once the children were born. Then after the children were all in school, part time work would be acceptable as long as she was home before the children. And if that was not an acceptable situation to her then the relationship was over. I am happy to say that after five children and 37 years of marriage we are as happy as ever.

  • Paul,
    As the Parrotts stress, each family is different. If I was presented with such a one sided, schoolyard bully approach by my husband, there would have been no wedding 39 years ago. What worked for us was the egalitarian approach. We both do housework because we both live in the same house, we both changed diapers and raised the kids, whoever makes more money doesn’t matter, going into the same bank account, and we are both the heads of the household. It’s rewarding to hear people say to us “You guys are a team.” Especially when they have tried to turn us on each other. Then it’s fun. I would marry him all over again. It does get a bit scary when we complete eachother’s Sentences and read each other’s minds with what’s for dinner LOL!! Uncanny!

    But there is no one size fits all way for everybody, including in the Bible. You will see a number of different ones in those pages, with differences in cultures. We don’t live in a Middle Eastern Society, so most of us don’t have multiple generations living under one roof and living in the same home and geographical location all our lives, for example.

    Just as you are accepting of your own choices, extend grace and loving acceptance to other couples whose relationship approach works best for them, but may be very different from yours—like mine—and we’ve got 2 years on you.

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