Marriage Success Secret: How Spouses Affect Our Careers


Be careful when choosing a partner: those who are closely related to us in love can motivate or demotivate us professionally. The results of a US psychological study by Carnegie Mellon University show that spouses push us at best. Or they discourage us so that we miss career opportunities. 163 married couples were examined – with significant results.

US study shows: This is the influence that spouses have on our professional decisions

It is not surprising: we expect support, advice, and honest feedback from our loved ones in many everyday and special situations. We usually thrive when the support actually comes in the form of motivating words or actions. Be it buying clothes, making an important financial decision, or family matters – the range is colorful and varied, and the commitment of the spouses is required. But how does the behavior of our partners influence us when it comes to professional challenges?

This question is a psychological research team from Carnegie Mellon University that got to the bottom. Or more precisely: They wanted to find out what increases the likelihood of taking on demanding professional challenges. A total of 163 couples took part in the study. Each pair had a choice: solve a simple puzzle or enter a competition to win a prize.

The results of the study survey summarized:

  • Partners who could push and encourage each other were more likely to choose the challenge with competition and reward for a win. So if you had a motivating spouse, you took on the bigger challenge yourself.
  • Then, after six months, the long-term result: Overall, these people were emotionally happier. They surpassed themselves personally, experienced more happiness, and strengthened their love relationship.
  • Because of the spouse’s motivating behavior, the results show that we are bolder and more likely to take chances when professional opportunities and challenges arise.

Uncertain Doubting: When spouses don’t support us

Spouses who express doubt or are discouraged lead us to make less challenging choices. In the study, people were more likely to choose the simple puzzle if their partner didn’t make them clearly positive and hopeful to face the more challenging task. Insecure spouses make us less confident in greater opportunities that come with challenges.

Means: If we have partners at our side who cannot find supportive and constructive words and show insecure behavior, we tend to withdraw. We would rather not leave the “safe nest”, our comfort zone, in such moments.

How do I recognize that my spouse is having a positive influence on my decision-making?

Are you married or do you want a spouse? Pay attention to the following factors and characteristics to recognize that this is a supportive partner who will help you when you have to make decisions. The list is not exhaustive and serves as a first orientation:

  1. Honest feedback is normal in your relationship

Your partner does not sweep difficult issues under the carpet and sometimes picks you up where it hurts. That’s a good sign: Honest feedback on your own thoughts can have a positive effect on your decisions. At the same time, you can rely on your partner’s honesty – especially at times when you are about to make big professional decisions, mirroring through your spouse can be helpful.

Read Also: Reasons Why the Spark Fades in a Relationship

  1. No emotional devaluation – no matter what

Of course, honesty almost always helps. However, honest feedback from your partner should not show any disparagement of you or your tendencies. No matter which professional plans or career opportunities you decide on.

Tip: There is often much more to a devaluation than we think. As a rule, this does not have to do with ourselves, but with our counterparts. Therefore, try to distance yourself from personal attacks and take a stand on your career plans.

  1. Solve everyday stress together

If you want to change careers, seize an opportunity or accept a challenge, you can rely on your spouse for problems in everyday life. Because change often also means “leaving behind” certainties. It is all the nicer to solve emerging stress together – with the knowledge that there is always someone waiting for you to build you up emotionally.

Psychologist Guy Bodenmann also supports this thesis. The Swiss relationship consultant sees it as the task of a good relationship to resolve stress together. Accordingly, appropriate communication is also important in order to be able to empathize with the spouse.

  1. Show helpfulness and joy in the spouse’s decisions

You can also see whether your spouse has a positive influence on your decision-making process by the fact that he or she expresses a willingness to help – and you can see the joy on the face of this person. In moments of your own insecurity, the support of your spouse in this way can help you to consolidate your decision more quickly.

  1. ALLOW your spouse to have career opportunities

Yes, it’s not always easy: to give another person the chance to achieve even more professionally, to start their own business, or reorient themselves. If you wish your spouse the best from the bottom of your heart, you may be able to help them achieve great things in their careers. The enthusiasm of the others alerts us to potential big opportunities that we might otherwise miss.

  1. Spouses wants to achieve their own goals

Climbing the career ladder, achieving more professionally, and not being afraid of failure: Basically, a good spouse believes in their partner’s skills. In addition, it is important to push them additionally. Because if you give your spouse the feeling that you trust them to do (almost) everything in life, you provide “invisible wings” that have an inspiring effect – and drive us to peak performance.

You decide your own success first and foremost

One important thing should not be forgotten: Spouses can help us to make more decisions, have career opportunities, and have great professional prospects. However, be careful not to base your decisions solely on your partner’s opinion and behavior. Because sometimes it happens that we don’t follow our hearts because the influence of our loved ones weighs more. Therefore, the following applies: You are primarily responsible for potential career opportunities and for your professional development.

Success and support are closely related

We summarize: From a psychological point of view, according to study researchers, personal success is closely related to the support we receive from those close to us. If spouses find positive, uplifting, and sometimes challenging words, we tend to seize professional opportunities – even when the competition is fierce.

As a spouse trusts us, so does our own confidence and belief that we can do more than we thought we could.

Means: taking on a managerial position, finally changing jobs successfully, retraining – whatever you decide to do seems to be becoming more tangible. Therefore, when choosing a partner, always make sure that there is a positive basic attitude towards the topic of challenges. Because that can already be half the battle for your success.


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