This is the second article in a 2-part series that I wrote nine or ten years ago. I feel like I’m preaching to myself here… so if I needed the reminder, I’m guessing some other highly-ambitious women could use it too. 🙂 For the first article, click here.
When a highly ambitious woman is married to a not-so-ambitious man, they can find a harmonious balance. The secret is in emphasizing the strengths of your partner and being willing to give the other person what they crave. A couple is like two pieces of a puzzle: different yet they fit together.
How a highly ambitious woman can achieve harmony with a less-ambitious man
- Lower your expectations. Recognize that your man is never going to be as ambitious, driven or motivated as you are. He simply doesn’t have or want the energy level that you do. So you may as well learn to appreciate him for his strengths.
- Consider your cup half full. If you see your husband as lazy and selfish or as acting like the world owes him something, start searching for his good qualities. Turn these negative thoughts around, and consider these characteristics as strengths instead of weaknesses. For example, you might say, “He knows how to relax. He enjoys life. He’s easy-going. He appreciates the little things in life.”
- Let him teach you how to relax. Try to learn from him. He can help you balance your life. If you see him as someone you can relax with, enjoy the intangibles of life with, and appreciate him for his strengths rather than feeling resentful of them or trying to change him, you can find harmony in this relationship. One of the women who participated in our survey had learned this secret; “He occasionally gets me to relax. When I’m feeling lazy and want to sit around, I know he’s all for it. He helps me keep perspective.”
- Be aware that your man craves your time and attention. He wants someone to pay attention to the things that interest him as much as you want him to be attentive and supportive of your goals. One of the hardest things for a highly ambitious woman to do is spend time on anything that she deems frivolous. If your husband’s interests seem frivolous, you will have a hard time giving him the time and attention he needs to be happy in the marriage. Instead, remind yourself, “My marriage is important. My husband is very important to me. This is important to him, so it is important that I do this for him or with him.”
- Less-ambitious men have egos, too. They still need to feel like they are the man of the house. Never belittle him, his interests or call him lazy. A woman who shows appreciation and support for her husband’s efforts and for who he is instead of what he achieves will have a happy husband who feels loved. As one woman explained, “Encourage him in his job and thank him for all his help. He plays an important role in your success. Make special time for him and keep the romance alive.”
- Keep commitments. It hurts your husband and family when you break promises. “Everything and everybody gets put second place to her business. We can have plans to do something and they can get bumped for her customers” explained one disgruntled husband. If you make promises to do things with your husband and children, keep them. Don’t let work or business opportunities pre-empt prior family commitments.
- Consider involving your husband in your goals. Create a mission statement together so that you both are in sync with who you want to be as a couple. As you make your husband a part of your success, he will feel like a valued contributor; and you will see the importance of the support he provides that makes the pursuit of your dreams possible.
How a less-ambitious man can achieve harmony with a highly ambitious woman
- Praise and encourage her. If you can appreciate the excitement and zeal that your wife brings to your life, if you can give her praise, encouragement, and understanding for all she does then you are giving your wife the deepest craving of her heart. Let her know that you appreciate her!
- Be positive. Negativity weighs on these women. They carry an immense burden of stress, generally trying to juggle the hats of motherhood, career, homemaker, and wife. Be positive and supportive. Don’t be like one woman’s husband who she felt, “belittled her for minor set backs and ignored her during major victories.”
- Be a sounding board. Because highly motivated women are full of ideas and often very talkative, you will reap great rewards in being her sounding board. She doesn’t need you to solve her problems; she needs you to lend your ear.
- Lighten her load. Because highly motivated women tend to over-extend themselves and take on more than they can handle, a man who is supportive and helpful around the house or in financial matters is a great asset to the highly motivated woman. A willingness to chip in without expecting a pat on the back every time will go a long way in this marriage.
- Be a man. Although these women may enjoy being the decision-maker, they still like it when their husband is decisive and bears some of the responsibilities. As one high-achieving women explained, “Secretly I want him to take care of me for a change.” They want a man they can count on when times get tough. You may not be able to be that man financially, but there are other ways you can bear some of the responsibilities. You can do things like help her with the children, give her a back rub when she’s up late working on the computer, or take the initiative to make plans for a weekend getaway. Sweep her off her feet every now and then.
What both partners can do to achieve harmony and happiness
- Take time to do things together. Take vacations together. Go away for a romantic weekend alone at least once or twice a year. Establish a regular “date night” so you can stay connected.
- Take time to learn about each other. Learn about each other’s interests and build common interests together. This will mean compromise on both partners’ parts.
- Accept each other for your strengths and your different energy levels. Don’t try to change each other. Learn that you each have your strengths and that you can find balance in each other.
- Ignore outside influences. Many people still view this relationship type as non-traditional. Some will even secretly envy your happiness. Don’t listen to what others say, stay focused on each other. And, do not discuss your partner with others. Protect the sanctity of your marriage by respecting your partner in public.
If your marriage is having problems, but it hasn’t deteriorated too much, simply adjusting your behavior and attitude according to these guidelines can work wonders. I’ve learned in my own experience that even one person making these changes can show dramatic results. I found that I was the one who had to make adjustments in my thinking. One thing that has helped me tremendously over the years is working with a life coach. A life coach can help you streamline your business goals, manage your time more wisely and make time for having a life.
Recognize if your marriage is in serious trouble and don’t be afraid to seek appropriate counseling. Counseling does not lead to divorce; it’s a sign that you both want to invest in your marriage.
Whatever you do, do something today to start working on your marriage. And continue to work on it throughout your life. No marriage is easy, but this marriage combination, with a little creativity and devotion can work.