“The Most Important Career Choice You’ll Make Is Who You Marry.” In her book “Lean In,” Sheryl Sandberg, in this day and age of independent working women, was sandbagged because she had the nerve to bring the conversation back to the home front and the notion that the relationship between a woman and her spouse could be a key factor in a woman’s career success. It seemed that Sandberg was asserting, against all feminist dogma, the fate of a woman is in the hands of a man. Yet, taken in the context of the entrepreneurship and personal fulfillment realms, this idea of mindfully surrounding yourself with positive people who support your success is sound practice and highly encouraged. If you are a woman who is planning ahead to design a life that includes family, career, learning, and self-fulfillment, choosing a life partner is a major crossroads. The path you choose through your choice of a life partner is a factor in how you reach your destination.
We have to cut through the hype and look at reality. Most people want to have love in their life. Our closest relationships hold sway over the choices we make because we want to have harmonious interactions with those we love. If you want to have a full, varied life and a family, fighting with your “traditional” spouse over who will cook dinner or put the kids to bed if you need to stay late for a business meeting will not lead to harmony. How many fights like that will you have before you give up on your dreams of a career, or one or both of you give up on sorting out the tensions in the relationship? And, if you are so restricted by cooking dinner, bath, and bedtime, how will you ever travel for conferences, advanced learning opportunities, or charity work, or even go on a weekend getaway with friends? What if, instead, you have a supportive spouse who said, “You go do your thing, and I will take care of what needs to be done at home.” Wouldn’t it be easier to achieve your dreams and life goals?
Stories abound of divorced women who knew, some from the very beginning, that their spouses were not right for them but they married them anyway. Or, of women who were surprised after the wedding to find that their life partner wanted different things in life, but they’d never had the “big discussions” before they became seriously involved. When they have children they are bound together for life.
Throwing kids into the mix takes this question to a whole other level. Sorting out the romance, the biology, the needs to love and be loved, the responsibilities, the daily grind, and the hopes and dreams, all while tied to other living, breathing human beings with their own needs and wants can become a Gordian knot; impossible to untangle.
Knowing what you want and knowing what is important to you are crucial from the outset of a relationship. When you have clarity on your values and your life plan it can be easier to keep a clear head through the initial attraction phase of meeting someone new. It can allow love into your life even when the timing is not according to your plan because you see the person as a helpmate, not a hindrance. You can remember a person can be wonderful and still not be a good match for you, or revel in the joy of discovering a soul that resonates at the same frequency as yours.
Take the time to figure these things out early in a relationship. There is an easy way and a hard way to do things in life, and it’s easier to do the things you want when those close to you are supportive. Don’t let a fear of being alone keep you from doing what is right for you. When you are doing what you love, you will find others who are like-minded, which sets the stage for a great relationship in the first place. “Having It All” includes having love, success, and happiness, and a good choice of a life partner can make the journey easier and richer.
Michal Klau-Stevens is The Birth Lady. She is the creator of the 11 Steps to Planning Ahead to “Have It All” Audio Class, an on-demand, downloadable program that helps 20-somethings master maternity and design a life they love that includes career, family, learning, and self-fulfillment. She is a maternity consultant, pregnancy coach, consumer expert on maternity care issues, Past President of BirthNetwork National, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and mother. Her website is TheBirthLady.INFO. Find her on Facebook at The Birth Lady page!
Click here to receive a FREE mini-guide by email and to receive more tools and information on mastering maternity.