4 Ways Your Spouse Can Affect Your Career

engaged couple

Your spouse can affect your career, like it or not | iStock.com

Being married or in a committed relationship can be a wonderful thing: It’s rewarding to have someone to share life with. However, it is also amazing just how much a spouse can affect your life, and sometimes the changes are not so positive. Sure, we have to think about them when it comes to where we live and where we go, but they can also affect the jobs we take or how our career advances (or doesn’t). Advancing in your career can be difficult enough, but when you’re part of a twosome, you have to think about how your choices affect the other person as well. So, a partner can be a huge bonus if you have someone who supports you and your career, but sometimes having a partner can also change your career path. Here are some positive and negative ways your spouse can affect your career.

1. Financially

When someone else depends on you, you have to think about their needs in addition to your own when you make decisions. If you want to accept a job, but your spouse doesn’t think the job pays enough, you may need to turn it down. This can affect your career in a negative way if it stops you from advancing in the role you want. On the other hand, your spouse also might help you by encouraging you to wait for jobs that pay you what you deserve, and this could help your career path in the long run.

If your spouse makes a fair amount of money, you also may be able to enjoy a career you love (and one that doesn’t pay as much as others) because you don’t need to make as much money.

2. Emotionally

young heterosexual couple sulking

A strained couple can also put tension on a job | iStock.com

If your spouse is unhappy or depressed, his or her attitude can affect your motivation. If you feel like the world is on your shoulders, it might be difficult for you to do your best at work. On the other hand, if your spouse is constantly cheering you on and rooting for you, you may find that the encouragement helps build your confidence, and helps you advance in your career.

Your spouse’s personality can also affect your career. One study showed that workers with a conscientious spouse had the most occupational success because a conscientious spouse is likely to help around the house, role model healthy skills, and help their spouse’s personal life run smoothly.

3. Geographically


If your spouse gets a new job, you might be moving to a new location | iStock.com

If you and your spouse both work, one of you may need to move for a job. This can be a benefit to you if it helps you advance in your career, but if you are forced to move because your spouse is moving for their job, this may set your career back. If your spouse has achieved great success where you are, it might not be best for you to move either.

You also might find that your spouse wants to live by family, prefers to live in a particular part of the country, or even wants to move abroad for a job opportunity. Some people have very specific job qualifications and work in a limited industry, so if you have to move away from your current location and company, your job may suffer or it may bloom.

4. Your retirement dreams

Couple sits on dock

Couple thinking about retirement | iStock.com

Do you plan to retire when you’re 55 and move to a tropical island somewhere far away? Does your spouse insist you work as long as possible and save for the future? What about working after you retire: Do you want to keep working part-time but your spouse wants both of you to completely stop working and spend all of your time together? Conflicting retirement plans can affect your career as well. If you want to retire early, you might save differently, and work more intensely, than you would if you plan to continue working for many decades to come. It’s important to talk to your spouse and get on the same page so that your career plans don’t negatively affect your retirement, and so that neither of you cuts your career short in order to retire earlier or later  than one of you wants.

Of course, part of being in a partnership is learning to compromise. Sometimes each of you will need to make changes or accept challenges in order to help the other person succeed. Hopefully, you and your spouse will both support each other when possible, and you can both have careers that advance in the way you want them to.

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