You want your partner on your team, cheering you on. What if that doesn’t happen?
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When you’re pursuing what could ultimately be your life’s legacy, the least you expect is the support of those around you. Your spouse isn’t just in your social circle — he or she is practically an extension of yourself. Your spouse is the first to hear the ideas and knows the next 10 moves you’ll make.
At least ideally, your spouse does.
In real life, we might not always get that support, which can be frustrating. However, this isn’t to mean there’s a problem with the relationship. As demonstrated by 20th-century Canadian psychologist Eric Berne, there are multiple levels of connecting with people, in this case spouses, and symmetry across all levels is only ideal, not required, to have healthy relationships.
That said, you’d still want your spouse on your team, cheering you on. So, how do you handle the situation when your spouse just doesn’t seem supportive of your dream?
1. See if it could be your fault.
Before you accuse your spouse of not supporting you enough in your ambitions, reflect on how things could have gone differently had you done this: To get your spouse’s support in the first place, let him or her know your needs concerning achievement of your goals. For instance, unless your spouse is a fellow software developer he or she isn’t going to understand what you need from home to make things easier for you.
Set a realistic schedule that takes into account all the important aspects of your life. When sharing it with your spouse be honest and set realistic expectations. This schedule should reflect, among other things, when, where and how you work best.
Your partner is more likely to be supportive of you if he our she clearly knows what you need to achieve your dreams. This may be time, money or help with the household chores.
2. Improve the quality and quantity of communication.
If you don’t communicate often and easily with your spouse it’s less likely that you’ll be able to harmoniously discuss your schedule, for instance. Similarly, without ongoing communication you won’t be able to get feedback on your schedule — you couldn’t possibly expect to get everything right the first time you try.
Remember that this communication has to be for the purpose of bringing you closer together. So, you’re not just saying, “Hey, I’ll be working from 9 to 5 and that’s how it is” then moving along. You’re also talking about other things that matter to you as a couple.
It doesn’t always have to be about what you’re working on.
3. Be honest and upfront.
It’s totally understandable if you’re tempted to keep things to yourself because you fear your spouse’s disapproval. However, this only escalates the situation.
Unless you’re in the CIA, the moment you start “protecting” your spouse or avoiding conflict by hiding what you’re doing, you create a hill for your relationship to tumble down.
A better approach would be telling the truth about your goals. You have to also make your partner understand that it’s important to you and you intend to accomplish it by such and such a time. Put it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re giving your spouse an ultimatum but rather as the caring partner you are.
Learn how to be honest without hurting your spouse’s feelings.
If you don’t think it’s your fault that you don’t get the support you deserve from your spouse, try opening up the communication channels. This will give you a chance to understand your partner and express yourself better.
While having your spouse support you in your goals is a privilege, that’s all it is. It would be unfortunate to be with someone who actively shoots your ideas down. However, as long as that person is there for you when it counts — you have someone to come home to — you have all it takes to pursue those ambitions.