Your Marriage, Your Career


I have been thinking about some of the business advice I have given lately to clients and friends. One in particular sounds out of place. It doesn’t fit neatly in the “business” category but in my experience it has more to do with business than most any other nugget of help I have both given or received from someone. Perhaps the greatest impact in my business career has been whom I chose to marry.

Your best business move might be whom you marry

I cannot tell you how fortunately I am to have married well–“Way out of your league” as a friend once reminded me. This personal decision has had a greater impact in my business career than any other single choice. Being married to Gwen has allowed me to pursue my dreams to a degree I would never had done alone, and much less if I had married a lesser person. Marrying well will:

Provide encouragement to to pursue your dreams

Give you the confidence to move forward

Create a safe place you call home

Bring balance in an ever-demanding world

Love you for who you are, so you can be all you’re destined to be

But the opposite is also true when we choose poorly and find ourselves in a relationship that




and doubts.

Sadly, I’ve been around brilliant men and women who cannot pursue their God-given dreams because they live in the throws of relational chaos, trying to manage a difficult relationship while letting life’s opportunities slip away.

I hope you’re reading this and thanking God for your spouse. Perhaps you’re single and considering your options. For some, this post comes too late. Maybe some can make a case of being able to succeed in business despite their difficult marriages, but I can only imagine the extra amount of energy it would take to make that work. And how much more could they accomplish if they had a safe, encouraging place to call home?

How’s the most significant relationship in your life affect what you do?

  • This is so true. I owe most of my success to Gail, no question! Thanks for this reminder.

  • Ya know I just wrote about how my wife is "out of my league" last week. 🙂

    It makes such a huge difference to have a spouse who believes in me.
    We compliment each other well and laugh often.

    Glad to hear God gave you the chance to "marry up" and you didn't let it pass you by.
    All the best to you & Gwen.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. But I will say this: As a Christian I believe marriage to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. The Bible says that Christ loved us while we were yet sinners…and so I've wondered if the most successful marriages, i.e. the most Christ-like marriages, aren't really the ones where one of the two is loving someone who doesn't always love back, doesn't always do the right thing and doesn't support/nurture/encourage the other the way they need. When we deny ourselves and choose to love someone who is, at times, unlovable, we grow more like Christ…and so become more successful in His eyes. Just a taste of success defined a slightly different way 🙂

    Thank you so much for your thoughts today.

  • I am so fortunate to have Jodie, I too "married way out of my league"! I will sit down and write her a note today…thank u!

  • diana pemelton

    I married bret because 1. i knew it would make my dad crazy 2. because he loved Jesus more than he loved me. we built a biz together from nothing. we starved together and enjoyed success together..(we are kinda back to a bit of starving again! lol) but this support goes both ways…wife to husband and husband to wife. i am the wealthiest woman i know and it has nothing to do with money.
    we are in a different season now…its time now for me to pursue my dreams. my husband believes in me and what i have been called to do. "priceless" thanks for the reminder !

  • Very true! I’m blessed to have an incredible wife too, she is my biggest fan.

  • One of your better posts, really speaks to me and I am fortunate to have "married up" or "out of my league". My wife does encourage my dreams and it has taught me to show that love in return.

    No marriage on this planet is perfect and we have daily struggles, but with love as the base as Brooke says above, its move us forward.

  • Love this post. My husband of 18 years is the reason I'm living the dream. He pursued his dreams, I was blessed to stay home and raise our boys and now that they are teens, I'm wholeheartedly pursuing my writing career. There has been heartache, doubt, one loving the other when we were utterly unlovable and glorious mountain highs. I love what Brooke wrote above. Our marriage is great because I have been offered unconditional, Christ-like love from my husband, which in turn taught me to freely offer the same to him and others.

  • This is so true! But I also believe with all my heart that any marriage can be like this, because this is how marriage is supposed to look. The challenge though is that it can be an excruciating process to get there…so much that it is certainly "easier" to give up. But however difficult and painful the work may be, the rewards are exceedingly greater. Praise God that his grace always trumps our foolishness! That is what got us through the hard work and that is what keeps us in the perfect marriage. May yours also continue to be blessed and kept!

  • Steve Shantz

    When the role of CIO became open for the global NGO I work with, one of the main reason I went for it was the encouragement I received from my wife Barbara. She believes in me and provides the supportive relational and emotional home environment that enables me to thrive. We've been married 38 years and at this stage the relationship goes beyond love. We're soul mates and she is the best gift God ever gave me.

    • I know Barbara and I must say that you're the lucky one in that relationship. 🙂

  • Meg

    Great post! I am thankful to have a husband who encourages me to pursue my dreams. That is especially important for me, as I am working full time in a job I am not crazy about. It tales a special person to encourage me to go back to school to get the degree I need to get into the career I desire. So thankful that I found that man!

  • Could not agree more with this post! There’s no way I would be able to do all that I’m doing without the support of my spouse.

    Something else to consider for the ladies is a phrase I heard in Bible college. It is subjective and not true in every case, but still a good warning to heed. “If a man marries the wrong woman, it will hinder him significantly; if a woman marries the wrong man it will shut her down.”

    Feel free to visit my site: for more words of wisdom.

  • Dalene

    How has this relationship affected what I do:
    My husband is absolutely wonderful! He & I both work full-time & unlike what I hear about many men, he equally shares in all household chores (probably even does more than his fair-share) & spends a lot of time with our 2 very young kids. If he wasn't so great in terms of the time & energy he puts into our marriage & home, I know I wouldn't have the energy to work outside our home & participate in our church's leadership. I don't know what I'd do without him & I thank God for him everyday!

    • Dalene, I hope Gwen doesn't read your post. I haven't been a lot of help around the house lately.

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  • What a wonderful post and insightful message. When someone is as close as a spouse, that person has the power to lit you up or drag you down. My husband is my best friend and biggest fan. Without him, I would not be pursuing a second career doing what I love. Check out my wingspouse blog… we have a similar message.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kathi. I'll check out your blog.

  • My (very smart wife with a MS from Stanford) wife had the guts to tell me back when we first started dating and i had no job, no degree, and not sure what was next “I believe you’ll figure something out”.

    Now that my startup is doing well, it’s easy to see she was right. But at the time, I was amazed to realize she had 10x the confidence I did… (although I have a feeling she also was placing much of that confidence not in my skills, but in God’s provision for us).

  • Miserable in SoCal

    I’m glad to see so many people chose well. I wish I could say the same. I chose poorly and all I can say is that deciding to marry my wife was perhaps the worst decision I’ve ever made. She has managed to suck the joy out of just about everything I do and I find myself longing for the time that she is away from the home and—temporarily—ceases to be a constant source of strife. At this point, it’s like she looks for things to be angry about and give me a bunch of crap for. I can’t seem to make any decisions now without them being questioned by her or her giving me the business for either not going through the proper channels so she is fully informed on every decision I make. All while she has no problem doing the same types of things because I’m not geared towards pitching a fit about them because they are such “nothing” situations anyway. Needless to say, we’re pretty much broke and I don’t really see my career/business going anywhere any time soon. Congrats to all of you who chose so well and let my story be a clear warning to anyone faced with this decision to be very circumspect and very picky about who you choose.

    • Man, I’m sorry life is tough for you right now. Thank you for sharing your story here. I hope and pray you’ll things will get better for you.

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