Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a true partnership

One of the more important choices in our lives is who we choose as a partner, and what we want that relationship to look like. Who we choose to spend our lives with will certainly affect how we choose to spend our lives, but I barely thought about the impact of my relationship dynamic on the rest of my life until I listened to this talk by Sheryl Sandberg a couple years ago. I never even thought about what I wanted my dynamic with The Husband to be like as we started to build a life together. I knew I loved him, and he me, and that we were happy. We had been together for a couple years before I even thought about how we would compromise on life's obligations, career choices, and family, in the future. I always thought that these  "little things" don't really matter - our love for each other was the only thing that mattered, right? I had no idea how much these "minor" things would affect so many aspects of my life.

(we paid a lot of money for our wedding pics so i will be using them on every post for all eternity)

Luckily, I am married to a man who is my true partner. I have never wanted to be a housewife, responsible for handling everything in the household excepting the finances; Reed does want me to be, either. We split the chores - in fact, he probably does more dishes than I do. We have had long discussions about whose career would take precedence in the future, and we have decided together how that would work out. We talk about shared obligations, and manage those obligations accordingly. This has fostered an incredibly happy and healthy relationship between the two us, which is pretty much what I had expected. 

What I never knew was how much of an impact this would have on my career.

When I was working at a nonprofit, overworked and underpaid but dedicated to the organization's mission, I never could have pulled off the 12 hour chaotic work days leading up a fundraiser if I also had to cook dinner, do dishes, and fold laundry when I got home. I was already handling the responsibilities of two positions, and there is no way I could have taken on the obligations of another - housewife. Even if I had managed to handle all that, that would mean I was probably half-assing both sides of those obligations, which isn't exactly how you want your work to be known if you're trying to get a leg up professionally. Thankfully, The Husband believes in being an equal contributor to our home and our life together. He has saved my sanity many times during my career. And when you're in it together, that's just what you do. 

This also bodes well for the longevity of my professional career. My work inside and outside of the home is of equal value as that of The Husband's. If, in the future, we see a need for one of us to be at home, we will resolve that together, instead of me automatically sacrificing my career because I handle everything at home already anyway; it will be a discussion between two equals that will result in the compromise both of us are comfortable with.

And don't think I am the only one benefiting from our equal partnership. When the tables turn, as they often do, and I am the one more flexibility in my schedule or less on my plate, I step up and try to do as good a job as The Husband does for me.

I thought that my professional success would be due my work ethic, accomplishments, and abilities. I never thought that I would owe much of my success to the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with. 

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