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Blog // Adaptability
March 8, 2016

Some Thoughts On Being Married To A Successful Career Woman

Today is International Women’s Day, it’s not a topic I’ve ever written about, but then again, these aren’t the kind of thoughts I’ve ever expressed on this blog, either.

I don’t normally write about my family, not because I don’t love them, or because I’m trying to hide something, but simply because I don’t want to speak on their behalf. A lot of parents like to post photos of their kids online, but I’ve always chosen not to, simply because I don’t want my daughter to inherit a digital legacy she had no control over. When she’s an adult, she can go and post her childhood photos online, if she wants to. She will have the freedom to make her own choices and present herself to the world as she sees fit.

Similarly, I don’t normally write about my marriage or my wife’s career. Later this month, we’ll celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary, which by the standards of my generation, is a long time to be together. But, that’s not the most unconventional aspect of our union.

Although she is not one to parade her achievements, my wife has an impressive career. She’s won some notable industry awards, is a sought after speaker and commands a very impressive job title. By the standards many use to measure things, like power, money, and prestige, she is a lot more successful than me.

Which, if I were to go by the comments I’ve heard over the years and the questions I’ve been asked from time to time, should be some sort of problem for us. But, it isn’t. Not that we don’t face issues. The demands of her work, especially the frequent travel, mean that I’m often having to be solo parent, or at least, be the one on call when our daughter gets sick, or needs help with school.

But, truth be told, I of the moody artistic temperament and desperate need for creative solitude am also a demanding companion at times.

I’ve never felt like “less of a man” because my wife earns more than me, though from what I can gather this is supposed to be a problem for some men. I don’t believe that’s hardwired into us. It’s something we learn, or something that’s thrown in our face by others, something we choose to obsess over.

Something that other people bring up, assuming it’s a problem, when maybe it isn’t.

If there’s a problem I wish would go away it’s the times when someone tries to become my friend, inviting me to drinks, or coffee and a chat, only because they want an introduction to my wife. They see it as an opportunity to get their foot in the door, a kind of hustle, a shortcut. I get that. Some people think meeting the senior executive is path to what they want. But, I still wish it didn’t happen.

In the past, my wife has appeared on television, or spoken at events connected to International Women’s Day. Today is no different. She’s in another country, playing her leadership role, trying to inspire women to be brave in the careers and challenge men to move the barriers in the way of women’s progress.

And, it’s something I support, because as I’ve written about in the past, I believe that for all of, life asks us to work and love. We should have the freedom to love those who love us and to find work that gives our lives meaning and direction. It’s something that transcends a day, a marriage or a career and yet, it gives meaning to all them.

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Yi Shun Lai 8 years ago

This is such an important thing to say. Thanks for marking International Women’s Day this way.

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