Different Strokes: Quick Tips for Career Couples Navigating Differences

Busy dual career couples who are successful at navigating differences learn how to play on the same team. No matter how large or small, no matter the topic—be it financial management, parenting styles, political points of view, religious affiliation, cultural traditions, or other.  They do four things to keep their relationship rock-solid. You can use these tips, too.

 Focus on the Big Picture.

Why are you together?  This is the common denominator—the core—of your relationship. Remember that what’s important are the core Couple Values and Mutual Goals that brought you together in the first place (family, friends, contributing to the community and the world, and so on.)

De-escalate tension and use humor.

Spot when a conversation is turning heated and practice de-escalating the tension. Learn to listen to the other person’s views. When all else fails, use humor. Wallpaper the bathroom in cartoons on the subject—whatever the topic of difference may be

Support one another’s uniqueness.

How your individuality is expressed may be through very different avenues—different creative outlets, participation in different sports activities, friend or professional groups. Sharing how you value these qualities in yourself and your partner makes them seem less different, scary or opposite. Especially when you focus on what value it brings to the relationship, and maybe even to your attraction. It might get boring if you were too much the same!

Remember, these are issuesthis is not about your commitment.

Remind yourselves that any difficulty or difference is about an “issue” or “problem” and not about your relationship itself. When you are committed, you are in it together and you can face anything if you do it together. If you remember to work as a team.