Success, science shows, is often a joint undertaking. Marrying the right person measurably increases your chances of being successful. Maybe that's why Sheryl Sandberg famously said, "the most important career choice you'll make is who you marry."
But what if your marriage is the ultimate two-way street with both partners aiming to achieve huge things professionally, and both partners needing a steady and supportive other half to keep things running at home. How do you make it work?
Stanford business school organization Women in Management recently invited several such couples to campus to share their wisdom, offering advice for younger professionals who are trying to build a life together that keeps everyone striving and everybody sane. Here are their top tips:
1. Be flexible.
Sticking to gender stereotypes or rigid plans and schedules just doesn't work when you have two demanding (and ever shifting) careers to consider. "It's not like she always does the dishes and I do the laundry," VC Ed Wilson, whose wife works in mobile gaming, told the event. "It's more like, 'Who's having a tough week? Who's having to stay later at work?'" Whichever partner is less slammed picks up the slack.
2. Change your mind if you want to.
Flexibility isn't just important on a day-to-day level. It's important not to get stuck in a mental rut when it comes to bigger choices as well. Decisions about how to manage your career and your family aren't set in stone -- even if they seem incredibly weighty when you make them.
Amanda Raden, who is part of a two Googler power couple, explained at the event that she felt enormous pressure to decide whether to slow down in her career after her first child arrived. She opted to take a step back then got restless and ramped up her career again. It's cool -- you can do that -- she assured the audience.
"It felt like a big decision I had to make at the time," she said, "but the reality is that decisions always can be changed. You can always change jobs or decide to do something else. It's not this one big decision that you have to make right when you're having the child."
3. Tune up the relationship.
When you're crazy busy it's easy to let little annoyances and niggling relationship troubles slide, but panelists Justin Hilton and Pascal Millaire warned fellow power couples against getting complacent so that problems fester. Despite their strong partnership, the pair checks in regularly with a couples therapist via Skype. "We do it almost every week and probably will for the next decade to come," said Millaire, who is an executive in the insurance industry.
What other advice would you add to this list?