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The Lifestyle Centre

Highly Ambitious Women Married to Less-Ambitious Men Part 1


by Marnie L. Pehrson

To quote an old saying, "behind every great man is a good woman." As women have moved into the workforce and women are now surpassing men for starting new businesses, many women have stepped out of the shadows to stand beside or in some cases, in front of their men into an ambitious, achiever position.

Remember the popularity and hilarity of the movie Mr. Mom in the 80ís? Itís not as unusual today for women to be either the primary breadwinner in the family or to have a more prominent career. But is it really that acceptable for both partners? What happens when you are a highly ambitious woman married to a less ambitious man? Or what if you are a man married to one of these over-achieving women? A marriage between these two can be a blissful balance or a recipe for a devastating divorce.

As our society has shifted the roles of men and women, only a prophet could predict how this would affect marriages and families. The businesswoman of the 90ís is often seen as power-hungry, driven and highly stressed while her less-ambitious husband is often perceived as lazy and unsupportive. But these are just stereotypes. There's more here than meets the eye.

Being a highly ambitious woman married to a less-ambitious man myself, I found this to be an intriguing subject. In preparation for this article, a survey was conducted of 44 women and 7 men who were either still in or had been in a relationship where the wife was highly ambitious and the husband less ambitious. The chart below gives a breakdown of their marital situations:

Survey Participants



Unhappily Married









To fully understand this relationship type, we'll look at the typical personalities of each partner and then discover ways that balance, harmony, and happiness can be achieved instead of unhappiness and divorce.

Profile of a Highly Ambitious Woman

The highly ambitious woman is generally exciting, enthusiastic, and full of life. She works hard and is an over-achiever. She's your typical "Super-Mom," entrepreneur or corporate executive. She enjoys leadership positions and might even be considered bossy or controlling. She has high energy levels and often has a low tolerance for people who can't keep up with her pace. She is generally creative and full of ideas. She thrives on responsibility and stress, but tends to take on more than she can handle. She feeds on intelligent, thought-provoking communication. Her greatest desire is to be loved, appreciated, and acknowledged for all she is able to accomplish.

Profile of a Not-So-Ambitious Man

He is relaxed, easy-going. He's generally happy with the way things are going in his life and career. He knows how to enjoy life and take time to relax. Entertainment and relaxation is a big priority in his life. Generally, he is loyal and devoted to his mate. He can usually be characterized as a family man who is not driven by money, power, ambition or the desire to "get ahead." He's typically loving and affectionate -- especially when he feels appreciated and loved for who he is and not for what he accomplishes.

The Marriage

Both of these individuals have their strengths and weaknesses. Combine them, and you can achieve a beautifully balanced marriage or a recipe for divorce.

Warning Signs

If you are in this type of relationship, there are several warning signs of divorce of which you need to be aware:

  • Resentment. If you start to feel resentful of your mate as if you're doing all the work and they are doing nothing, or you are giving all the love and affection and they are giving none, then you have a problem. Every divorced person who took our survey felt they were more loving than their partners. Of those who were not happy in their marriages, 88% felt they were more loving or neither partner was loving at all. But 77% of the happily married people felt that their partner was more loving or they both were equally loving.

  • Negativity or Ambivalence. If you can't see anything good about being in a relationship with your over-achieving wife or your less-ambitious husband, then start scrambling now to find the good. 68% of the people in divorced or troubled marriages who took our survey could not find anything good about being in this type of relationship. But, every person who was still happily married could think of something good about it. This is a definite sign of trouble in this marriage relationship.

  • Sexual Imbalance. If one person doesn't want sex at all or if you each want it at different times, this is a symptom of other issues. Sexual strains are rarely the real problem; they are just a symptom of deeper issues. They may simply have to do with stress or being tired. As one man who took our survey described, "My wife works 6 days a week. She is tired all the time. Our sex life has slowed as a result." It may also have to do with energy levels, as one woman explains, "It seems that his lack of ambition is not confined to work but it seems to carry over into every aspect of his life. He is not only un-ambitious at work but also at home, around the house, in friend and family relationships, about his health, sex, in a word, everything."

  • Indifference. Both or one of you has given up on showing affection or taking time for each other's interests. This is a sign of serious difficulties and one of the last stages before divorce. Start working on your relationship now!

The Beautiful Balance

When a highly ambitious woman is married to a not-so-ambitious man, they can find a harmonious balance. The secret is in emphasizing the strengths of your partner and being willing to give the other person what they crave. A couple is like two pieces of a puzzle: different yet they fit together.

Click here to read part 2 of this article to learn how these two personalities can achieve harmony in their marriage.

Written by: Marnie L. Pehrson,
Click here to view more articles by Marnie L. Pehrson.

Marnie Pehrson is an author, creator of www.IdeaMarketers.com, www.LocateACoach.com, www.SheLovesGod.com, and more. She is the author of inspirational books like Lord, Are You Sure? and historical fiction such as The Patriot Wore Petticoats. She also helps people earn money from home using the phone and the Internet. For more information on her projects, visit http://www.pwgroup.com or www.MarniePehrson.com


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