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4 Tips to Support Your Partner Through a Career Change

Steven Losardo, MFT 

Your partner has just approached you on the subject of a career change. They may have been thinking about it for some time now. Before you react, put yourself in their shoes, and realize that this new career path could be the best thing for them now. If your finances are interconnected, and most couples’ are, there is clear potential for tension and stress. However, you may need time to make some adjustments to the new idea, but that is okay (Armstrong, 2016). 

Create Shared Rituals of Connection

Gottman (2017), note one way to create a shared ritual of connection is to carve out time for each other. One example hey provide for a shared ritual is checking in with each other when you get home and talking about your day.  Such rituals can help you build shared meaning, which is essential for a healthy long-term relationship. Developing these times of connection may not happen overnight, but is something you can work toward. Having rituals of connection can help you adapt when it comes down to major life transitions such as job loss or a career change. 

Consider What Support Looks Like

What does support look like for you? The answer may be different for you and for your partner, as individuals have their own needs. However, in a healthy relationship, mutual support always includes respecting each other’s opinions, needs, wants, and goals. Working as a team, you will be better able to reach mutual goals as well as individual ones. It is important to reassure your partner that you are there for them, rather than criticizing them over small mishaps. 

Look to Develop and Connect in Your Sense of Shared Life Purpose

Gottman (2017) also reviews what it means to enrich your sense of shared life purpose with your partner, create goals together. Creating mutual goals together will help you maintain a sense of purpose as a couple. An example of a shared goal as a couple could be volunteering, going to church, or planning to have children. This involves having a shared vision for your life together, which can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by the little things that can cause rifts in a marriage. While job loss or career change often causes stress between you and your partner, having a shared life purpose can help you get past it and focus on the things that are most important in life. 

The Bottom Line

Career changes or job loss often pose real difficulties for partners, but building a mutually supportive relationship can soften the blows and assist with a smooth transition to the new circumstances (Armstrong, 2016). Being open and honest with your partner as to how you feel about changing careers will strengthen your bond and get through a tumultuous time. It is possible for you to make a career change work while maintaining a healthy relationship. Try to understand each other’s perspective, and be patient with one another (GoodTherapy, 2021). With these tools, you will be able to have a more meaningful relationship, support your spouse, and keep your relationship strong.  


Armstrong, Amy. (2016). Making your relationship work during a career transition. Retrieved

transition-0509165 on June 30, 2021.

GoodTherapy (2021). Patience. Retrieved from

         on July 1, 2021.

Gottman, J.  (2017). Level 1 Clinical training manual: Gottman method couple

therapy. Seattle, WA: The Gottman Institute Inc.

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