“Behind every great man is a great woman.”
I’ve heard this saying my whole life, but never have I heard the flipside: Behind every great woman is a great man.
Neither are true ALL of the time, of course but the connection between women’s long-term professional success and being in secure, happy relationships is well established. Sheryl Sandberg even went as far as to say in Lean In that “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.”
Whether you choose to make it legal or not (you can read my thoughts on marriage here), our love lives and work lives are clearly connected. It’s as simple as this: Human connection is the single-greatest predictor of happiness in our lives, and happier people are shown to be more hardworking and productive.
Emilie and her partner. Image via Facebook.
On behalf of my fellow career-focused, proudly ambitious women out there, I want to acknowledge the special kind of love it takes for a dude these days to show up and support us in the way a modern ambitionista like me needs, wants, and loves.
And yes, I’m talking about men. In no way do I want to discredit the loving partnerships that exist between ladies or the love and support many of us are lucky to have amongst our friends and family members, but right now, I’m fascinated by how heterosexual men are navigating a feminist revolution. These guys are experiencing the shifting nature of men’s gender roles as much as we are breaking the glass ceiling in the workplace.
It’s take two to tango on the balance beam of gender bias.
And so, as 2014 comes to a close and I’m struck by what I’m most grateful for—the love in my life that’s made it possible for me to take big professional risks, start my own business, learn from my failures, and own my achievements—I present to you an open letter of thanks to the men behind lady bosses:
Thank you for believing in us, even before we do. Turns out, you were right about us being right all along.
Thank you for being one of the few people we can come to with our self-doubt. Confidence is key in all we’re daring to do at work, but with you, we can fall apart and know we’ll still have your love and respect.
Thank you for cooking, doing the dishes (lately I’ve become convinced that this is the sexiest thing a man can do), for changing diapers, and for caring for the kids—or in my case, the pup.
Thank you for questioning assumptions. For not blindly following some arbitrary relationship track just because “it’s the way it’s done.”