Last week I discussed the achiever-connector marriage, but what about two achievers who are in a relationship? As I’ve mentioned, we’re all different, which is good and bad, but our personality types do impact our marriages. You might feel you are both an achiever and a connector, but chances are you’re more of one than the other. If you’ve accomplished the 50/50 split of these two types than you’ve successfully reached a balance that most have not. So what does marriage look like for two achievers? Remember achievers tend to be driven, competitive, and goal-directed which has its advantages and disadvantages, but when you both have that same focus sparks can fly and conflicts erupt.
Dual Achiever relationships may never enter the therapy office since they feel like they have it covered and tend to handle problems independently. Relying on others or even their partner for help may be difficult. Unfortunately, many high achievers outsource responsibilities that have great value and meaning including child-rearing. They approach the marriage like a business relationship rather than an intimate connection. Of course not all achievers take it to this extreme. So what can be done to make these marriages work?
Achievers do well with schedules and objectives, so pre-planning dates together works. Also, agree upon rules about disconnecting from technology and focusing on conversation unrelated to work. Achievers need to cooperate and recognize that you’re on the same team which involves mutual respect and shared responsibilities. Recognize the strengths in each of you and learn to delegate based on those assets. Since achievers are task-driven, introduce more enjoyment into your marriage by each person creating a fun list and selecting one activity to do each week. Try initiating spontaneous affection and connect through intimate conversations. The checklist of tasks never ends so decide to limit your time “doing” and spend more time “being.” Watch a thunderstorm or sunset, play cards, have a glass of wine, walk the neighborhood, go for a night swim; these are just a few examples of connecting activities. Use our advanced technology to connect with your spouse when face to face interaction is not an option. Most importantly, value relationships over material success. Research has found that materialism doesn’t produce happiness, but rather is a stronger predictor of unhappiness.