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First, it was the book, “The Millionaire Mind.” The book by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires.

One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to a supportive spouse.

Supportive spouses are vital for success, according to a 2012 study.

“Given that a lack of support from one’s spouse represents a major cause of both divorce and career derailment, this research is needed to address issues that affect both home and work,” said Florida State University business Professor Wayne Hochwarter.

His research into two-income families confirms the importance of spousal support in times of stress.

As you might expect, that’s especially the case when both spouses have work-related stress.


When both spouses are supportive, Dr. Hochwarter said there are positive benefits:

— 50 percent higher rates of satisfaction with their marriage

— 33 percent greater likelihood of having positive relationships with co-workers

— 30 percent lower likelihood of experiencing guilt associated with home/family neglect

— 30 percent lower likelihood of being critical of others (spouse, children) at home

— 25 percent higher rates of concentration levels at work

— 25 percent lower likelihood of experiencing fatigue at home after work

— 25 percent higher rates of satisfaction with the amount of time spent with their children

— 20 percent higher views that their careers were heading in the right direction

— 20 percent higher level of job satisfaction

“When you’re still angry or upset from yesterday’s stress, your workday will likely go in only one direction — down,” the professor said.

“Some attempts to support your stressed-out spouse can backfire, actually making the situation much worse,” he said.

Common attributes

He said in supportive relationships, there were common attributes:

  • Awareness of one’s spouse’s daily work demands (i.e., time pressures, lack of resources, deadlines, and supervisors)
  • Not “forcing support”
  • Understanding that communication lines are open regardless of the circumstances
  • Recognizing that distancing oneself from the family or lashing out is not a practical way to foster help. In fact, it tends to bring out the worst in others — and even causes the supporting spouse to become distant and act out as well
  • Being able to bring one’s spouse back to the middle — up when down in the dumps and down when overly agitated
  • Not bombarding the family with complaints about minor workplace irritants
  • Not trying to “one-up” one’s spouse in terms of who has had the worse day.
  • Not being complacent — continuing to work at it
  • Remaining rational and not automatically casting the spouse as the “bad guy”
  • Not keeping a running tab on who is giving and who is getting

“Most important, though, was the ability for a spouse to offer support on days when he or she needs it just as much,” Hochwarter said.

“In many cases, both return home from work stressed. Generating the mental and emotional resources needed to help when your own tank is empty is often difficult. Successful couples almost always kept a steady supply of support resources on reserve to be tapped on particularly demanding days,” he added.

“When stress enters any relationship, it has the potential to either bind people together or break them apart,” Hochwarter said.

“Findings strongly confirm this with respect to job tension. What also became obvious was the critical role of communication and trust among spouses; without them, you have a foundation best described as crumbling, even in the best of circumstances,” he concluded.


From the Coach’s Corner, here’s an article with more research by Dr. Hochwarter: Do You Have A Toxic Relationship With Your Boss?

Additional reading:

“To get the full value of joy You must have someone to divide it with.”

-Mark Twain


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.