For professional success—choose a conscientious spouse

Psychological Science has published an interesting study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis that links career success with certain spousal traits. Somehow we have always known that who you choose to marry will play a large role in your future life—but now we know it can greatly impact your career success and therefore, financial security and lifestyle choices. Turns out that it is really important to choose wisely.

Their research studied the personality characteristics and careers of 4,500 married people. The test they used measures people on five traits—extraversion, openness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness. They found that only one trait—conscientiousness– had a significant impact on their spouse’s career success. They defined success as level of income, steady promotions and job satisfaction. This study used Australian couples as they provided a significant number for the sample group.

The conclusions the researchers came away with are that a spouse’s behavior tends to rub off on their partner and over time we pick up on one another’s habits and strengths. Secondly, if one’s spouse has it together and handles a great deal at home and outside of work—their partner is freer to focus on their career and to put in the time and energy that leads to promotions and greater success.

What was very interesting is that they found no gender differences between the traits that helped a woman’s or a man’s career. Either one benefited from having a conscientious spouse. So take note both men and women readers out there. It’s great to love their beautiful smile, their positive energy, their smarts, and the interesting quirks that make them uniquely them. But if he or she is a slacker—you may be in for a life of long hours, low pay and thoughts of what might have been.

Author: Toni Coleman

Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC is an internationally recognized dating and relationship expert and founder of Her expertise is sought frequently by local and national publications and top ranked dating and relationship websites and she has been a guest on a number of radio and TV programs. She is the featured relationship coach in “The Business and Practice of Coaching,” (Norton, September 2005); the author of the forward for, “Winning Points with the Woman in Your Life, One Touchdown at a Time;” (Simon and Schuster, November 2005) - and her popular relationship articles can be found in several magazines and a number of self- help, personal growth and dating/relationship websites. Toni holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of Virginia, and earned a certification in life coaching.

Leave a Reply