There is so much advice out there for women to be successful in business, but what if none of it meant as much to your success as choosing the right partner? According to some of the most successful women in business, and my own experience, marrying well has tremendous advantages.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Nicola Smith is the founder of Rebel & Reason, a digital marketing firm, as well as an organization called Digital Divas that is associated with the Atlanta AIMA. Digital Divas is a networking group for women in the digital marketing world. Before women were ‘leaning in’ and definitely before it was cool, Nicola began filling a major gap for women in Atlanta. It all started with 6 women in the digital advertising space, getting together to talk, share, and recognize where they were in the business world.

When Nicola decided to turn Digital Divas into something larger and host an event, they saw 150 attendees on the first night. From there, they have only grown. AIMA sponsors Digital Divas as a special interest group and they hold events year-round with female speakers from all walks of life. This is where it gets really interesting… Nicola always asks each speaker who comes in the same exact question. “What is the single most important business decision you made?”

She began to notice something strange in the responses. No matter where the women came from in terms of background, education, marital status, etc. almost every single one of them gave this ubiquitous response that choosing the right partner or spouse was the most important thing hands down. Why?

1. Responsibilities: In our modern world, and even in modern relationships, the bulk of family/home responsibilities rest on the shoulders of women. Add to that time away for building a career, and all of the sudden guilt becomes the main emotion dominating the relationship. That is, unless you have a supportive partner at home who is willing to back you up in your duties, no matter if they are personal or professional. The sharing of household and family responsibilities is the norm in my house, but is a relatively new development for others. If you want to move into a future where gender doesn’t determine your family role, this is something you need to actively seek.

2. Co-Dependency vs. Independence: If you choose the wrong partner, maintaining your independence is nearly impossible. In co-dependent relationships the idea is to keep one party in constant need of or reliant upon the other. When both parties in a relationship maintain their independence, amazing things can happen. For that to happen there has to be a lot of other elements working beneath the surface: a strong foundation, trust, more trust, solid communication, and did I mention trust?

3. Understanding: Your partner will be everything on those days when it is woman against the world (you will have those days) so choose wisely. If your partner isn’t tuned into the level you are on, and understanding about your needs, everything will suffer.

4. Confidence: When you have a stable and happy home life, along with someone who respects and values who you are, that is your starting point for every single day. That is the place you operate from. Confident women don’t allow themselves to be taken for granted, and they know their worth. Confident women are able to make decisions easier and tend to have higher levels of motivation. All of these things are important in finding success.

Partners in Business & Life

My husband and I formed a dual-partnership. We are best friends and partners in life and have been for 25 years. We are also partners in business working 24/7 together, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Early in our careers, my husband had a business partner and it didn’t work out well. A partnership is like a marriage, and for the two of them, their difference places in life made working towards the same end goal a struggle. For the two of us, our business, financial and personal goals are the same, and that means everything in business, and that means everything in life.

Originally published at