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Publication #FAR3019

Power Couples: Tips to Make it Work1

Suzanna Smith2

Figure 1. 
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Power couples in business, like other professional pairs, face many pressures when combining work and family responsibilities. Dual-career couples need to understand how each spouse defines the meaning of family and career.

However, those shared understandings are also likely to change for several reasons. Career paths change as new job opportunities come up. In addition, each partner's career goals and choices may be influenced by other individuals who have an interest in their careers, including their professional peers, role models, and friends and relatives. Both partners have to make an effort to keep a balance in the relationship while going through these changes. When studying power couples, the Harvard Business School identified some recommended strategies for combining home and career:

1. Communicate: talk to each other every day— not just about mundane tasks, but about work, family, and how things are going generally.

2. Protect family time—spend quality time together.

3. Stay organized.

4. Divide up housework so that each partner contributes. Many power couples "outsource" by hiring services such as cleaning and rely on restaurants, take-out, and home-delivered meals (Guild 2002).

5. Support each other and work as a team, recognizing and playing to each others' strengths.

As one woman explained, "It's very easy to get over-involved with your day job, if you will, and forget about the job you have with your family or your spouse" (Guild 2002).

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Compton, J., & Pollak, R. A. (2004). Why are power couples increasingly concentrated in large metropolitan areas? Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper Series, Working Paper 10918. Retrieved October 18, 2007, from

Costa, D. L., & Kahn, M. E. (2000). Power couples: Changes in the locational choice of the college educated, 1940-1990. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(4), 1287-1315.

Everding, G. (2005). Husbands' careers trump wives' in relocation quest. Retrieved October 18, 2007, from

Guild, W. (2002). Special report – dynamic women in business 2002 (3): How power couples keep it together. Retrieved October 18, 2007, from

Lundberg, S., & Pollak, R. A. (2002). Efficiency in marriage. NBER paper series. Retrieved October 18, 2007, from

Parker, P., & Arthur, M. B. (2004, February). Giving voice to the dual-career couple. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 32(1), 3-24.



This document is FAR3019, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 151 and published January 2008. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and Executive Producer, Family Album Radio, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.