He´s Got Your Back: Successful Women Talk About Their Supportive Spouses

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 Making Time For One Another
“You’ve got to have balance between your career, your family and your love life. You have to have communication in your career, with your family, with your lover,” shares actress/activist/motivational speaker Sheryl Lee Ralph, one of Broadway’s original Dreamgirls.  Ralph’s husband is another high-profile individual — Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes. They have been married for seven years.

As always, Ralph seems to have back-to-back projects. Her book, Redefining DIVA, is now in its tenth reprint and she is in the upcoming film Christmas in Compton, premiering November 2nd. She also runs the Diva Foundation, which raises money for AIDS awareness.

“My husband loves my career;  he loves to see me doing speaking engagements,  on stage, on screen, on TV, reading my, book, buying my book . He’s wonderfully supportive and an incredible man,” she adds.

Ralph tells us that even though she and her husband have demanding schedules, she tries to always plan a vacation for the two of them. “You need to make time to rest,” she says.

Mother, Wife, Businesswoman: Can the Three Happily Co-exist?
Women with families constantly feel torn between their career desires and family responsibilities. Along with this comes guilt; a feeling they are not paying enough attention to those at home.

“The tough part for me is the fact that the bulk of the family business, taking care of our two children, falls on my shoulders while I try to manage my work life,” Lee tells Madame Noire. “This means my career moves a little more slowly. Spike does not have to think about the children’s day-to-day lives while he is working, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. The biggest challenge though, has been to learn how to balance everything.  In order for me to be happy and ultimately for my family to be happy, I need to make sure I am able to make time for the things outside my family that matter to me most.”

The balancing act is something Jackson, too, has perfected. She started her business more than 21 years ago because she wanted more flexibility to be accessible to her autistic son. “So starting a business had a major positive impact on motherhood,” she says. “The hurdle was making my family a priority while being committed to my work responsibilities. I had to realize that some things I made priorities were more about my desire to make them happy than actual meeting their needs. I just stopped feeling so guilty, and gave myself permission to accept the fact that I deserved to be happy even if they had to forgo some of my attention.”

Tips For Nurturing Your Marriage

  • “Clearly communicate to your husband what you are going to be doing and how. Indicate how you feel it will impact the family and relationship. Let him know what your expectations are of him, and tell him what he can expect of you,” says Jackson.
  • “The issue really is about managing the children’s lives when both parents want or need to work full-time.  Women, you can have it all, but just not at the same time.  There are always sacrifices to be made and you have to decide what you are willing to sacrifice at what time,” Lee points out.
  • “Remember this is your vision — your business is the child that you gave birth to without your husband, so don’t drag him into a situation that he did not volunteer to be in,” notes Jackson.
  •  “Value your husband, your family as much as you value the business that you’re building or the career you’re pursuing. Remember, they all need a lot of time and attention,” says Ralph.
  • “Sacrifice, honesty, compassion, daily communication and most of all compromise,” offers Chew.
  • “Remember, you didn’t marry your business. You married your man,” says Jackson.
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