Ambition and the unambitious fiancé
February 28, 2011 9:19 AM Subscribe
On ambition and potential married bliss... or hell...
My fiancé and I have very different views when it comes to ambition. On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is Donald Trump and 1 is a boiled turnip), I'm an 8 or a 8 1/2. I've written two books, I keep an active niche blog, I'm considering starting a new business, and I'm holding a stable day job which allows these other things to come to fruition. I have an idea of where I'd like to be in five years, even if I don't know the exact way it'll happen.
My fiance is about a 2 or 2 1/2. She was an Art major in college, and after much encouragement from me, she's started a blog (which has since gone ignored, like her overflowing desk), started painting a bit more, and (through one of my contacts) donated a couple pieces to a local fundraiser. She wouldn't have done any of those things (except maybe the painting) if I hadn't encouraged her in the efforts. She wants to make a living as an artist (her words), but doesn't do the basic things needed to make that happen. Any suggestions I make about what could be done are answered with pessimism ("I've talked to 20 artists and none of them are making a living out of it") or a fatalist, 'woe is me' attitude ("I guess it'll never happen and it's not worth trying")...
In virtually all other areas, we are as compatible as can be - yet in my mind this one thing is a potential deal-breaker. After getting engaged we talked grandly about traveling the world, retiring in some cheap country, etc. etc. I'm taking the steps to make that happen, and she hasn't. The dream hasn't changed, but her attitude has consistently remained pessimistic to the possibilities.
FWIW, both of us are late 20's and in stable jobs. We've been engaged for over a year now, although no major plans towards marriage have been made (going back to our home country to get hitched is her requirement, and there's no telling when that will happen).
MeFi's, does your spouse have a much different ambition level than you? How have you overcome that gap, or was it insurmountable? I know the story how the only person you can change is yourself - but surely there are ways to encourage, assist, etc.?