A Rarely Mentioned Relationship Sin That Bulldozes Couples
It is highly destructive.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading blogs, Medium articles, and Quora posts. I’ve seen all manner of dating advice.
Like you, I’ve read the common ones about avoiding temptation, not taking each other for granted, putting in the work, maintaining independence, communication, and trust.
But there is one problem that destroys countless relationships, particularly long-lasting relationships and marriages. And dating experts never seem to mention it.
It isn’t cheating. It doesn’t involve any violence or abuse. Typically, it actually comes from a good place too, a place that should be celebrated and appreciated.
I’ll give you an example of someone who exemplifies avoiding this cardinal relationship sin. There are a few others like him, but he is a great, somewhat less recognizable prototype to model after.
I’m guessing most of you don’t know who this is.
His name is Stedman Graham.
He is an American Businessman. He is an author and speaker. He is not a celebrity. But he has attained professional success by any reasonable measure, having made his own money and achieved notable status within the business community.
This is what he had to say about his partner:
“I want her to succeed and be as successful as she possibly can.”
“I am not threatened by her fame, her money or her success. That’s not how I define myself.
And can you guess who she is?
For the past 30-years, Graham has been the partner of one of the most successful people in history and one of the wealthiest women in the world today, Oprah Winfrey.
Throughout their relationship, he’s only visited her studio a handful of times. He has never sought to be on camera or profit off of her fame. Through the decades, he has been the behind-the-scenes rock in her life.
He has lived his own focused life, growing his own career in his own lane, not concerning or measuring himself against the metrics of his partner.
As of 2020, the modern family has long been constituted by two-career households. Often, when one person’s career takes off and the other’s stagnates, it creates a rift in the relationship.
Success can be a blood diamond — envy, one of its facets.
Although this rift happens with both genders, it tends to be exacerbated when the woman’s career takes off. Men often feel threatened when they are with a woman who is more successful than they are. The weaker sides of our masculinity begin to speak to our insecurities. Our faith in our own abilities becomes questioned. Our sense of self-worth becomes irrationally challenged.
In a moment when we should be grateful for our partner's achievements, we become resentful, jealous and angry. We look to point blame at what they did or didn’t do that hurt our own progression.
What I’m going to say to you next might sound highly cliche but the words aren’t hollow: it takes a strong man to stand behind a powerful woman. A shocking number of men can’t take it and torpedo relationships with their behavior.
Are you strong enough to stand beside the throne? Or would you destroy it so that neither could sit?
I have always respected Stedman for how he’s stood beside Oprah, rooting for her, while also living his own life too, without clawing to get into the spotlight. There is strength in a show of quiet support. It is a sign of security and love.
Be like Stedman. Be supportive. Celebrate each other’s success.
And don’t commit the cardinal sin of competing with your partner.