Dec 22, 2016 12:00 PM EST

How To Support Your Successful & Powerful Career Spouse: Lessons From 'Madam Secretary’s' Henry McCord

It can be challenging at times to be supportive of your spouse who has a successful, and in some cases, even powerful career. Time constraints, frustration, along with feelings of inadequacy, may come into play.

Henry McCord is a religious scholar working as a teacher, and he is married to Elizabeth McCord, the female Secretary of State in the hit TV series "Madam Secretary." This character knows how to make a supportive relationship, and there are three things to remember.

Firstly, one must be humble. Henry's happiness in life comes from the fact that he and his wife are doing what they love: raising wonderful children and changing the world right where they are standing, be that from the classroom or in the State Department.

He enjoys teaching and does not seek to burden himself with extra hours or a more glorious job. His humility makes him aware that he is first and foremost a father and a husband, and he embraces that; he readily prepares meals for the family, he supervises sleepovers, and goes to PTA meetings when his wife cannot.

As a result, he is able to support his wife from home, make school and house matters easier for her, and still do something he enjoys. A humble person is one who is willing to stand beside the successful spouse and not take the center stage. 

Secondly, be understanding. Sometimes, jobs can get in the way of personal lives and you find yourself waiting late at night for your spouse to return home from a busy day, or you find yourself shouldering everything in the rearing of your children.

When things get stressful, when it feels like you rarely get to spend any more time with your spouse, do not demand or make ultimatums. Your spouse may not have any control with his or her demanding work hours as much as you do.

Do what Henry does: visit your partner’s workplace, set up a lunch date, or schedule an impromptu five-minute walk outside the street of his or her building. You can use those moments to take a breather, to talk and settle some issues, and/or comfort each other with the other’s presence.

Lastly, be proud. This pride must be directed outwards and not inwards. Be proud of your spouse and do not let him or her be unaware of it. Remind him or her every now and again how proud you are of what he or she has achieved and is trying to achieve.

In addition, do not begrudge your partner his or her careers or successes. For instance, when Henry is reduced to being labeled as his wife’s arm candy, he takes it all in stride and good grace, not to mention amusement by tagging along diplomatic functions and impressing the socks off other foreign delegates when he uses his knowledge of history in cocktail conversations.

Be your spouse's touchstone in his or her rigorous work life by remembering these three things. However, none of these may be of any help unless your spouse is also willing to be just as understanding and compromising as you are.

So, always take the time to express your thoughts to each other. Henry always addresses certain things with his wife during their pillow talk at night or during rides to work, and you can too.

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