When writer and director Ryan Coogler debuted his blockbuster Rocky Balboa film, “Creed,” the 29-year-old’s other half, Zinzi Evans, was right by his side. Evans is a film industry rising star in her own right. She produced the short film “Locks,” which Coogler wrote and directed.
But, when both parties have found success — or are working toward it — it may become harder to stay focused on their relationship.
Coogler created a similar storyline in Creed’s plot. Adonis (played by Michael B. Jordan) is on a professional mission, but so is his leading lady Bianca (played by Tessa Thompson). For Coogler, this is what the relationship dynamic can be like as more and more women aggressively pursue their career endeavors.
“What does love look like in the mid-2010s?” Coogler said in an interview with Comicbook.com.
“…she’s trying to make it in her thing, he’s trying to make it in his things and they’ve got to line up because if they don’t, then it won’t work out.”
Certified marriage and family therapist Nikhol B. Jackson understands the type of feelings that can arise in this increasingly common situation.
“Difficulties that often occur are feelings of neglect, resentment, loneliness, arrogance and self-doubt,” Jackson said. “A lack of sense of control or involvement typically creates those feelings.”
So, how do you and your partner align your separate lifestyles into one? Here are five ways that people successfully get — or keep — power couple status:
1. They build strong, supportive structures for their relationships.
Support really does go both ways. It’s important to make sure that your partner truly does feel supported, and it’s essential to give him or her the space to actually support you back.
“Supporting your mate does not mean you become a doormat and sit back and watch the world go by,” Jackson said. “It means you encourage them, praise them, assist when and where needed, constructively criticize when needed, etc. Supporting cannot be done without the opportunity and space to do so. The other spouse has to provide a safe space so that the support is welcomed.”
2. They manage their time.
Time is often described as a precious resource because once it’s spent, it never comes back. Both pushing toward your career goals and building a relationship requires a great deal of time, but you’ll have much more of it if you can recognize what activities are actually worth doing.
“I think that there is a difference between being successful and being busy,” Jackson said. “A person can be extremely busy, going here and there doing a number of things but not really successfully completing anything and excelling. Understanding which category that you and your mate fall into is key.”
3. They prioritize.
No matter how overused the terms may be, both time management and planning can keep you and your partner happy.
“My husband and I make it a priority to have date night at least one night a month,” Jackson said. “We have an awesome support system, which helps in this area, so often times we get an entire weekend to ourselves. It may sound cliché but you have to make time for the things that are important.”
4. They speak up.
When something is going on in your relationship that you don’t like or understand, it’s time to speak up.
“Communication is key,” Jackson said. “It is easy to discuss the good and comfortable stuff: schedules, planning, project ins and outs. We often times shy away from discussing the uncomfortable things. If there is an issue address it immediately. Small problems become mountains when left undressed and are much harder to overcome.”
5. They can work together, but are clear on expectations.
Collaborating with a partner who is in a related field can be a really good way to spend time together and provide added support, but avoid being in situations that may cause extra drama that you’ll likely take home with you. Clarity can help.
“Clearly identify roles, responsibilities, and duties,” Jackson said. “Leave no room for assumption.”