WOMEN
09/05/2013 09:32 am ET

8 Things Power Couples Do Differently

AP

Power couples can seem like intimidating forces, managing to have their own wildly successful careers as well as relationships. Though Beyonce and Jay Z are probably just superhuman, the secrets of how most power couples make it work aren't reserved for the mega-rich and famous.

Here are eight things power couples do right:

1. Brainstorm together. In a January 2008 Fortune magazine feature, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates explained how much he depends on his wife Melinda's opinion. "Melinda and I would brainstorm about [the company]," He said. "You always benefit from your key confidante telling you, 'You think so-and-so stepped on your toes? Well, maybe he didn't mean to. Maybe you're wrong.'"

bill and melinda gates

2. Work to improve themselves, individually and as a pair. In a March 2013 interview, Will Smith explained how he makes things work with his wife of 17 years, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith:

When we got started, we both truly connected on wanting to be better. That’s where it all started. There were other people that we were dating and other people that we were attracted to but there was a commitment to constantly be better that was what we connected on. Our whole world and relationship was that, “Hey, I know that I may not be all of that today but what I’m not going to do is lay around and not keep working to be better to deserve you.”

3. Support each others' pursuits and ambitions fully, even if that means taking turns. Sheryl Sandberg famously wrote in Lean In:

When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.

The Clintons have certainly supported each other's political careers. While Bill Clinton was running for and serving as president, Hillary supported him -- and it was his turn to champion her during her 2008 campaign. He may well be back in that supporting role during the 2016 elections... here's hoping.

bill and hillary clinton

4. Exercise together. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and her husband Zachary Bogue, an investor and former lawyer, make time to work out together. According to a profile of Mayer in the September 2013 issue of Vogue, the pair run half-marathons together and enjoying hiking and skiing.

5. Get divorced when it stops working. Sometimes a marriage just doesn't work out, and it's always best to know when it's time to let go. Power couples who have decided their relationship wasn't working any more include the insanely talented Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, who split up in September 2012 after nine years of marriage. "I'm 43, and I've found my happiness -- which is my kids," Arnett said in an interview with Details magazine. As Nora Ephron once wrote, "Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from."

amy poehler will arnett

6. Avoid the limelight. Bill and Melinda Gates famously refused to talk to the press about their relationship, and a 1995 Seattle Times article reveals the extent to which the Gateses protected their privacy: "While I understand that your readers may find my story interesting because of the man I married, it is a personal decision for me not to share information about our relationship or my personal life with the world at large," Gates allegedly wrote to a reporter who wanted an interview shortly after she married Bill. Melinda didn't give her first public interview until 2008, when she finally broke her silence to discuss the Gates Foundation.

7. Follow their own interests -- even when they work in the same field. FLOTUS and POTUS are great examples of this as lawyers-turned-politicians. Though she has a number of official duties, Michelle Obama has often focused on her own passion projects, from Lets Move! to LGBT rights.

michelle barack obama

8. Compromise on scheduling. Stella & Dot founder Jessica Herrin has been married to her husband Chad, the VP of a Bay Area software company, for 14 years. She told the Huffington Post that the pair make sure their work and travel schedules complement each other:

[My husband and I] have [also] evolved our careers over time to work together as a family. His used to involve a lot more travel, and he switched his role so that we weren't going in two different directions at the same time.

What other things do successful power couples do differently? Comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter @HuffPostWomen!

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