When my wife, Elisabeth and I are out together at large events, someone will inevitably say that it’s nice to meet the woman behind the man or “behind every great man is a woman.” Now I’m not offended by that and I don’t think she is either – however, I also don’t really agree with it.
I would change that expression to “beside every great man is a woman.” The key here is that I think that it’s much easier for someone to achieve success in business and in life when you have your life partner next to you in the journey. I sincerely doubt if I would be where I am without her and I’d like to think that she wouldn’t be where she is without me. That makes it a partnership. Partners walk side by side in life.
So, if you see the two of us together sometime, know that I won’t be offended if you say the traditional expression, but I’ll be very impressed if you say “beside every great man is a woman.” In fact, she’s pretty amazing in her own right so I wouldn’t even mind if you said, “beside every great woman is a man.”
Happy Valentines Day.
I totally get the issues relating to gender and life partner expressions and I’m also good with anyone putting whatever gender they want to put into this expression. That said – I’m a man and my wife is a woman and so I am looking at this in my context – feel free to alter it to your own context.