Marriage and business aren’t easy, but with intention and focus, it doesn’t have to pull you apart.
“We’ve just grown apart,” Jeffrey told me yesterday. “It’s like I’m making strides and she’s just staying where she is. My business is growing, but my marriage is failing.”
Jeffrey is not alone. Entrepreneurs face this battle constantly. As the business launches or grows, we often expect our wives to accept our drive and focus and absence. Jeffrey thought his wife would be thrilled with the extra money, but he forgot that she wanted to be part of the process and not just reap the rewards.
Is a successful business and a successful marriage mutual exclusive? Can you not have one without the other?
You can have both, but nothing without a plan. Here are four things you can do to protect your marriage as your business grows…
1. Business Dates
Once a month, invite your wife on a date where you talk about business. You don’t have to do a line item audit, but you should give a solid overview. Be open without all the over the top promises like, “I just had a meeting with Mr. X. When this deal goes through it’s easy street from here on out.”
You might think you are getting her on board and excited, but if it falters, she’ll get nervous. Most women need security, just like we need support and belief. That comes best through honesty and not embellishment.
2. Copy Her on Some Emails
When good news comes through, and it’s appropriate to forward the email, then send it. It shows your inclusion and unedited correspondence. When a negative happens, it’s good to forward that as well so you’re not just sending sugar every time. And it’s totally fine to start the email with “really disappointed…”
If she’s in the know about the project from your dates, then she’s getting to share in the victory and the defeats. There’s less chance of growing apart when she’s part of the conversation.
3. Share Network Connections
Share the connections with guys AND gals. The guys are usually no big deal unless they have a well know bad reputation. Network connections with ladies can be tougher. Give your wife professional updates about any women you have regular business dealings with so she’s not shocked if she finds out.
A friend of mine got “outed” at an office party. He’d had several business dinners and late night events with a woman on his team. It was completely above board. But when Jill poked him at the party in front of his wife and said, “Soooooo I hear you and Betsy are having to ‘work’ a lot together!” it wasn’t received well.
Those surprises can be completely avoided by communicating regularly about contact and connections.
4. Celebrate the Wins & Soothe the Losses
When you close the deal, or launch the division, or get the raise… celebrate. Choose one of her favorite things to do. Don’t just make it about your win. It should be an “our” win.
On the other hand, when you don’t get the deal, the launch fails, the raise falters… grab some flowers and take them home. “Bad news. It all fell through.” She’ll ask about the flowers. “Because even when I lose, I still win because I have you.”
Your wife needs to know she is the most important part of your life. Bigger than the biggest commission. Your refuge during the biggest loss.
Photo: Flickr/ Glenn3095