The saying: "you can't have it all" definitely resonates with many people—especially entrepreneurs. You put in long, seemingly endless hours, you sacrifice time you'd otherwise spend with your family, not to mention your spouse. So how can you possibly keep a happy and healthy marriage and still make a go of your company?
You may tell yourself that you're putting in those hours and sacrificing that time to make a living and thereby provide your family with the basics of life, as such those who don't get to spend quality time with you are going to have to learn to live with it, right? But this ‘all or nothing' scenario is not necessarily the way that things have to go. Sure, you do have to make some sacrifices as a business owner, but do you have to sacrifice everything? Do you have to undermine the fabric of your marriage to see your company succeed?
Stop and Figure Out What You Want
There has to come that moment, particularly if your marriage is starting to feel the strain, where you take a step back—both of you—and determine what it is that you truly want. Don't be misled by this concept of the American Dream that tells you to go out there get rich, have the McMansion and live happily ever after. That dream is based upon a very narrow materialistic view. Rather, what do you and your spouse need to be happy in the most fundamental sense? Is making a ton of money worth it if it means you lose friends, your health suffers, and you start to let go of your marriage in favor of long nights at the office?
Many business owners in taking stock of the different areas of their life, may find that they score off the charts when it comes to certain categories; things such as career, intellect, social connections. And this is certainly great—but what about other key areas of life, areas that in some ways are even more significant…
A common scenario: an entrepreneur is so wrapped up in the business that they miss out on major life milestones: anniversaries, birthdays, family vacations, even sadly in some cases, the birth of a child. Their business becomes their identity and as such, they are obsessed with making sure that the business succeeds. A single-mindedness takes over and thus relegates family and relationships to a lower rung on the ladder of life. Their one driving ambition is to grow, to be bigger and better than the next company. This type of mindset has a way of blurring priorities.
Where Does Your Marriage Stand?
Think about your business. What have you done thus far within the frame of that business to make a go of it? In other words, what has helped you to succeed as an entrepreneur so far? For instance, maybe you read books and attend courses that are designed to help you develop as a business owner. Perhaps you have sought out help in the form of mentorship. Or maybe it's all about the vision you have for the company and the values you consequently implement. These are all critical to a healthy business and a profitable bottom line. Now, what if you applied this same logic to your relationship.
You work incredibly hard to ensure that all runs smoothly as far as the company is concerned—you have to be willing to put this same level of work into your relationships, particularly your marriage, at least if you want that to be successful as well. The same formula for success that's relevant to your business could work wonders for your marriage.
As far as vision and values, for example, see yourself as that caring, romantic and helpful partner. Live the values that make a marriage work. And take the time to communicate daily with your spouse regarding your long term vision for the marriage.
From a mentorship standpoint…Are there couples you know who've been together for a long time and are still making it look easy? Talk to them, get their insights regarding how to navigate work and family. Ask them about what makes a marriage successful. You'd be amazed at what you can learn just by talking to people. Plus, keep in mind, spending time with people who have what you hope to emulate—in this case, a terrific marriage—will ultimately help you to have the same.
Your spouse may even be more susceptible to talking to other womenmen about some of the issues the two of you might be experiencing. You want to move forward, you want to make progress and getting help from others who can empathize with your situation is a great first step.
And then, of course, there's the academic side to bettering your relationship. There are a ton of helpful books out there on things like communication and compromise. It's not weak to read up on the subject or even attend workshops and classes it will only serve to make the marriage stronger in the long run. There are coaches and mentors out there who specialize in working with couples facing just this type of situation. Reach out, see what you discover and then use it to reinvest in your relationship.
Finally, you need to make the marriage a priority—just as much as you do your business. Think about it in these terms, with your company you probably adhere to a pretty rigid schedule, you have weekly or even daily meetings, you follow a day to day routine and your business operates accordingly. To some degree, you may need to do the same within the framework of your marriage. That is to say, make a schedule, stick to it. Take time every day to have meaningful conversations, have a regular date night; whatever you do, the message has to be: you're a priority and I will make time for us.
You Can Have It All
In your business life, what strategies do you enact that can be used for your marriage—this is your starting point. This is where you say, yes, I can have both a thriving business and a great marriage. Apply formulas that work in one area of your life to other areas of your life.
This will probably take some time. A happy marriage is not made overnight, neither is a successful business. You have to work hard at both, but the hard work will make the reward that much sweeter.
If you need to hire more personnel or buy new equipment that will alleviate your long hours running the business, First Union Lending can help. We offer products from equipment financing to short term loans. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you!