Today we talk about how to love your spouse while running a business. One of the biggest problems of running your own business is that it’s all-consuming. It can take over your life and every priority in it. You see this business as your vehicle for supporting your family, how you’re going to retire, etc. Your spouse and your kids take a back seat and you don’t see the point in changing the order in those priorities. This choice puts a huge emotional wedge between you and your spouse. Essentially you’ve got this ‘mistress’ – your business – that gets all the fruits of your time and attention. Your spouse gets whatever time and attention you have leftover, and on top of that you don’t let them in to help you get what you need either.
Divorce rate is high…
..and divorce rate among couples with a business may even be higher statistically. We all have different ways of communicating our different needs. If we’re trying to just serve the business, and not the connection, the relationship is just going to fall apart. Eventually they are going to start to feel resentment and feel abandoned. You have to remember that what you’re doing is not as important as who you’re doing it for.
False Belief: I can combine work with my relationship.
For example, you go out to dinner but take the phone with you. During dinner you are constantly checking your phone, responding to texts, or taking calls. You can’t really do two different things well at the same time. You can sit next to someone for an entire day but at the end of the day you don’t really know how they’re feeling or what’s going on with them. It’s very important for you to delineate your time. Keep your relationship time separate from your business time.
False Belief: I don’t want to stress out my spouse by involving them in my business
The reality is if you cut your family off from your business that can have a much more negative effect on your relationship. You think that running a business is stressful, and therefore you’re excused. You’re short with your spouse or kids. You say, ‘If we can just get through this hump then it will all get better.’ How often does your family hear ‘next month it will better’ or ‘it’s just around the corner’. Everyone gets disillusioned. Being open with your family about the cause of the stress is much better. Communicating with them what isn’t working, allowing your spouse to know what’s going on and offer some input or suggestions, this is a far better way to deal with the stress, and has a much more positive impact on your relationship.
Rules of Engagement
A great way to love your spouse (and your kids!) is to create Rules of Engagement. It’s very common and natural for you and your spouse or kids to not see eye to eye. It also so happens that you aren’t perfect and you make mistakes! Rules of Engagement help you prevent those situations when you say those words you can’t take back. When you’re arguing there is a right way to argue, and it can be very beneficial to have rules.
First, focus on what has actually been done, not how you perceive it. Then as you’re discussing it, have rules you both follow such as: no yelling, no interrupting, really listen, no sarcasm or hyperbole (like ‘you ALWAYS’ do such and such), don’t blow things out of proportion, no swearing, no mimicking, no demeaning or calling names, and no making faces. After you’ve each said your peace, forgive and then forget it. Don’t let it fester and wait for an opportunity to bring it up again – once it’s done it’s done. Apologize sincerely, offer forgiveness and then reconnect. Reconnecting after an argument is CRUCIAL to healing.
Making your spouse and your kids a priority and knowing how to love on them when they need you is more important than anything going on with your business. Remember that you started your company so that you could provide a better life for yourself and them, so don’t get caught up so much in the business that you forget that goal. Neglecting the needs of your spouse in favor of attending to the needs of your business could mean you end up with a business and no spouse to share it with. So remembering your goals, dedicating time to your spouse and family, and developing rules for resolving conflict and disagreement can mean the difference between your spouse feeling loved and unloved.
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