We discussed husbands and wives working together and I thought, since I was so much more interesting, I should be the one to elaborate on it here and took over the blog for today.
It’s an interesting place to be, the wife of an entrepreneur. It’s like living with a mad scientist who is obsessed with his creation. All he wants to do is grow it, improve it, talk about it, make it more efficient and so on and so forth. This is all fine and dandy until he wants to bring it to the breakfast table… on date night… and to bed. Over time his creation becomes an unwanted houseguest that you fantasize about leaving for dead on the side of the road in Mexico…possibly alongside your husband.
Instead, you dutifully continue to work, or on a good day, take a break to have margarita’s with your friends. Either way, you take a few deep breaths and come home recharged (albeit tired) and ready to love on the man you married and hopefully (men are you listening?) be loved on and appreciated in return.
If you are one of the “lucky” few to work with your mad scientist who does not have the luxury these sorts of breaks- my condolences to you and your sanity.
In our businesses, Mike has the vision, the 15+ years of experience on me (I married an old man) and the drive to get everything done and I as his wife and partner am his support. Not all marriage/business partnerships are like ours, but that’s how we do things.
Does that mean that I am “just an unimportant employee” who does what I am told with no say? Absolutely not! All successful people rely on the support of someone else, if not a team of people to get them to where they are today. And you can bet your sweet apples that person/team went through hell to get them there.
So, what is it like being Igor to Dr. Frankenstein and how the heck do ensure your marriage doesn’t turn into a monster? It’s a blessing and a curse. On one hand you get to be with the love of your life all day and you aren’t tied down by a third party dictating when you can leave, take vacations or just play hooky. On the other hand it’s 24/7 and you don’t get to come home to your husband and vent about what a jerk your boss is. It requires not only accepting being subservient at times, but embracing it and using it as your strength. What?! Embrace being subservient to your husband even when he’s being a (insert expletive here)?! Poppycock you say! Before you slam your laptop shut and kick a puppy in outrage hear me out…
Marriage is a delicate dance between love, leadership, respect, protection, encouragement, compromise and patience, and yes service. Just like any business or project, there are many parts that need to be played and they depend on each team member’s strengths (and weaknesses). Mike and I both have our strengths and weaknesses and we support one another in those strengths when it counts and forgive one another in our weaknesses. Mike’s strength is being a leader and having vision, tact however, not so much. My strength is patience, but if you asked me to build the infrastructure to a multi-million dollar business and or ever have to fire someone I would likely start losing hair in clumps and possibly have an aneurism. I appreciate the fortuitousness of this combination, but it doesn’t go without a tremendous effort to serve him especially when he’s less tactful than usual (this requires a lot of pride swallowing and thus the subservient part). Sometimes I fail miserably, but where I am weak, Mike’s strength to let go of anger and move on shines through and he is usually the first to apologize and say/do something very loving to break the cycle of negativity, even if I am completely in the wrong. If you can master this, you will find your life/business to be much easier.
I think that’s where a lot of married business owners get lost. They focus on the immediate gratification rather than the future goal, and if they don’t get it, they get incensed, discouraged, lose sight and sabotage their future for a short term “win” as the marriage/business falls apart.
When you work with your spouse you have raised the bar on the importance of good communication, boundaries, conflict resolution tactics and service. If you do nothing else, to be able to work with your spouse, set some time aside and come up with plans for all of those things I listed. They are the foundation that you will build your business on and if those are shaky you are in for a world of hurt.
Finally, we get a lot of our “rules” in marriage from our faith and the Bible. It has been a tremendous blessing in our lives to have a common belief in why we are here and why we should serve one another and serves as the ultimate measuring stick in conflict resolution. Check out Ephesians 5:22-28 if you want some real wisdom
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my soapbox blog. My next glass of wine is for you.