It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
This week I asked our panel of experts about marriage.
We talked about balance with our kids, but what about your
marriage? How do you, as an entrepreneur, keep a healthy marriage?
It's so much easier for me to put off time with my husband because he doesn't need me. Unlike the kids or business, there aren't immediate consequences to ignoring him. (Although there are obviously long-term consequences.)
In talking with friends who own their own businesses, it seems that it can be especially hard to stay motivated to your marriage when your spouse isn't as passionate about your business as you are.
What are your thoughts about these things?
Shannon Cherry of ShannonCherry.com says:
Well, since you already know my thoughts on balance in general from a previous Expert Briefs (http://www.nicoleonthenet.com/7418/balancing-work-family-how-the-heck-do-you-do-it/), so I won't go into it here.
I think having a partner in your life is even harder to keep up, especially when you run a business and have kids. It's easy to get taken advantage of and vice versa.
After all, most of us have a pretty full line-up of events, activities, tasks, and obligations – and very little white space for extra time. I can;t help up look at my hubby in bed sometimes and just say, “Hello stranger!”
But there are ways to make this work. First is before you schedule lots of ‘family time', schedule time for the both of you!
Now one benefit I have is that Matt, my spouse, works from home too. So we regularly schedule lunches out of the house to reconnect. Now you may not have the luxury of meeting for lunch, but you can plan a date, right? Can't leave the house? Tuck in the kiddos and rent a movie or make a special dinner.
It won't work out all the time,as kids tend to get sick or injured just as we relax. But the key is to try – and keep trying. Having that connection with your partner is key to your livelihood, both personally and professionally.
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of JeanetteCates.com says:
My first piece of advice is to choose a great marriage partner. I lucked out the first time and have been happily married for 41 years. But if it's too late to choose a new one…
If you have kids at home you already understand the challenges of creating ANY time for your partner. So you must be very careful to not let the business eat up the “away from the kids” time. It's tempting, but don't go to your computer, even if all you two are doing is watching TV together or reading in the same room. Sometimes just being there is all that you need. I try to not work during the evening, but go back to my computer after he goes to bed (I'm the night owl, he's the early morning person). So even when we had kids he got everyone up and ready in the morning and I stayed up late for dates.
My husband does not share my passion for entrepreneurship. But he listens and sometimes he makes suggestions. Mostly I know he's just letting it go in one ear and out the other unless I tell him we need to meet on something. Then we go to a restaurant where there are no home-based distractions and I take an agenda.
We try to go out at least once a week for dinner with the intent of just spending time together. (and I try not to talk about business) Even when we had three daughters at home, we took one night out each week (before they invented the concept of “date night”).
It all boils down to two things: Be here NOW – when you're with him/her, BE there.
And remember who you came with. When the kids are grown and leave home; when you decide to retire – the one person who will still be there is your partner. Take care of that relationship above all else.
Ronnie Nijmeh of PLR.me (< -click for a special free offer from Ronnie) says:
First, I've got to say this:
There's no such thing as balance. It's all about integration.
Balance is all about making things “equal” or “fair”… as if life is a scale that needs to be precisely 50-50 in order to “work.” Balance stems from a scarcity mindset – an “either-or” mentality.
On the other hand, integration is all about blending work and family so we can have a meaningful experience in both areas of our life. It's about being flexible with our hours and maybe starting later or ending earlier to accommodate our spouse or family. There's this great Work & Family Foundation that talks all about this.
I think I just de-bunked an age-old myth about “balancing” work and family. 🙂
Here's the beauty of being an online entrepreneur: We can integrate our work and family life far easier than your typical 9-to-5 employee.
We have the ability to nearly seamlessly go from work to life, then back to work, several times over the course of a day.
And that flexibility is something that my wife LOVES about what I do…
Need to go to a 10AM doctor's appointment? No problem.
Want to flee for a spontaneous lunch date? Done and done.
Want to go to a coffee shop and do some work together? Sounds like a plan.
But if I'm swamped, I communicate that to her and she'll give me the time and space I need to get things done. And if I need a pick-me-up, I know I can count on her to inspire me and give me a big boost – and vice versa.
The bottom line: My wife and family always comes first. I figure, I can always catch up on projects and emails, but I can't catch up on quality time with her.
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
I dug up another oldie but goodie. This is an article that I wrote for a magazine in 2005. 🙂
I hope you like it!
Is Your Business Hurting your Marriage?
Remember to Brush your Teeth
* Note: In this article, I’m going to refer to husband, but this applies to anyone in a relationship.
In the last 6 months since I started writing here, I’ve written about ways you can organize your business day and your workspace, how to take your business seriously, taming your tension, and most importantly how important it is to take care of yourself.
But, what about your Husband or Partner? Are you taking care of your relationship, too?
Nicole, What in the World Does this Have to do With my Business?
I know, I know. This is a magazine about working from home. But, since we work from home, oftentimes we tend to be doubly busy and we let work interfere with our marriages.
As if life isn’t busy enough – with paying bills, Dr. Appointments, shuttling kids around, laundry and meals, we try to add a business into the mix.
Are we nuts?! Being a mom is hard enough.
The problem in all of this is that:
- The bills can’t wait.
- The kids can’t wait.
- The dog barking outside can’t wait.
- The car repairs can’t wait.
- The roof leak can’t wait.
The only thing that can easily be pushed aside is our husbands. We think “He’s an adult. He’ll understand.”
I say he deserves more. You don’t want to wake up one day and find he’s tired of being pushed aside. He’s tired of being treated as less than your friends you find time to chat with online (while you’re working), less than Grey's Anatomy (that you find time for every week), and he’s tired of being brushed off because of a project that “has to be done”.
I did an interview today. The topic was Romance. I talked about ways to Romance Your Husband – and why it is so important that we do. I'd like to share it with you.
Are you Brushing your Teeth every Day?
The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife. Barbara De Angelis
You brush your teeth at least twice a day every day. It’s basic maintenance to keep them from developing problems that require a lot of attention, time, money and pain.
Apply this to your marriage. Do you put daily effort into your marriage?
Imagine if you only brushed your teeth twice per year – on Valentine’s Day & your Anniversary. Or even once per month. How healthy would your teeth be? GROSS! Yet, we think that it’s ok to only Romance our Marriages once or twice per year? It just doesn’t work that way.
So, What Can you Do About It?
Romance is simple and easy. And, Romance can be FREE.
These things don’t cost a cent:
- Going on a walk.
- Listening to him
- Making him coffee in the morning
- Turning off the light for him when he falls asleep on the couch
- Packing a love note in his lunch
- Letting HIM choose the movie you watch
This is a rather old-fashioned statement, but I’ll tell you why I think it’s interesting.
It was a wife's duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband, whether it was politics, books, or a particular dish for dinner.
Although I disagree with “It was a wife’s duty”, I do think that it is a loving gesture to express interest in the things your husband tries to share with you.
For instance, I am not a fan of NASCAR. My husband is. Where I just see cars driving in circles, he sees … something interesting. He tells me all the stories about the drivers and the mechanics behind the cars.
I have a few options.
1. Tell him my “give-a-damn” is busted.
2. Tolerate the stories to get him to shut up.
3. Show him my love by expressing an interest in what he’s telling me about.
No. I don’t love NASCAR. But, I do love my husband. I am just glad that he even tries to talk with me about it. The day he gives up on trying to talk with me about his interests… I’ll be worried.
Your Husband, Your Friend
A husband is a guy who tells you when you've got on too much lipstick and helps you with your girdle when your hips stick.
Your husband is your partner for the rest of your life. Hopefully, by “brushing your teeth” every day, you’ll be nurturing a friendship that is solid and comfortable.
In the interview that I did today, she asked if Romance was just for the young. Personally, I am more wowed by seeing two elderly people looking at each other with love after being together for many year of marriage than anything else.
Last summer, my husband and I attended his Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary party. They played the song “Remember When” and the entire room burst into tears. That’s what Romance is all about.
Here's the song in case you don't know it:
My goal in writing this article was to make sure that we all keep our priorities straight. I know working from home is so important for us. We want to be successful. Just make sure the cost isn’t too high in the process.
And here’s a little quote to wrap up.
“Romance does not need to sweep you off your feet. Sometimes it just brings you your slippers.” – Nicole Dean
It’s Your Turn.
So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What’s your best tip for keeping your marriage a high priority in your life – even when running a business?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PS. Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs: