Married to Your Business Partner? Here's How to Navigate Both Relationships.
Marriage is tough. It’s more difficult than anyone realizes from the outside looking in. No matter how perfect your dating relationship is, marriage takes things to a whole new level. Couples find out what their marriage is really made of when challenges arise. For some, pressure and friction strengthen their relationship. For others, small fractures that were previously hidden transform into active fault lines that cause irreparable damage.
Likewise, starting and managing a business is tough. It’s not nearly as sleek or sexy as they make it look in glossy business magazines. The work is gritty, the hours are long, and failure is plentiful. Few entrepreneurs make it past the first couple of years. Of those that do, there’s a long uphill battle ahead.
Marriage is tough enough on its own. So is business. When you combine the two, everything is ratcheted up a couple of notches. Emotions run rampant, the intensity is magnified, and the boiling point is significantly reduced. One little spark, and everything can go up in flames.
If you're a married team that also happens to run a business together, this probably isn't the optimistic anecdote you were looking for. However, it's just reality. A lot of married co-founders don’t make it. Either the business crumbles, the marriage falls apart, or both. However — and this is the hopeful aspect that you should cling to — many married partners thrive.
How do they do it?
Being married to your business partner is actually a pretty neat experience. It has the potential to make your relationship more rewarding than the average marriage. Here are some helpful tips and truths you can use to increase your chances of success in both areas of your life.
Identify and leverage each other’s strengths
You might be married, but you aren’t the same person. In fact, many marriages work because of the way differences in strengths balance out the weaknesses. It’s imperative that you work together to identify and leverage each other’s strengths.
Begin by aligning on core principles. On a different note, there are various factors that neither of you can compromise on if you want to run a successful business. Get very clear on what these are.
The next step is to identify each other’s strengths. The good thing about being married is that this exercise doesn’t require a significant amount of digging. It should be pretty apparent. The more challenging part is being honest about weaknesses. You and your spouse have to get comfortable calling out each other's weaknesses without making one another feel dumb or unworthy.
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