One Saturday afternoon while driving to the mall, I expressed concern to my husband over our relationship. Nothing was really wrong, we weren't arguing or fighting. In fact, we weren't really talking much at all -- that was the problem. More and more, I felt as though I were living with a roommate, not a lover.
We'd sit side-by-side on our recliners each night, but never said more than five or six words to one another. There was no connection.
On this drive I looked over and said, "Babe, I'm worried that if we don't get on the same page
"I've thought the same thing," he replied.
I was stunned. I felt like someone had sucker-punched me in the stomach. He'd thought the same thing? He'd considered divorce? What? When? Why hadn't he said anything? If I hadn't said anything, would he have?
I swallowed hard and said, "You have? OK, then it's a good thing we're talking now. What are you feeling?"
My husband isn't one to share his feelings or emotions, so I knew that I was making a tall request. And in a split-second, it was as if a dam had burst. He began telling me, firmly and deliberately, his perspective on our marriage.
Many of his concerns were valid. I'm not the best housewife. I've never enjoyed cleaning, which is why we have a housekeeper come twice a month. I do let my daughters dress themselves, which means that at times they walk out of the house looking a little crazy. I let dishes sit overnight and I'm ok with a pile of books and papers stacked at the bottom of the staircase.
And then he hit me with, "I resent your business."
"I know this could blow up for you, I can see that. But I don't see what your business is doing for our family," he continued on. As he spoke, I heard his words in slow motion.
How could he be saying this to me? I thought we were making progress? Just this past year we had been accepted into a couple's mastermind program and I thought he was finally starting to climb on board with the business -- our - business.
But I said nothing. I listened. I validated. And then I shared my own concerns about our marriage.
I felt lonely. I felt like I was a single mom who happened to live with the father of her children. I wanted a partnership. I wanted to know that we were equally sharing the load of maintaining a household and raising our children.
He wanted us to establish roles. I wanted him to be more present. He wanted to see the financial impact of my business. I wanted to talk to him about the numbers. He wanted to see the numbers, but wanted nothing to do with business talk.
In talking for nearly two hours, we realized we both wanted the same things, we just wanted them in different ways.
My story isn't unique. In fact, in speaking with many of my entrepreneurial colleagues, this story is the norm and the exceptions are those rare, unicorn-like partners who are completely supportive, 100% on board and who are interested in helping the business in any possible way.
The rest of us have to battle with a variety of scenarios ranging from not-at-all supportive to kind-of-supportive when it's convenient and everything in between.
So how do we divorce-proof our marriages while also following our passion and confidently building the business of our dreams?
The truth is, you really can't "divorce-proof" a marriage. There's no set it and forget it system. It takes intentional action every single day.
Notice I used the word action and not work. Too many people say marriage is work. And that's part of the problem. We're treating our relationships like business transactions -- scheduling, planning, creating to-do lists -- rather than treating them as opportunities for loving acts of kindness.
Here are three steps you can take to 'divorce-proof' your marriage and keep your business:
1. Establish Roles
When my husband looked at me and said, "There are certain roles men and women have," I literally rolled my eyes and considered slapping him in the face. What, are we back in the 1950's? I immediately made assumptions about what "roles" he believed I should fill.
But as we began talking, I realized he didn't necessarily mean that my role had to be the "traditional stay-at-home mom." More so, he meant that we each needed to identify what position we were playing on our marital team.
Who was the dishwasher? Who was the checkbook balancer? Who cooked and on what days? Who made the bed? Who made the coffee? Who took the kids to school and who picked them up? Who gave them baths and who read the bedtime stories?
Once we sat down and went through our list of responsibilities and divided up the workload there was an immediate shift in our energy. We both breathed a sigh of relief.
As you consider your own relationship, ask yourself, "Do we have our roles and responsibilities defined or are we just leaving it up to chance, assuming one of us will get it done?"
If you're each thinking the other should do it, but it's never been clearly defined, you're setting yourself up for disappointment and resentment. Make the change right now.
2. Have a Monthly Money Date
As an entrepreneur, you should already be having a monthly money date with yourself to make sure you know exactly how much you're bringing in and where it's all going. But if you're married, then you should definitely consider sequestering your love for a desert night out with your financial statement and look over the numbers together.
Not only does this keep you accountable as the CEO of your business, but it also helps your partner see how your business is (or can) impact your financial future.
A quick note: If you're not making money in your business yet, that's okay. Have your money date anyway and let your spouse know your projections for the following month or explain why you invested where you did and the return you expect to get. Transparency is key.
3. Make an Excuse
The most important of all, make an excuse to spend time with your spouse and to meet their needs! The chief complaint most partners make of their entrepreneurial mates is, "She's always on the phone or computer working."
Your partner only feels this way because his or her needs are not being met. If your spouse has ever said to you, "You work too much," it's their way of saying, "You're not giving me what I need."
Make an excuse every single day to do something for your partner. Shutting down your laptop an hour earlier, preparing a favorite meal or just sitting next to each other, holding hands while watching some mindless show. Think of your partner and do something that would make them feel thought of, loved and more important than your business.
Take action right now: Grab a sheet of paper and make a list of 30 simple things you could do for your partner. That's your action plan for this month! Remember, your time and attention are the most valuable gifts you can give the person you love. Be sure and add that in a few extra times.
I almost lost my marriage because I wasn't doing these 3 simple things. Ever since we've made these steps common practice in Casa de Luna, it's as though a new relationship has sprung. My husband and I are working together as a team, he's amazing with the kids - especially the few evenings each month when I have coaching calls - and overall, our house feels like a loving, supportive, encouraging home.
The key is infusing LOVE into each step. Because after all, isn't that what we all want most - to love and be loved?
Now over to you. Which of these steps will you implement first? Do you have your own story of how your business has threatened your relationship? Let's chat in the comments.
And if you're looking for more tips on how to confidently build your business and still have fulfilling relationships, be sure to sign up for my FREE We're covering everything from time management, leadership, decision-making and more! Click to sign up.