Happily ever after takes work. This is no exception, especially if you’re married to an entrepreneur.
When you first met your entrepreneurial spouse, you were probably charmed by their devotion to ideas, building their dreams and the inevitable hard work and strong work ethic it required. But the passion infused in entrepreneurial ventures can easily overwhelm your relationship. You may even start to feel like your marriage has taken a backseat to their dreams and aspirations.
The good news is that marriage is a partnership in which both spouses can make an effort to create a happy, fulfilling, and adventurous marriage. Here are several tips to help you stay happily married to an entrepreneur.
1. Create a balanced social life
Do you ever feel like your spouse is married to their business? It is not uncommon for spouses of entrepreneurs to feel this way. Many entrepreneurs, especially in the early-stage startup phase, bring their work home and haven’t figured out how to manage work-life priorities quite yet.
It is important to communicate your feelings. However, it’s also important to temper the social expectations you put on your partner. The fact of that matter is that their work is different. They don’t have the luxury of leaving the office at 4:59 sharp when they’re trying to build an empire.
Cut your spouse some slack, and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road. Instead of expecting them to be available whenever you want, spend more time with your friends and doing activities you enjoy. Plan a weekend getaway with your pals, spend more time with family, and pursue your own hobbies and dreams.
2. Learn to communicate better
Communication is essential for any marriages, especially an entrepreneurial one. Speak to your partner openly and honestly, and encourage them to do the same.
Strong and clear communication will help you resolve arguments as a team. It can also prevent any misunderstandings from snowballing out of control. “Part of good communication is being a good listener and taking the time to understand what it is your spouse wants and needs from you.”
When you communicate with your spouse, you also help build trust, which is essential to a successful marriage. Studies show that couples who trust one another enjoy more fulfilling relationships. Trust is especially important if you are married to an entrepreneur who is frequently on solo business trips.
3. Think like a couple
Marriage is a partnership. Consult and consider one another before making important decisions. Look for ways to be kind and considerate and make one another happier – even when you’re apart.
Also, watch your terminology. Research suggests that couples who think and speak in terms of “we” (“We love that restaurant!”) display more positive emotions and report higher levels of marital satisfaction than couples who use the term “I,” as in “I love that restaurant!”
The same research also notes couples are happier and less stressed when they spend quality time together. This means you both benefit when you’re cooking dinner with your spouse, hanging out on the couch, or enjoying a date night out on the town.
4. Commit to marital goals and regular check-ins
Entrepreneurs are no stranger to the importance of goals and check-ins when it comes to meeting milestones and creating a healthy company culture. A successful marriage requires the same level of intentionality.
Couples should have shared goals. “Many people have this misconception that once they get married, they will live happily ever after – on autopilot… Love brings you together, but conscious, continuous effort makes your marriage a success. This is where marriage goals come in.”
This doesn’t mean you and your spouse will have the same professional goals (especially if you aren’t working together), but your life goals should be similar. That is why it is so important to come together regularly for a marital check-in.
5. Develop a financial plan
It is nothing new that money disagreements are one of the main reasons couples end up in divorce court. Now throw an entrepreneur’s finances into the mix, and the situation can become more complicated.
The reality is a large majority of startups will fail. Depending on the stage of a business, finances can be tight or abundant. Meanwhile, seasonal businesses may cause abrupt income fluctuations, and the need to reinvest in a business is often a priority.
This is why it’s essential to establish your financial priorities as a couple and discuss financial goals on a regular basis. “If the topic of debt, bills, savings, and goals makes one or both of you uncomfortable or defensive, seek the help of a financial counselor or planner. It is important that both of you know where you stand financially and have common financial goals.”
6. Bonus: Focus on building your friendship
Researchers from the Vancouver School of Economics examined data on more than 358,000 people across two British surveys. They found that couples who view each other as best friends report higher levels of marital satisfaction.
“The well-being benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend. These benefits are on average about twice as large for people whose spouse is also their best friend.”
You can develop a deeper relationship and friendship with your spouse by spending quality time together. Schedule a regular date night, for example. Not only will it deepen your marital friendship, but it will also boost the romance factor. Couples who have regular date nights experience greater sexual chemistry and improved communication.
Meanwhile, physical intimacy is another important aspect of healthy marital relationships. Sexual satisfaction has been shown to heighten emotional intimacy. It also reduces stress (which can be elevated for entrepreneurs) and strengthens trust in a relationship.
When you’re married to an entrepreneur, mixing business and romance can be difficult. Follow these tips to strengthen your bond through the entrepreneurship journey.
Rachael Pace is a writer currently writing on behalf of Marriage.com. She enjoys creating motivational articles and essays to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to readers. Rachael also enjoys studying the evolving forms of loving relationships. She believes everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to overcome their challenges together.