Marriages come in all shapes and sizes.
If you are married or are planning to marry an entrepreneur, then get ready for the ride of your life. As spouses of entrepreneurs already know, there are some things about being married to an entrepreneur that just come with the territory. For instance, you can't expect your honey to be home for dinner every night, be at all of your kids' sporting events, or know what tomorrow will bring. An entrepreneur is a special breed of person. Risk is the name of the game and it takes a lot of time and focus.
Sometimes, that time and focus takes away from family time with you and your kids. It can be hard to see your friends have a more “normal" family life where more time is spent together as a family. Before you start to feel jealous or that the relationship is too hard, try to put things into perspective. More than likely, you married your significant other because of their optimism and drive. You also know that your honey probably wouldn't be happy in a predictable desk job, right? Right.
So instead of feeling defeated, sit down with your spouse and have a meeting of the minds. Get on the same page about common issues that will come up and make as much of a future plan as you are able to. Check in regularly as things change. Be patient and be flexible. While this type of marriage isn't always easy, it will definitely be exciting.
If you are married to an entrepreneur, here are 5 tips to help you have a healthy marriage:
Be a Constant Support System.
Your spouse will need to lean on you a lot. They will probably bounce ideas off of you at all hours of the day and night, welcome them. Take things a step further and write them down and date them in an idea journal. Don't roll your eyes at "yet another amazing idea" your spouse has, acknowledge them and give support. Maybe they won't pursue them all, but if you are married to an entrepreneur, be prepared to take in all of their hopes and dreams, even if for just a moment.
[Tweet "if you are married to an entrepreneur, be prepared to take in all of their hopes and dreams."]
Your spouse will need a listening ear when things are good and when things are bad. Try to listen without judgment and without worry. This will be hard, but know that ups and downs are normal. One day may be a pit of despair and a few days later, an unexpected miracle might happen.
While you are being a great sounding board for your spouse, be sure that you also have support. If your spouse can't always be there, rally a team behind you so you will have help when you need it. Perhaps extended family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. While your spouse will be happy to help as they are able, sometimes they just can't. So make sure you have some back up support so you don't feel like you are doing it all on your own all of the time.
Make Peace with the Weird Schedule.
Late nights, early mornings, working through lunch, weekends, holidays—unfortunately, that's a pretty normal work schedule for an entrepreneur. It can be hard and you may start to resent it. Resolve to not let it get the best of you. Know that your spouse wants to be there for you, but that it's hard balance that as they try to live their dream. Do your best to strike a balance. If he's going to work late all week, for example, agree to have him pick just one night that's for family only. It will require some give and take on the part of both of you, but it is well worth the effort.
Connect When You Can. Cherish Quality Over Quantity.
There may be times where your entrepreneur is able to spend extra time with you, be it during lunch, or even a whole day during the week. Even if it's last minute, be ready to jump on it. Connect when and where you can, even if it's just driving them to the airport or meeting them for lunch downtown. Look at these times together as fun adventures. Maybe even take a picture each time to remember. Perhaps you don't get the quantity of time together you would like, but resolve to make it as quality as possible.
Be Financially Savvy and Save for a Rainy Day.
One of the number one things married couples fight about is money and if you have a spouse who is an entrepreneur, finances may be a sticky situation at times. Typically entrepreneurs don't get paid regularly, and that can cause a big strain on your marriage. Work out your unique financial situation perhaps with a financial advisor, and definitely have a budget meeting between one another every week. The best thing you can do is save enough money to pay for three months of expenses so you always feel secure, even if your spouse's business fails—you'll have a little time to figure out what to do next.
Find Ways to Relax Separately and Together.
An entrepreneur life is downright stressful. Sure, the excitement is hard to beat and you may run on adrenaline for a while, but eventually it'll catch up with both of you. Be sure to find ways you can relax separately and also together. Meditation, yoga, exercise, sports, hiking, spending time in nature, reading, time at the beach, a weekend away, and many other things can help you unwind and decompress. During those times be sure to not let work get into your head. This is your time to let your mind and body rest and reassess how life is going for you.
When you are married to an entrepreneur, you will have unique challenges ahead of you. You may be in the middle of a storm some of the time, but at other times your lives will be amazing and even everything you have ever dreamed of. Sure, it will take a lot of work to get there and sometimes you'll ask yourself if it's all worth it. Don't worry, it will be.
Are you married to or dating an entrepreneur? What are some challenges you've faced and how have you overcome them? Share with us below!
Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages.