Marriage is a union and bond that, in its own way, completely changes the lives of the people involved. Marriage brings together two people from different backgrounds, families, and environments. It creates a new family unit, one in which a couple can grow and change together. The challenge, though, is compromising and learning how to share everything in life.
For an entrepreneur, life is a pattern of uncertainty. Risks are taken and benefits are reaped. The life of someone who makes a living from taking risks can bring a unique set of characteristics and qualities to a marriage. On the other hand, making a long-term commitment to something or someone is often uncharacteristic of an entrepreneur; the lifestyle requires the ability to change, move, and shift quickly at times. This lifestyle can prove a hindrance to anything lasting for an extended amount of time.
Living “the Life”
An entrepreneur is one who operates one or more businesses and typically enters into these business ventures at greater financial risk than the usual investor. The life of an entrepreneur is typically one of personal adventure and a desire to see and do new things. Marriage can complicate this lifestyle, especially if one or both partners desire to begin a family.
The standard of living for a businessperson is risky; there may not be a constant flow of income. There is no guarantee that what is financially available today will be available tomorrow. The hours worked and time spent away from home or working from home can vary and limit the person’s availability to engage socially with others. This type of lifestyle works for someone who is single but can provide a number of obstacles for a marriage.
How does marriage translate into this kind of lifestyle?
Marriage for an entrepreneur can be a difficult transition to make; likewise, it can be challenging for a spouse to remain supportive and encouraging. The characteristics of a traditional marriage seem to be in stark contrast with those of an entrepreneur’s life. Traditionally, marriage would require financial security, stable living arrangements, and the ability to be fully engaged in the relationship while in the home in order to remain a successful and satisfying relationship. More and more frequently, however, individuals with traditional careers are leaving the stability their jobs “chase the dream” and invest in an idea that may lack the same kind of security. This instability and uncertainty must be made clear and communicated effectively in order for both partners to understand the unique expectations that accompany the lifestyle.
Characteristics of a supportive spouse
The personality type and intrinsic qualities of someone who is married to an entrepreneur are essential to the success of such a marriage. The qualities of each individual facing this kind of marriage are different, but there are a few necessary qualities that spouses of entrepreneurs share. First, a spouse must be understanding of time constraints and commitments. An entrepreneur will have limitations and not always be available to follow through with social engagements; a spouse might find themselves spending hours at social events and outings alone rather than as part of a couple. Conversely, a spouse may be asked to regularly attend events that will benefit the business venture of their partner. Though it is okay to say no, it is essential for a spouse to be willing to attend and be supportive. Second, a spouse should be willing and able to use unorthodox methods of addressing challenges and communicating affection. The entrepreneur will not always be available for traditional methods of communication – a spouse who can make adjustments as needed can provide a level of support not offered by others. Third, a spouse who is flexible in every area of life is one who can successfully find joy in a marriage with unpredictability. To be flexible and adventurous is beneficial to any marriage, but especially to one that regularly faces uncertainty.
The nature of compromise
While the qualities and personality traits of a supportive spouse are good for an entrepreneur to review before committing to a long-term relationship with someone, it is important for there to be consistency in compromise as well. To ensure a successful marriage, the businessperson must figure out how to dedicate time to the marriage and the spouse without the distraction of investments. It can be very difficult to divide attention and step away from such a strong responsibility, but just as a supportive spouse is willing to be flexible, it is the responsibility of the entrepreneur to provide some kind of stability. This stability can come in the form of emotional security and closeness rather than by traditional means; flexibility does not mean the absence of connectedness. It is the responsibility of both partners to create and foster dependence upon one another for support and emotional satisfaction. If both are willing to compromise, the marriage, despite its many challenges, has the potential to be successful and quite possibly the greatest investment the entrepreneur makes in his or her lifetime.