When you take a closer look at divorce data in the USA and Canada, you won’t find a special report on entrepreneurs anywhere. Seems no one pays attention to the fact that high percent of entrepreneur marriages are falling apart. However, if you talk to an experienced divorce attorney, they will have a lot of things to say on this topic.
Divorce lawyers estimate that entrepreneur divorce rate is five or ten percent higher than the regular one. If we take that divorce rate in the USA is about 38% that would mean that entrepreneur divorce rate varies between 43% and 48%. This is extremely close to 50%. So, around half of entrepreneur marriages are doomed.
Should you be scared?
Fortunately, Trisha Harp, founder of the Harp Family Institute (HFI) dedicated her life to studying the effects of entrepreneurship on relationships. We studied her research, and came up with the following pieces of advice:
Financial problems are common
Trisha’s study has shown that 87 percent of questioned entrepreneurs experienced cash flow problems at some point in their new career. During these financial difficulties, another thing occurred. Sex life in their marriage significantly decreased. This might not sound like a surprise to you because every couple’s sex life has its ups and downs, but if I tell you that money and sex are the most common reasons for divorce, perspective drastically changes.
Still, the fact is when Trisha asked entrepreneur’s spouses if they would still marry an entrepreneur even after they knew this painful truth – 88% said yes. This sounds comforting enough.
Majority of people are ready to go through all of these problems with their partner. Even though entrepreneurship might seem like a roller-coaster sometimes, couples say that they felt like they are on a journey together and that they should hang tight, which made them feel closer to each other.
Starting a business together might be the key
Studies have shown that entrepreneurs who started their business with their spouses and shared their family and professional goals, were more satisfied than the ones who didn’t. Sharing business goals and responsibilities with your spouse will make you 17% happier while sharing family goals brings 27% more happiness.
However, setting shared family goals might be even more important, because 98% of couples who did things this way reported they were still in love with their partner.
Share your concerns
Entrepreneurs who share both positive and negative news about their business on a daily basis with their spouse will gain more of their partner’s trust. This behavior will increase their spouse’s belief that they are capable enough to deal with business related problems and succeed.
Entrepreneurs who choose to keep their business and personal life completely separate and therefore don’t share any news with their spouse will cause frustration, suspicion, anxiety, and impatience.
Sharing on a regular basis helps your partner identify with your company too, calling it “our” instead of only “your” firm.
Being on the same team could save your marriage
Supporting each other instead of turning against each other when tough times come is the best thing you can do. No one can tell you exactly what showing support means, that depends on your and your partner’s needs.
However, asking pointed questions like “When you’re stressed out because of your/our company, what can I do to make you feel supported?” is always a good idea.
Some people like to talk things through; some like to be hugged while some simply prefer to be left alone. All of those options are legitimate, just make sure that you don’t do what you assume your partner would want, but what he/she really does want.
Entrepreneurs do appreciate their spouses
Here comes a paradox. Entrepreneur’s spouses most commonly ask for divorce because they feel neglected. On the other hand, study shows that entrepreneurs feel a significant level of gratitude for everything their partner does for them. The problem is in the middle.
An entrepreneur misses a chance to show feelings while a spouse doesn’t realize how important he/she is to the success of both their marriage and their business.
Directly showing your appreciation counts. Thank your partner for the little things they do every day for making your life easier – like cooking dinner or printing out some important documents for you. Be specific in your gratitude.
Bonusinformation: In Trisha’s research, entrepreneurs and their spouses had to choose a few characteristics to describe partner’s personality. Even though they had more than 50 features to choose from, both sides repeatedly decided on the following: loving, intelligent, fun and honest.
This is another proof that people usually choose for partners the person who complements them. Entrepreneurs choose partners who can keep up with them, intellectually and emotionally, which is a solid foundation for good marriage.
So, you shouldn’t be that scared after all.