It can be hard to explain to others just how much is packed into a typical day of a woman entrepreneur. When your neighbor asks how things are going, your mind runs through an endless list of all the things you have done—and that’s just before lunch. To avoid an awkward conversation, you just respond with: “Busy.”
But it’s more than just being busy. It’s trying to juggle your biggest passion in life (your work) with the person you love the most (your husband) and all the other things you have to take care of day to day. It’s equal parts fulfilling and overwhelming.
The subject of being married to an entrepreneur is just emerging in the world of research, so be on the lookout for what it means to you and your marriage. In the meantime, what can you do now in order to make sure that your marriage is a priority while still pursuing your dreams? Here are tips on how to avoid the four major marriage pitfalls for women entrepreneurs.
1. Avoid Marital Chaos by Setting Clear Goals
Many entrepreneurs are creative or “big picture” people by nature. They tend to jump into things with both feet and never look back. This is such a great quality, but it’s important to realize the drawbacks. When you jump in with both feet, you tend to sideline the details and plan for all the possibilities.
If you are an entrepreneur and married, then it’s time to sit down with your spouse and set clear goals. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left, write down your work goals. On the left, right down your marriage goals. The idea here is to realize that both are important and essential to your life. Both need proper prioritization. Make sure to set clear goals such as, “Sign new client this month,” for work and “Go on a date with spouse each Friday night,” for marriage.
2. Avoid Overworking by Setting Time Boundaries
When you own your own business, you do more than just work. You live and breathe it. That means that when you’re on a roll, it’s hard to stop and do other things outside of work. But when you are married, it’s essential to leave work and focus on your spouse. That’s why you need to set time boundaries.
When will you leave work and be home for dinner? How much non-work time should you devote to your spouse in the evenings? When will you two go away for the weekend? Your spouse needs to be able to count on you to be there physically as well as mentally and emotionally. If you want your marriage and your business to thrive, be sure to set aside time to developing each in their own time.
3. Avoid Festering Issues by Keeping the Lines of Communication Open
When you’re at work, you face problems head on. That’s what an entrepreneur does. But what about at home? Sometimes if you have marital issues, it just feels easier to pretend things are fine, put your head down, and forge ahead. Avoidance is common for people who are super busy and don’t feel they have the emotional time or energy to deal with things that come up. But allowing marital issues to fester will just make things worse. So don’t avoid—talk to each other every day as much as possible.
Always connect with your spouse. Tell your husband about your day, and ask him about his. If something is bothering you about work, say so. Remember that you two are a team, and your spouse wants to know what is going on. If something is bothering you about your relationship, talk about it. Get it out in the open. If you need to, go to marriage counseling. One key is to really listen to what your spouse is saying, and even what he isn’t saying. Is he vying for more of your time and attention? Figure out how to meet his needs.
4. Avoid Disconnection by Giving to Your Spouse
You may feel as if you simply can’t add one more thing to your to-do list, so try not to think of it that way. Giving to your spouse is how you show your love and feel connected to your spouse. When you sacrifice a little bit of time and energy to do something nice for your spouse without expecting anything in return, your love grows. Not only that, but your spouse realizes just how much you appreciate them, which causes their love for you to grow as well.
What you focus on tends to grow. That’s why it’s important to focus on giving to your spouse. It means you are focusing on them. What makes them the happiest? What would they appreciate the most? Even if it’s something small, like cooking his favorite meal, giving him a foot rub, or cleaning out his car, it’s the little things, added upon each other, that build into a good marriage.
About the Author
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. Malini has global experience in international management and communications, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.