In 2016 I’ll be celebrating my 6th year as an entrepreneur, and my 10th wedding anniversary. Recently, I’ve been interviewed multiple times about my experience as a business owner and I usually end up talking about my husband, partly because he recently joined the team, and partly because he’s the biggest reason I can do what I do. He’s really supportive of long nights and the other adjustments that come with being in a relationship with an entrepreneur.
People have asked me how we make it work and I tell them, “I make our relationship a priority. We were a couple before I started this company, and we’ll be one long after.” The thing is, I understand that it’s easier said than done. When you’re starting a business, and even when you’re finally hitting your stride, it feels like there’s never enough time, money, or energy to make it work. It is doable though, you might just have to get creative once in a while.
I talked to Dr. Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist and relationship expert, about how to reconnect with your partner when you’re limited the three things we always seem to need more of: time, money and energy. She suggests to choose something which has meaning behind it. It could be a message during the day, making your partner their favorite meal, or just doing something you know they’ve been wanting to do. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture to make an impact.
But what if you’re not in the mood? I totally get it. When your latest big idea still hasn’t taken off, or you haven’t signed a new client in weeks, it can be difficult to get in the mood even if you want to spend that time with your partner. Dr. Goldstein suggests doing something non-sexual that might help you relax. The pressure to perform can be too much when we already have a lot going on in our minds. So find a way to switch off your mind (like a glass of wine, or a bath) so you can relax and get in the mood.
Taking the time to connect with your partner is so important, but what happens when it feels like you just can’t? Like you’re constantly speaking two different languages? Well, maybe you are. I’ve been with my husband for 15 years, and one of the best things I ever did for our relationship was to read the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The author talks about five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of services, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch. When I read it, I realized that it was important to look at how my husband was expressing his commitment to me, and how I needed him to express it, because when those two things don’t match, it’s easy for one (or both) people to feel like they are being taken for granted.
For example, my husband constantly shows his love by buying me gifts. If my love language is receiving gifts, I would feel loved. But if my love language is quality time, I wouldn’t feel loved and he might feel like I’m taking his gestures for granted because I never respond the way he would expect. Now when I start to feel like I’m being taken for granted, I stop and think of those love languages. Has he really been taking me for granted or am I simply not acknowledging the things he has been doing because it’s not what I’m looking for? It really helps to shift perspective. Besides, communication is really important in a relationship and it’s easier to ask for what you want when you know exactly what it is. And, if you figure out what love language your partner prefers, it will help a lot when you want to do something special for them.
Running a business is a lot of work, especially in the beginning when you’re a solo operation. As with most things though, you have time for the things you make time for. Set a date, and make it happen. A time out from your business could do wonders for your business and your relationship.
Featured Image: Holli Edwards Photography