Your personal relationship is rarely an area that gets covered in the world of entrepreneurship, but you shouldn’t underestimate the level of mutual understanding required when starting or growing a business.
“Strength in a relationship comes from the depth of understanding”
As you pursue your business aspirations, you will be setting new expectations of your Partner and making assumptions on how this will work for you both. Sometimes this is unconscious thinking.
You will inevitably be needing emotional support, championing, and encouragement from your other half. You will need them to be accepting of what you want to do. And you will likely need more from them practically – anything from more help with the children, or greater contribution to household chores, to making financial sacrifices, or socialising less (not that we currently have that issue!). You may even expect them to be as excited, committed, and passionate about your business as you are.
This will all come at a time when you will be juggling more, especially if this is a side hustle alongside your day job. Often, albeit unintentionally, our Partners end up at the bottom of a long to-do list and are last on the agenda.
“Trade expectations for appreciation”
Whether you are conscious of it or not, there will be a change in the dynamics of your relationship because of your business endeavours. Your focus and priorities may shift. You may be asking more of your Partner. You may have less time. Your network may expand. And your financial position may change.
None of these are ‘bad’ changes, but you do need to be consciously aware of these shifts and the impact they can have on your relationship to avoid frustrations building. Especially if you are already in an established relationship – this may not be what your Partner originally signed up for!
The impact of your business on your Partner.
The impact these changes may have on your Partner can be grouped into three main areas:
1. Worry and concern
Just as much as you might have worry warts about your business endeavours, your Partner is likely to be experiencing this too. Often these aren’t communicated to you due to their desire to protect and support you.
They are often worried about the impact of your business pursuits on your well-being, the pull on your time, or pressure you may put on yourself. The uncertainty and change may have a negative impact on their well-being too. They may also have a fear of failure and the implications if this doesn’t work out.
2. Over-looked and under-appreciated
Whilst your Partner is likely to want to support you as much as they can so you have your time to shine, they may still feel like they are being asked to ‘carry the load’. You may not think this is true, but it may well be their perceived reality and how they are feeling.
This is often borne from spending less time together or feeling like they are competing with the business and everything else on your to do list. Partners can often feel de-prioritised and not as important as they once were.
3. Left behind or left out
It’s easy to forget when you’re on your journey that you are part of a new world that your Partner is not. They may feel that you have your “thing”, but they don’t have theirs or aren’t able to invest in it. Your Partner will have their own needs and desires and may feel like these aren’t being met in this changing dynamic.
Six practical things to help your relationship flourish as well as your business.
Starting and growing a business is hard enough without worrying about your relationship. And relationships are hard enough without worrying about your business.
You may be feeling that this is just another thing that you must add to your to-do list or to worry about. But there are six simple relationship tools which you can implement, which will make sure your relationship flourishes alongside your business.
Tool 1: Have a shared vision that inspires your future together.
A shared vision consciously synthesises your separate desires and aligns them into the ‘bigger picture’ that you are both bought in to. It will give your relationship direction and shape your actions. It will also help establish for your Partner what’s in it for them whilst you go on your business journey.
Tool 2: Know what is important to you both.
Define what is important to you and not so important. Know your own priorities and values, but also know your Partners. Extend this by defining your relationship values – these will act as guiding principles that dictate your behaviour, help set boundaries and be clear on how you will both show up for each other.
Tool 3: Show your love for each other in the most impactful way.
Most conflict stems from not feeling loved and so it’s important to communicate your love in a way which will resonate most deeply with your Partner. According to Dr Gary Chapman, by knowing each other’s Love Language, you will be able to keep each other’s ‘emotional love tank’ full. This will not only help you express your love with more impact, but also help you set your boundaries and non-negotiables with each other.
Tool 4: Make connection non-negotiable
Make time for one well-being activity a week as a couple, which is non-negotiable. We all know taking care of our well-being is important but doing it with your Partner can be a complete game-changer. It can be anything – a run, walk, yoga, meditation. Scientific research shows that it helps you join together as a team and also boosts your romantic connection 😉
Tool 5: Be clear on both of your goals
It’s important for you both to have individual goals and relationship goals, which you are both bought into. To set goals effectively, be clear on why they are important to you and how you are going to take action to achieve them. Make sure you are clear on how they take you both closer to your vision. Explore, discuss, challenge, and prioritise.
Tool 6: Three C’s – Communicate, Contract and Check-In.
Talking to each other is so important but remember that listening is too. The first five tools are designed to help you communicate each other’s needs, desires, goals, visions, how to feel loved, and what’s important to you. Now you need to contract with each other. Agree what you think will work for you both to have your needs and desires met and set up your relationship system.
This is not a one and done. Agree when you will check-in on your contract and revisit the first five tools. Be prepared to communicate, adjust and re-contract.
Need support in implementing the tools?
I created the Lasting-Love Programme to support couples going through one of life’s ‘pinch points’ to implement the six relationship tools. If you would like to find out more then please feel free to reach out to me.
About your author
Laura Morris is a Relationship Life Coach and specialises in empowering couples to have a happy, healthy, and long-lasting relationship.
After qualifying as a Transformation Coach, she developed the Lasting Love Programme to equip couples to navigate life’s challenges together. Her philosophy is that with greater awareness and deeper understanding of oneself and each other, you will reach far beyond your capabilities as individuals.
You can find out more about Laura and her business here.
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