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It’s easy to assume that relationships work or don’t work based on an input/output system. But, like so many things in life, it just ain’t that easy. Every couple and every family in every corner of the world has it’s own set of problems and each has to deal with those problems within their particular circumstances and dynamics. Let it be said that in no way am I minimizing other people’s problems. On the contrary, I think this is a good opportunity to point out the commonalities of all relationships.

All relationships have issues. Here are a few: money issues, parenting conflicts, conflicting backgrounds, power struggles, opposing opinions on parenting, communication barriers, illness, children with challenges, aging, boredom, mother-in-laws. This list barely scratches the surface of what a relationship goes through. Our partners see the best and the worst of us. They see: the happy, the sad, when we’re sick, when we’re down on ourselves, when we’re really and truly angry, the tender, the vulnerable, the insecurities, our addictions and our limitations. That’s a lot of crap. So how does a bond like that survive such an onslaught? Those of us in the business/entrepreneurship world have all this and more. It doesn’t make us better or worse than any other couple (this is not a competition) it just makes us different. Our everyday problems are made more complex by stress, distance, and the work/life mesh. That’s about the only thing that fits into a nice, neat equation- complicated + complications = more complicated.

Because every person deals with conflict in their own unique way I am not going to presume to pass advice on how to overcome obstacles other than to say FACE THEM TOGETHER. I can hand out a lot of mumbo jumbo about counseling and communication (and trust me, I will. Stay tuned for future posts), but at the end of the day none of it matters if you’re not all in. Egos and past hurts aside- both of you, ALL IN. There have been times in our relationship that one or the other of us had one foot out the door and it always came down to that last question. One would look at the other and say, “I’m in. Are you in?” The tables always turned after that. Whatever we’re up against, we’re always better together.

Obstacles are a part of life. My Granny used to say “All sunshine makes a desert”. It was really annoying but true. You’re happy ending probably won’t look at all how you pictured it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be beautiful. Before we get too deep into how to get around those obstacles or even how to convince your partner to even talk about them, let’s first determine- are you all in?

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• The things holding you back from work-life balance

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• How to have better business results, relationships and self care

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