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I am not the woman my husband married. And he is not the man I married either. I used to think that when you found THE ONE that they would just “get” you and you’d live happily ever after, forever in sync. In reality, everyone spends the first few years of marriage fusing and blending together 2 sets of everything: values, traditions, beliefs, coping mechanisms. It takes a while for the dust to settle after such a massive remodel. Then afterward is a lot of upkeep and maintenance. I was surprised and more than a little disappointed when Adam would do something I just simply could not wrap my head around, even after having known him for years and I knew that he was an out-of-the-box thinker when I married him. If I couldn’t understand or it scared me I would try to curtail it. I’ve even begged his to get a “real job”. This behavior caused all sorts of issues as we tried to grow our family and our business and it made Adam feel unsupported and unsure of himself. Maybe he wasn’t who I thought he was. Or maybe I wasn’t who I thought I was! Clearly, we were not in sync. It became evident that I had to work a little harder to know my husband. So how do we stay in love with someone who is always changing? How do we come to know and understand all the many facets of our BOs for who they are to date? And why is that even important? By the way, I will be referring to Business Owners as BOs, because that amuses me.

An article from ‪entrepreneur.com‬ by Sujan Patel lists 5 key personality traits entrepreneurs must have to be successful: passion, motivation, optimism, creativity, and risk-taking. That certainly sounds like my Adam. I can see how these things have been woven into every twist and turn he’s driven our life through. In the past, these were the exact same things about him that scared me most. As a young wife and mother, I craved safety and security. This is a picture of Adam and me on our 1 year marriage anniversary trip. He took me to Disney World because I’d never been. It’s a pretty accurate description of what life with him as been like.

As you can see, he is full steam ahead, eyes wide open, not wanting to miss a moment of the action. I, on the other hand, am a slightly less willing participant. I didn’t like scary and I didn’t like to take risks! I wanted to be safe with both feet on the ground. But I blindly jumped with Adam and to do so I had to make some pretty big assumptions. The first being that I knew him and I trusted that he was going to take care of us. We would be fine. It was fine, but because I didn’t have all the pieces (my eyes were shut right, for heaven’s sake!) I constantly felt like the floor was falling out from under me. That is not a very uncomfortable place for a Type A person to live. When I endeavored to try to better understand my BO (hehe..) the WHYS of his behaviors and choices made more sense and fostered more trust.

I did this by a) working to understand our business more b) getting to know my husband as the person he’d become through his experiences, and c) changing the way I approached our life and relationship. We started our “family business meetings” to get me up to speed on how our business fed our life. This was integral in changing my relationship with the business. We had fun date nights where we did personality profiles for each other. We did Myers Briggs, Strength Finders, Enneagrams, Hogwarts Sorting Hat, whatever we could get our hands on!  And, I tried to apply my new knowledge by approaching problems in a way that would be better received by Adam. I was getting a little old to be pitching fits anyway.

The experiences that a person endures can determine the type of person they become, but, as John Maxwell said, “Circumstances do not make you who you are, they reveal who you are”. I like to think that people are like onions, much the same way ogres are. The more we peel back the more we see, but every layer removed is still an onion. Adam went from being an IT nerd to a business owner and it was like he’d been lit up from the inside. He was put in the right environment to fully develop into the potential his personality, but he was still my Adam and I’m so blessed to be able to “grow up” with him. But, what if he had never been positioned for that type of growth. Tons of people have business ideas and never act on them. What does it say about the type of person that DOES act?

For us, it means that Adam possesses something in the core of his being that I simply do not have; bravery. The truth is that without Adam’s willingness to take risks we wouldn’t be where we are today and I would never be brave enough to take risks myself. He has taught me so much! It may seem that Adam and I are very different and the old additive “opposites attract” explains the anomaly of our relationship. On the contrary, Adam and I are complementary to each other and that perspective is what makes us work. As scary as it is for me, I’ve really come to appreciate these things about Adam. We used to work at odds with each other and fight that one’s way was better than the other’s, but as we’ve come to understand each other better we’ve learned to play our differences to our advantage and grow from each other’s influences.

https://www.cpp.com/en-US/Products-and-Services/Myers-Briggs

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.entrepreneur.com/amphtml/298650

I believed that I knew my husband.

This lead to anger and resentment when he operated outside of my preconceived notions on what his behavior should have been.  It also resulted in a lot of fear preconceived.

Those emotions resulted in conflict and confusion in my marriage and forced me to reflect on who I was and who I wanted to be.

Now we give each other permission to be our true selves, even as that changes over the years.  We work hard at understanding ourselves and each other. By using frameworks and tools we have healthy dialogue and our marriage is stronger.




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