Entrepreneur Life

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What do you do to maintain your relationship with your spouse?

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We schedule in days off work and off the kids. In year one of child one, we hired a nanny for first one day a week, then two, three and eventually four. So we have someone to help in the day time. But usually we’re at work then. So every few months we schedule 1-2 days on week days where we skive off work and go to the movies, eat, and generally do things as a couple and not as parents being hustled along by two small children and their attention span 🙂

It’s far from perfect, but for us, we reserve Friday night for date night. We may not always get to sync up and get time together during the week but we know that Friday night will be time to focus on each other. We send the kids off to grandma’s house and don’t see them for a half-day or so. We typically do dinner and a movie and then go home and watch some television we missed throughout the week. Helps both of us sort of chill a bit but also connect with one another.

When the baby comes into a family no matter whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, the relationship takes a hit both physically and emotionally. It was really important for us to ensure that we still had our personal time together and we did not always succeed at this. One great way I learned from another EO member was to have a monthly dinner out with your spouse where you discuss your highs and lows over the last month and the month coming. I found this to be really valuable as we were not talking about logistics over the entire dinner.

I chose to answer this question because unlike childcare related stuff which tend to automatically get prioritized highly since they pertain to your child’s needs, this is something that often tends to get ignored – your relationship with your spouse. I think it’s very important to give it as much priority as your other duties as a householder and new parent. Spend some time everyday talking and catching up on how things are going for each other. Both parents may be sleepy and may just want to crash, but at least pour some wine and talk for a half hour while the baby naps (and thankfully, they do nap a lot, at least in the first 6 months). Try and resume your date night traditions as soon as possible. Give each other a hug and kiss whenever possible – they’re awesome stress busters! Both parents will be tired and sleepy all the time, and the natural tendency in such a scenario is to prioritize rest whenever there is a possibility of availing it, and this is fine too, but try and do relaxing activities together – one of you stays guard while the baby sleeps while the other takes a nice, warm bath (such a luxury when you have a baby!). You may want to just vegetate in front of the TV when you get some time. If you must do that, watch shows that both of you can enjoy together.
A lot of people take their spouse for granted during this phase of new parenthood, but what I’m suggesting is exactly the opposite approach – give your relationship the highest priority because this is a delicate time as you’re both going through a lot. Both of you need a friend who understands what you’re going through and can empathize. Find that friend in each other.

I’m up pretty early and out the door every morning and often don’t see or talk to my wife and kids until I get home. Then it is right into 2 hours of dinner, bath, and bed. My wife and I don’t get much of a chance to communicate and often it feels like ships passing in the night.

A while ago we started keeping a journal to help stay connected. I write something to her in the morning and often she’ll write back by the time I open it again the following morning.

Sometimes she’s frustrated with something that has happened or she appreciates something I’ve helped with. It’s a nice way for us to keep somewhat current and connected. When we are not getting along this journal is a way for us to communicate without arguing. It helps for us to understand more clearly what each of us perceives.

SEX (not kidding; lots of us forget how important this is)
Admiring our uniqueness ~
And more SEX ~ makes everything easier/even the tough stuff:)

My wife and I try to go out on dates at least 1 – 2 times per month. Typically we go with other couples, but we do it without kids. In addition, we sharpen our marriage skills by reading / listening to books on marriage and best practices for strong relationships. It is best to work on your marriage when you don’t need to work on your marriage in my opinion.

My wife and I made a commitment to each other to have scheduled date nights. Because we scheduled this time to be alone with each other it helped our relationship and also helped us create a solid front so our children would not be able to get different answers from the other parent. This consistency helped our relationship and created a stable environment for our children.

For me, the relationship with my wife is the most important to maintain. Without her love and support, neither my business nor my family can survive. As an entrepreneur business and family both get impacted by each other, they do not work as separate worlds but rather like a bungee cord between them – often a delayed reaction between the activity in one on the other.

We have found that a good relationship built on solid trust, respect and commitment to each other has allowed us freedom to manage the difficult incubation of a start-up. For us a certain amount of independence to work when required but know when the other is calling for help and to respond accordingly. Empathy! Conversely, I do not believe we would have succeeded this far if my wife had been demanding of my time for the sake of it… she has been very understanding (supportive) when there are issues to be worked on and allowed our relationship-time to suffer a bit to get through the business challenges. For me, the greatest time is when we take time during the work day to go get a meal or coffee and leave the business world around us.

When home calls though it takes priority over business!

This is a difficult time. Time must be set aside for just your spouse and you to enjoy each others company. I do not think my spouse and I do a good job of it however when we do get to hangout just the two of us we always have fun.

This has been our biggest struggle — simply making time for each other.

We quickly realized, no matter the cost, we had to do weekly dates. We found early on that night time dates (especially with infants) did not work well for us. We’d end up falling asleep on the date.

So now we do Day Dates, typically on Saturdays.

We can tell the difference when we skip a Day Date or simply don’t get one for a week or two. And continue to realize that it’s an investment in US, and we know the better we are together, the better we are for our children.

Plus, my mentor warned me …. we spend 18+ years raising kids and all the time-consuming activities and focus that includes … then one day they are gone, and we’re left with an empty house and a stranger.

We heeded that warning.

By the way, one huge benefit of having a physical office is we use it to get sushi and wine for lunch, watch movies, and talk on a couch while our kids are under the care of someone else at home. In the past, we would bounce around to different restaurants or places and spent more time, energy and money wandering like nomads than sitting and talking and enjoying quality time with each other. We still go out, but we know we have another “home base” to go to, something many others don’t have the benefit of.

Spending money on a regular babysitter to go out with my wife is some of (if not THE) best money you can spend after you have kids.

You get so busy with kids and work that it’s really, really easy for your relationship to not get prioritized like you want it to. And in today’s kid-centric culture it’s a hard thing to fight.

But you know what’s more important than playdates, making progress at your work or even seeing your kids every single day? Spending time with your spouse. I’ve heard it said that the best thing you can do for your kids is to have a great relationship with your wife/husband/partner and I think it’s 100% the truth.

So spend more than you think you need on childcare and making sure you get regular time to connect and recharge without being distracted by the pull of your kids. It’ll be some of the best money you ever invest. 🙂