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My Spouse Is Killing My Business - if it were only that simple.

Entrepreneurs have one of the highest rates of marital distress and divorce of any professional group. For a group of people who are so adapt at taking an idea and making it work through thick and thin, one might suspect that it is the other way around.  Entrepreneurs should have the capacity to make a marriage work and thrive better than your average couple.  SO why don't they?

The Anatomy Of An Entrepreneurial Divorce  

One of the most difficult tasks of the entrepreneur is the balancing of two demanding relationships.  Each requires and insists on time, devotion, dedication, and energy.  Miss anyone of those and the whole thing is frustrated.  Both the spouse and the business require equal energy.  Without the attention that is needed jealousy, resentment and separation are inevitable.

The balance of home and business can be taxing.  The ability to shift from work mode to home is equally difficult.  Not managing that shift well, or at all is what leads to the first stage of a marital demise.  The pursue withdraw dance.  When the entrepreneur has difficulty turning off the job and attending to the home, the spouse gets shut out.  You abandon your spouse. They are left waiting, longing, wanting to connect, but the entrepreneur is too focused and driven to notice.  Or, you are too preoccupied with worry and stress to look up and see that support is right there at home.  The abandonment leads to one of two choices - chase or hide.  There is no other option.  We are biologically pre-wired to respond in this way.  When a threat comes we either collapse into despair, or attack it.  No different than when an order is wrong or an employee s not meeting expectations.  The entrepreneur will either collapse in the corner and stew, fret, and worry or jump to action and take control.  Our spouses are no different when facing the threat of a competing interest for your time and the distance it is causing the relationship. 

This cat and mouse game of chase is exhausting.  It is easy to feel burden and nagged at home and so the office looks better all the time.  Besides, there is always more work to do.  And so to avoid the chase or the withdrawn and inattentive spouse, the entrepreneur buries the head deeper into work.  This only leads to stage two of the entep divorce even faster.

Regardless of what we do, hide or seek, our needs are going to be met.  We are driven by needs.  Perhaps it is a need to feel wanted and cared for that made you seek the wealth and fame entrepreneurialism promises.  Maybe it is the sense of empowerment to own your own business, make your own way.  We all have a need to be loved and to give love.  Our need to have safety and security cannot be denied and that is what often causes the entrepreneur to spend long lonely nights in the office or deep in another spread sheet.  Needs cannot be stopped and they will be satisfied. Therein lies the greatest problem of all.  Who is meeting the needs of your spouse while you work, and work, and work.   

I once had a client who had explained all the reasons why he was working so hard on the farm.  Long exhausting hours led to naps on the tractor to tend the hay that fed the cows that had to be milked to buy her the cars and the home she loved and wanted.  His wife was lonely, betrayed, emotionally bankrupt and abandoned and done.  After hearing the two of them I looked at him deeply with all the compassion and care I could muster and said to him "how long have you been having an affair with your tractor?"  He was shocked.  I thought he must have considered me crazy.  Then I added "it doesn't nag does it?  It has never denied yuo because you were away too long.  Your tractor has never not fulfilled its job and has taken good care of you hasn't it?"  As I said this, his eyes widened and he looked at his wife and began to plead for her to forgive him and to please take him back.  He had abandoned the emotional relationship and left his wife empty with nice things, but missing the one thing she needed most - him.  

In this situation the entrepreneur had only had the affair with the tractor (aka the job) and she had withdrawn into despair and not sought out an emotional and physical surrogate but that is not often the case.  After months of nagging or denying, it is very easy to be swayed by the accolades and the affections of partners and co-workers.  The ever present need to belong and to be loved will draw even the strongest in after enough time.  

The double withdrawal.  That famous moment when each of you throw up your hands and say you are done.  That it is just not worth it anymore and that the relationship is killing you.  It might come early, or perhaps after a long period of retreating into respective corners.  Maybe your spouse was the pursuer in the early cat and mouse game, gave up, and now you have tired of the chase while they withdrew into any protective corner they could.  Either way, you're both done.  Whatever you were building together and had dreamed about has evaporated.  

Making the marriage succeed is like running a business

The main issue that we see when addressing entrepreneurial divorce is that the entrepreneur forgot the fundamental principles of running a start up into a mature business.  When these are applied to the home and particularly the spouse, there is rarely an ounce of marital discord.  

1. Treat the prospect like royalty and make sure they fully understand the value in your proposition.  Constant email and direct mail auto-responders, phone calls, and text messages all to win over the prospect and make them beholden only to you.  You likely did this while courting and dating - WHY DID YOU STOP!!!!

2. Once you have the customers loyalty, your treat them as royalty and make sure that they understand your value proposition and are beholden to you and that they do not look anywhere else.  HMM Sounds incredibly familiar to the first.  Not only that, but it is a simple and logical.  Drop your attention and take for granted the hard won customer and you lose them to anyone else who will meet their need.  DO NOT STOP COURTING!!

3. Deliver a value added high quality product that will result in the customers loyalty and devotion.  Deliver anything less, and after enough bad experiences, they will lose interest. 

Business and selling are about two things.  Emotional desire and illogical decisions.  We buy because we like something, desire something, or feel that the product has some value that will add to who we are or how we feel.  Being a spouse is no different.  You must meet the emotional needs of your partner and be there for them whe they need you.  Be unresponsive, like when you fail to call a customer back, or unattainable like when no one answers the phone or you are never in the office and they will leave you.  If you are harsh, condescending, or belittling in anyway the customer will lose interest quickly.  Why do we think that a few words and shared gold bands and bath towels make it any different?  You spouse deserves the greatest customer service and sales funnel you have ever devised.

Giving you the keys to abundance and success, 
Brett M. Judd MSW
The #1 Coach for unlocking your inner abundance
An Open Mind is an Abundant Mind

P.S.  Do you get the This Abundant Life newsletter to your inbox?  You should.  It is easy to enroll and you will get the audio "Success Secrets Every 2 Year Old Understands" Just follow this link and enroll today for life enhancing information, opportunities and more.  

By Brett M. Judd LMSW Follow him at Google + at Google

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