Ask the Relationship Expert: 'My Partner Works a 9-to-5 Job and He Doesn't Understand Why I Take Business Risks'
How do you balance your need for risk with your partner's need for stability?
What happens when running a business gets in the way of your romantic relationship, or vice versa? In this weekly column, relationship expert Marla N. Mattenson responds to entrepreneurs with love dilemmas -- because the hidden power of successful businesses are the stable, loving relationships behind the scenes.
I own my own business and my husband works a traditional 9-to-5 job. Every time I want to take a risk with the business -- whether that’s investing new business funds, moving in a slightly new direction or, especially, letting go of clients as I up-level, he gets really nervous. It’s always worked out all right, in that I always have been able to contribute equally to household expenses, so he doesn’t have any rational reason for his concern. But, it’s gotten to the point where I don’t share these choices with him, and that makes me sad. How can I best support his concern for our stability without compromising my desire to take risks and grow my business?
First, congratulations for having such a clear vision for your business and for your success. It’s really great that you’ve been able to expand your business while still meeting the needs of your family. Here’s the thing: Nobody is going to love your business the way you love your business, because you got the vision from the universe to start and move forward with it. So, you can’t expect your husband to be excited every time you want to make a change or an investment. In his mind, the business is doing fine so why do you need to keep leveling up and taking risks?
You have a classic “anchor and balloon” relationship, where one person in the relationship, the anchor (your husband), values stability, while the other person, the balloon (you), wants experiences and is willing to take risks. Truth is, if the balloon didn’t have an anchor, it would fly off into space and blow up. And if the anchor didn’t have a balloon, it wouldn’t be inspired or encouraged to discover its potential. So let’s choose thumbs up to both! Choose to see his concern as a good thing. Allow yourself to turn toward him when you most want to just pack up your party and hide in the other room to make your decisions on your own. Use this as a way to practice the art of disagreeing and still loving each other.
Here’s how: Take his concerns more seriously. Allow him to vent his concerns and then before you respond with anything else, say “thank you!” genuinely to let him know you value his opinion, especially if it is different than yours. Your hubby may also have some good nuggets for you to take in and apply.
It’s so beautiful when you are a risk taker, and you have a partner who’s an anchor, because he's going to give you the reality check that you probably need. That can’t happen, though, if you’re afraid to share your vision with your husband.
When you practice honoring his concerns, you’re also practicing the art of valuing your partner’s opinion. This will bring you closer together in relationship and open new doors of intimacy.