Get All Access for $5/mo

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?

By Marla N. Mattenson Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

PeopleImages | Getty Images

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.

Dear Marla,

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?

Big Vision

Dear Vision,

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?

Related: Ask the Relationship Expert: 'How Do I Reconnect With My Partner When We're Both So Busy With Our Businesses?'

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.

Related: Ask the Relationship Expert: 'I Resent That My Partner Lets Important Tasks Fall Through the Cracks'

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.

Marla N. Mattenson

CEO and Founder, Mattenson Coaching & Consulting, Inc.

Marla N. Mattenson is an entrepreneur and frequent speaker on the topic of relationships, intimacy and wealth building. Over the course of her 22-year career, she developed a unique, scientific approach to relationships to help entrepreneur couples rock both the boardroom and the bedroom.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.