Not everyone loves being married to an entrepreneur. The unpredictability of their schedule, the mood swings, the constant travel and financial risk all can contribute to a marriage breakdown. On the other hand, there are some positive upsides to falling in love with an entrepreneur. When you are feeling down because your guy is never around when you need him, or your vacation plans have collapsed because his company just went public, remember these.
His energy is contagious
Successful entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs have a high energy level. It’s necessary to get the idea factory primed and operating. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 each morning, burning with thoughts about the next iPhone features. Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi says she only sleeps 4 hours each night; anything more and she feels less effective. Google’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, says four hours of sleep is all she needs: “Anything above that is a waste of time.” While you might need more sleep than these industry stars, being married to your high-energy entrepreneur rubs off on you: you find yourself matching his pace and feeling on top of the world when things are going well for him.
It is no secret that the rewards of successful entrepreneurship can include great wealth. Yes, floating a startup can be risky, but when you hit the jackpot, you and your entrepreneurial spouse will have a more-than-comfortable life. No more worries about starting that college fund for the kids; your family can build a wing with your name on it at Stanford University, should you wish!
Excellent communication skills and techniques
Your entrepreneurial spouse has great communication skills, polished by continuously pitching concepts and needing to convince the investors of their worth. This is valuable in marriage, where communicating effectively is key to keeping the couple happy and healthy. The entrepreneur will always tell you what he likes or doesn’t like; you will never be put in the position of having to read his mind. He will also be talented in helping you see the benefits and drawbacks of any project you might be considering. His years of consensus-building with his team have helped him become the well-spoken partner that he is with you.
The ability to envision the short and long-term
An entrepreneurial spouse can help you see all the implications in short and long-term plans. They are good at seeing the large picture and imagining different scenarios for achieving goals. In your marriage, this can be helpful as you sit down together to evaluate life-impacting decisions like choosing where to live or your children’s education and extracurricular activities.
Constructive criticism and genuine compliments
A spouse who is used to working in a startup environment knows that any criticism offered needs to be communicated in a helpful, constructive way. When he compliments you on your work, whether it be inside or outside the home, you can be sure it is a genuine compliment. He knows excellent work when he sees it!
He’s good at picking battles
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is a common thought among entrepreneurs. They observe a situation and can zero-in immediately on things that are worth focusing on and things that are not. For you, this means that your time together will not be bogged down by petty disagreements. If there are important conversations to be had, you can be sure they truly are important. The entrepreneur does not waste time on irrelevant issues.
He is well-organized but with a playful side
An entrepreneurial spouse brings a great sense of organization to a marriage. They must be organized or their projects would fall apart quickly. Your married life might sometimes resemble data points on an Excel spreadsheet, but you’ll always know where you stand. Entrepreneurs also have a playful side to their personality. You can see this in their offices, which have basketball hoops, skateboards and other “kid” toys scattered all over the place. Even these hard-working people need to have fun sometimes!
Happily married entrepreneurs have the edge
Sure, entrepreneurs get divorced; in fact, 30% of them are divorced. With all that attention focused on the business’ ups and downs, it’s no surprise that it takes a special kind of spouse to continue supporting the marriage. But guess what? 70% of entrepreneurs are married, many with children. Being in a loving relationship gives them the grounding needed to dream big. Behind most winning entrepreneurs is a happy marriage, one that allows them to feel secure and loved. Some well-known entrepreneurs who enjoy a long marriage include
- Bill and Melinda Gates (24 years)
- Sir Richard Branson (married to his second wife 28 years)
- Steve Jobs was married to the same woman all his life
When the less-than-brilliant sides of marriage to an entrepreneur start getting you down, it’s good to bring out a list and remember all the great advantages of being married to your spouse. It’s a life with ups and downs, but one which you wouldn’t want any other way.