You’ve decided to become entrepreneurs… or rather, married! Developing and running a business is not child’s play, and the same holds true for marriage. It requires commitment, dedication, trust, faith, and perseverance to create and maintain a solid foundation that will withstand the setbacks and losses we must all weather in life. The earlier you both begin doing the homework needed to build this foundation, the smoother and simpler your road together can be. In Marriage is a Business, we take basic aspects of developing, building, and operating a new business and apply those concepts to marriage. The key elements include:
- Two business (marital) owners
- A single shared vision of what the marriage will look like
- A working ‘business’ plan to make that vision become a reality
- Regular ‘board meetings’ to ensure that progress is being made
- ‘Policies and Procedures’ that help provide structure and foundation, similar to those ‘rules’ found in businesses
- Negotiation and compromise skills to resolve differences in preferences
- Effective communication to keep discussions flowing and balance thoughts/feelings
As marital partners, you become ‘business’ owners of your new ‘company.’ Ownership, as applied to both business and your marriage, is all about managing the family business through forming a partnership that works together smoothly to develop and solidify the business. When two people build their relationship and then marry, each essentially contributes 50 percent of the ‘resources.’ That is to say, each brings his or her own strengths, preferences,opinions, experiences, knowledge, beliefs, etc. to the table to create a shared vision. As a result, each owns 50% of the company and owns 50% of the voting rights.
This is a partnership, so the two of you are a team with one goal in mind— to successfully (and happily) manage this company throughout the rest of your life. And, as partners, not only do you each have an equal ownership, you also have an equal duty— complete with a job description– to undertake, contribute, and complete your 50%. Notice, that’s not 49% vs. 51% or 51% vs. 49%; it’s a true 50/50 split, and it’s important to keep the balance of power just that—-balanced!
- At what point during your relationship did you view yourselves as partners?
- Have you/did you discuss and agree upon your individual contributions to the marriage as well as the job descriptions each are to undertake?
- Would you each consider your marriage to be a 50/50 balanced partnership? What changes, if any, would you propose?
Because both partners will have different opinions, vision, skills, check your answers to the questions above to help assess the effectiveness of your working relationship. Are there issues with the ‘ownership’ in your marriage. If you do agree on how you share your 50/50 ownership, congratulations!