Below are additional exercises to further your understanding of how you and your spouse view your marriage as a working ‘business.’ Again, after answering the items, share your information with your spouse, not to generate emotional tension (Companies don’t hire us for our feelings; they hire us to use our intellect!), but to compile or brainstorm ideas that can then be used to mold into a unified vision that works for each of you!
Exercise #1: Reaching for an Objective Perspective
Imagine yourself being hired as a consultant by you and your partner to help strengthen your team approach. What feedback would you offer to both the partnership and to each individual owner? Remember, each of you is expecting the marriage ‘company’ to bring quality to your lives! What are each person’s strengths and what skills would you suggest need improvement? Remember, you are being hired to produce results! How confident are you that your suggested improvements will maximize the relationship for both partners?
Exercise #2: Identifying Different Perspectives
Take some time to write down a sentence or two in response to each term or phrase on the list below, then share what you have written with each other. The purpose of this exercise is to clarify how each of you sees your marriage as it appears through the lens of a business model application. Don’t be surprised or concerned to find differences in perspective and in your approach to answering these terms. In fact, expect to be surprised! With this exercise, imagine yourself ‘interviewing’ your spouse (whom you’ve already hired!) and learning his/her ‘style’ of intellectualizing things so you can better learn how to work side by side, together, happily, for 50 years!
Exercise #3: Standing Together on Common Ground
So just how different are your ideas of a “joint partnership?” If you have some issues to work through before you can come to a solid agreement, then try working together to compile a joint list of duties, chores, etc. that have not yet been addressed. Keep the list available and add to it when either of you discovers areas of your relationship that are problematic. The goal here is to find out where you are in agreement about how to be in joint partnership with each other. All this discussing, understanding, and agreeing upon what it means to be owners is meant to give your marriage the same kind of clarity that business owners enjoy in their business partnerships. How ironic that it is easier to achieve a realistic, concrete agreement when talking about owning a business such as a fast-food restaurant, a gift shop, or a sports bar with someone, than when talking about how we want to be married to the person we love! Let’s bring that transparency and specificity into the marriage partnership as well!
Good luck and have fun creating a quality life together!