I can’t tell you how many times over the course of my marriage that if communication were not intentional we would have driven off a cliff.
We have owned many businesses and my work schedule has been grueling. There has been and will continue to be a give and take mindset for both of us.
Our next anniversary will be 35 years and I will have to say we both agree that communication has been a huge component of our success.
Think through your daily activities with friends or colleagues and how disastrous your life would be without excellent communication.
Why do you think that is going to magically happen at home if it doesn't in any other arena? Your wife is your partner, companion, lover and best friend. Doesn't she deserve your best in all these areas?
Include a quiet time, even if it's thirty minutes when the children go to bed to relive the day and seek out ways to make her life easier going forward.
Life was quite different than it is now; in the early part of our marriage, there were no children and few obligations.
Robin helped me day and night to do whatever it took to get our new business off the ground. As the business grew and the children came along we had to reevaluate our time, responsibilities and commitments. This came with an inordinate amount of scheduling.
To serve one another well and to always keep each other at the forefront of our thoughts it took effort. We like you were not perfect at it and often times resulted in a disagreement.
I don’t want to allude that we had it all together because we were not perfect at it, after all this was our first time down this road, just as it is yours.
Looking back we see ways we could have improved and if we had a do over we would have changed a few things. However, communication was and remains the center of our success.
There has to be a time when you draw the line in the sand and say, “I’m finished working today”. You can always work a few minutes longer and accomplish a couple more loose ends, but you may be doing it at the expense of your family.
Plan well as you can to extend work schedules and over communicate with your wife, it pays huge dividends.
A couple times throughout my career, I planned to quit working. It sounded good when the stress level was high or at times when I was over committed. I would come home from the office, and even later I worked from the house, Robin would say stop, you have worked enough.
Inside of me there was this yearning to do more, just one more proposal or send that last email before retiring for the night. We would jockey back and fourth with reasons to stop and reasons to continue on.
Invariably she would have great reasons for me to stop and I would have equally good reasons to continue. I finally said to her that men have a deep desire to succeed and we were created to work.
We long to provide for our families and we want to give our all, give our best to the project before us. I said, “It would be like me telling you to quit being a mother” or “stop nurturing the family”, that’s just not realistic.
So what we agreed to do was a schedule that we both agreed to, one that took “much” effort to resolve.
I reminded her that being an entrepreneur and having a flexible schedule often allowed me free time in the day to do activities with the family and that I might have to work some evenings.
My schedule may not work for you, but there is a happy place for you and your wife if you are willing to be servant leaders to each other.
Take the time to do what is important in your relationship and that is to communicate well.