Marriage And Business: A Love Letter

By April 29, 2015 February 1st, 2018 Podcast, Readings, True Stories
Marriage And Business: A Love Letter

Today is Word Carnival day, that once-monthly event where a bunch of business bloggers get together to write on a theme. This month’s topic: the secret to my success.

Rather than talk about tools or tricks or mindsets or practices, I decided to have a little fun and turn this into a love letter because there really is only one thing I can’t live without: my business partner, husband and love of my life. I hope you know someone like this, too, because you really can’t succeed alone.

Dear Ralph,

We’ve been doing this working together thing for sixteen years now – married for only two more than that – and other than the gross leftover coffee sludge that you occasionally leave to grow mold on your desk, it’s been a pretty good ride.

Oh heck, who am I kidding? It’s been fantastic.

And horrible.

I’ve loved every second of it. Except for the ones I’ve hated. You’ve been my biggest cheerleader and my worst critic. You keep me going and you make me want to quit and run off to a remote mountaintop in Tibet.

And if it weren’t for you, I would not be here today. Having you on my team in every way is the secret to my happiness and business success. (And more… but let’s stay focused. Besides, a few of our readers may be yelling at us to get a room soon.)

Since I first saw you standing with your tray on the dinner line at college, I thought, “I want to give this guy my cookies.” (No, seriously. I had a whole batch of homemade cookies that I knew you’d love.)

What I never imagined was that we’d not only be married but running a business together one day. And as I look back over all those years – many filled with cookies and ice cream and apple pie and mojitos and never enough treadmill – I know that the only reason it was fun or successful was because we were together.

You’ve Always Been My Biggest Fan

I wish everyone on the planet could have at least one superfan like you. You may not think all my ideas are great but you always encourage me to try new things and to do what I want to do.

You stand up for me in the face of adversity and take my side no matter what. I’ve been friends with some of those other types of “married people” – the ones who can’t wait to get away from their spouses, who long for girls night or boys night, the ones who make fun of each other in front of other people or constantly complain about each other.

I mean, you do forget to bring me my sweater sometimes, even though I’ve asked you like six times, but when it comes to being there for me, supporting me and making me feel great about myself no matter what, I know I can count on you. Lucky for me, your love is better than your memory.

I never have to worry that you’ll “throw me under the bus” if something goes wrong. In fact, I know you sometimes take the blame for things I’ve screwed up if it means I get to save face.

I succeed because you want me to succeed. You open every door, you blow every trumpet and you keep me going even when I don’t want to keep myself going.

Your Perspective Keeps It Real

Nobody should go through life with only their own opinion to live by. I like to think I’m a pretty reasonable person, but even I get caught in the bubble of my own head. And when that happens I have you to lend a different perspective.

Being able to bounce my thoughts and ideas off you means I can make sense out of them. Sometimes you help me think things through in a way I couldn’t have done on my own. Sometimes you give me that perplexed look that means, “What the heck are you thinking? Go make me some coffee.”

Sometimes you tell me how awesome I am so I can keep on being awesome.

I succeed because your ideas complement mine, improve mine, or just replace mine when mine are dumb. Unless my ideas are better, in which case I take full credit for them.

You Have A Good Day When I’m Having A Bad One

You know those days. The server crashes. The internet goes down. It takes four seconds too long for the computer to boot up. The cat won’t stop poking your leg for attention and then that client, the one who just drives you nuts!

Someone or something needs to get thrown out a window.

Lucky for me, on those days you are calm, cool and collected. Call it fortune or the alignment of Jupiter but it seems like we rarely both have bad days at the same time. When we do, all bets are off and there are usually large quantities of Oreos consumed with no treadmill and much chastising of selves for eating Oreos – right before we go out to buy more Oreos.

When I have those days, you field the client calls. You deal with the aggravating, repeated, never ending questions. You call the vendors and get the nonsense resolved. You pet the cat and fix the internet.

When I’m having those days you say things like, “Why don’t you go take a nap?”

And sometimes I oblige by flinging myself into a dark corner with a game of FreeCell, and sometimes I just hang out and make your day difficult. You bear it with much patience.

Then when you’re having one of those days, I get to be heroic and reasonable and keep things running smoothly. It’s a good tradeoff and I don’t know how anyone survives life or business without a sane person on their most insane days.

You Do Stuff I Hate To Do

Like programming. Ew.

I remember many years ago you bought me a Dummies book so I could learn OOP – which looked a whole lot like “oops” to me but turned out to be something inexplicable called Object Oriented Programming.

You were so cute that day. All proud of yourself, like the husband who buys his wife a new vacuum cleaner and thinks it’s awesome because the plastic casing is like, orange!

You never bought me a vacuum but you did try to teach me programming, and for that I thank you. But sometimes I wish you had just bought me a vacuum.

I remember reading the same four pages over and over as you explained things about how cat equals animal but cat does not equal dog.

Did I ever tell you that when I was in first grade, my mom tried to teach me to add by putting a big bowl of pennies in front of me and saying, “Ok, here are two pennies. Now, if I give you two more pennies, how many do you have?’

Did I ever tell you that all I heard was “whaaaa whaaaaa whaaaa” like the mom from Charlie Brown?

Ok, so I’ve never been much on the “logic” side of the equation but the good news is, you are. So I never have to worry about doing things I hate to do or don’t want to do because lucky for me, those are the things you love. I happily let you have them.

We succeed together because we complement each other so well.

You Make Me Work

Getting things done is hard. I don’t care how many apps or tools you have, how many productivity books you read, how many practices you put in place or meditations you do.

Sometimes you just need another person going, “Did you finish that thing?” or “Did you answer that client email from yesterday?”

And when you say, “No,” sometimes you need someone to get mad.

I mean, sometimes you need someone to very gently and kindly remind you of your priorities and then helpfully guide you to complete them in a nice and loving way that in no way indicates getting mad.

Everyone needs to be held accountable. You’re that person for me. You don’t let me slide. You don’t let me make excuses. And mostly, I think, that’s because you know I’m better than that.

You Know That Fun Things Are Important

Sometimes things happen, like sunny days. Or everyone on Facebook is spoiling Game of Thrones so you have to watch it on Monday morning even though you seriously have to do that thing.

Sometimes it’s just Tuesday.

And you know that all of these things mean it’s ok to set aside work and have some fun.

From a five-minute game break to an all-day movie break, I enjoy every second we spend together.

I should also mention that we have fun working, too. It helps that we like what we do but it also helps that we like each other. We have fun conversations, fun meetings, fun brainstorming sessions.

The ones with ice cream are especially fun, but even the ones with kale juice are pretty good because your humor shines even through that green, grainy pulp.

Even during a bad week, I never have to dread getting out of bed in the morning because I know you’ll be there to add fun into the day.

Want To Get a Room?

I did say I was writing a love letter, not a love novel, and though there are so many other ways I could demonstrate how important you are, I’ll wrap this up by saying that if it weren’t for you, I would not be as successful and I would not be enjoying it as much, even when success looks like 14 hour days and all weekend working.

For that I thank you, and always I love you.

Now, how about that room? I totally need a nap.

This post is part of the Word Carnival, a monthly blogging event with some of the smartest business owners you’ll meet. This month’s topic: the secret to our success. Favorite book, pack of Oreos, lucky rabbit’s foot, four leaf clover, a kick-ass CRM and project management system. We all have our own must-have accessories to complement our day-to-day activities and get to the next level. Here’s a rundown of the things we can’t do without in our businesses. Read all of the fabulous carnie articles here.