I believe we've been truly blessed. Some might say we're "one of the lucky ones." But I assure you, our life now is by no means the result of luck. We've manifested precisely what we desired for our life, our children's experience, and our marriage. As an entrepreneurial family, there is this good place you strive to achieve as a couple and as a family unit.
Matt and I have created time freedom through hard work and we have a strong marital foundation through commitment, honesty, transparency and a lot of hard lessons learned.
But It hasn't always been this good. No, we've traveled quite a rocky road to say the least.
This is our story.
When Matt and I first began our journey together, we were young and full of belief. We dug in, worked hard, compromised, and made some sacrifices like all business owners must do at times.
Before long, we began to see the fruits of our labor and reaped the rewards. It had been a likely cause and effect scenario (the way things should work out for those willing to put in the hard work).
However, when the real estate market crashed, all the hard work in the world couldn’t stop the downward spiral in which we were trapped.
We lost everything - Matt's real estate business, three houses to foreclosure simultaneously, both of our cars were repossessed, everything else of value we had to sell, and any sense of security that we’d fought so hard for. In addition to all of our material possessions, I also gave up my Mary Kay business as it too started to fall apart after we moved out of the state.
The fall from our great heights together left me frightened to step outside my comfort zone for years and even scared to dare let myself dream again.
As Matt began to have success again with new ventures, I must admit I started to feel angry and resentful although at the time I didn't think it was toward him or his earned success. Rather, it made me angry that I was struggling with my own disappointments and lack of personal success. We were growing apart. I should say I felt like he was growing and I was not.
The separation between us was incredibly painful to me because I wasn’t a "hater" as Matt had come to refer to me. I was hurting and feeling unfulfilled. Our battle and my internal struggle continued and festered for several years. The lack of communication and lack of giving on both sides grew into an ugly, poisonous monster that threatened to annihilate us.
Even though I’d found new success in my corporate career and Matt’s businesses were thriving, we were miserable as a couple. We were on top again from a financial perspective, and Matt was making a nice six-figure income, but our marriage was doomed.
Anger, resentment, and frustration had worn us down like water steadily eroding a rock, and it was tearing us apart. As we stood at the crossroad in our journey, we were contemplating divorce but we also had 3 children to consider.
It’s so easy to get distracted and forget what's really important by throwing our energies into our businesses or careers. These are the things that make us money and support our families so it's understandable. We tend to our businesses and careers, we go to great lengths to maintain clients, we put in tremendous effort to cultivate new customers, we nurture our professional relationships, and yet it’s easy to get in the bad habit of neglecting the heart of it all: our marriage.
We held it together as long as we could trying to hide the fighting and pain from the children as much as possible, but inevitably we separated. Worst of all, neither one of us felt any better, rather completely broken and devastated.
We faced divorce because of a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to bend our egos. It was easier to tend to our own wounds than to help the other with theirs. We’d been beaten up along our journey and we’ll always have the battle scars to prove it but today I’m proud of those scars because they remind me that I fought for what was most important. I believe we went through hell so that we can help others that are headed down the same dangerous path avoid the pain and heartbreak that we suffered.
Entrepreneurs are a unique set of people, defined by how they approach life, coupled with an unstoppable work ethic and a desire to succeed. I believe if we simply treated our marriages with the same enthusiasm, dedication, belief, and hustle that we dedicate to our business, our relationship can also be highly successful.
This doesn’t mean everything will always be sunshine and roses. No quite the contrary. It is very difficult - perhaps even more difficult than building a successful company. But just like with business, marriage can be tough, challenging, exhausting, and unpredictable, yet we’d do almost anything to salvage our business. Why shouldn’t we put the same effort and dedication into our marriage?
Why is it that people will refuse to give up on their dreams of entrepreneurial success, and yet find it easier to throw-up their hands in defeat and walk away from marital commitments? One reason I believe is while there are all kind of tools, resources, training, and support for your business there is not so much for your marriage.