Hustle

The day Jenny quit my company. (Or how to build a business and not get divorced)

Jenny likes to say that she quit my business.

I, on the other hand, like to say that I fired her.

Let’s agree to disagree.

Regardless, two years into my business, my wife quit.

Why?

Because we were going to get a divorce eventually if she didn’t.

No one tells you how consuming and damaging a business can be to your marriage. The problem is that it starts to dominate every conversation you have. Instead of just telling Jenny about my day, I was at home, sharing that day with her. She became the person I bounced every idea off of. She became my brainstorm partner. She became my coworker. She became my business partner.

And somewhere in there, she stopped being just my wife.

This happens to other couples. I know a lot who say, “We swore we wouldn’t talk about business on our date, but ten minutes into dinner, and we were knee deep into strategy.”

The problem is really two fold:

1. I didn’t know how to draw boundaries between my marriage and my business.
2. I wasn’t seeking enough real community outside of my house.

Both are important topics that are critical to your ability to be an entrepreneur.

The problem is that most business books and experts don’t ever talk about marriage. Either the author is not married or the conversation is deemed too emotional. Even worse, some entrepreneurs tell you that you should hustle 24/7. Let me be real clear about that approach.

There’s a name for people who hustle all the time, they’re called workaholics.

Entrepreneurs who tell you that you should work 16 hour days or sleep when you’re dead are dumb. At the bare minimum, their marriages suck. I don’t care who you are or what you believe, a great marriage takes a great investment of time. If you’re not giving it that, your marriage is terrible.

Sometimes, we’ll trick ourselves into thinking we’re doing all this for our kids. What a joke. I’ve never met a 15-year-old who said, “I didn’t see my parents for the first 15 years of my life but I have a nice computer so it’s a pretty good trade off.”

Jenny quit a year ago and things are a lot better. She’s still part of the big decisions my company makes, but she’s my wife again now. Our lives don’t revolve around work anymore. There are healthy ways to have both a thriving business and a thriving marriage.

I’m teaching a lesson about how to build a business without blowing up your marriage in my new 90 Days of Business Hustle course. The lowest price ends on Friday at midnight.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to check it out. Whether you’ve got an established company or just an idea of something you’d like to do, it will help you succeed. Even if you’re single, learning how to make sure your business doesn’t kill your relationships is important. Learn more here.

Growing a business is fun. Making money is fun. Building a business is fun.

But if you win the business and lose the marriage all the money in the world won’t matter.

Fight for both.

I’ll show you how.

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff

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21 Comments

  1. My wife and I have been married over 30 years, and we have learned a few things. Let me guess, the issue of divorce was not because it was digging into off hours. It is because you did not learn to make the mix work in a productive way, right? Don’t feel alone and don’t feel hopeless. In fact, it is possible that area of life could be restored in a productive way.

    First, read through Jim Collins books on business and you will find that agreement is not the key to a healthy business. Commitment to the decisions and the others on the team is where the win comes from. This does not mean that there is top-down lording or that there is bottom up pandering. Before the decision is made, there needs to be a genuine dialog. Once the decision is made, we save success metrics for later. We work to make things work. We support each other in all our designated activities.

    With that said, my wife and I are just jumping into these things. We hit patches we have to power through. After 30 years of marriage, we have learned it is not about getting to where we don’t ever argue. It is learning to make the arguments productive for both sides. The same works in business. When we get this down, we can take our marriage and our business to a new level.

    So, how will you influence your future today?

    • WilliamRiley Reply

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      • CarolineWebb Reply

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  2. Tiffany Reply

    I love Jenny! Don’t know her, but for some reason I just know she’s a keeper!

    • Alyssa Patterson Reply

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  3. Jon – I’ve been a big fan for a long time (Quitter saved me a lot of heartache). And while I appreciate all your work on “hustle”, this topic resonated even deeper. My realationships have suffered ever since I started working from home. Yes, I’ve loved the “flexibility” it’s given me. No, I’ve not used that flexibility to build better friendships. I’ve not used it to make my wife feel safe or desired or championed-by. Mostly I’ve used it on me. Borrrrrrrring. I need to change some things. Thank you for sharing your hard-won lessons – you and your work matter a lot to me.

  4. Gerry Blumberg Reply

    I quit and we still got divorced. And being a workaholic was definitely part of the problem. I came last.

  5. I’m so glad I saw this today. What a great post–but it also makes me nervous! My blog has been our primary income source for about 4 years, and we’ve debated my husband quitting his teaching job. He has one more week of working outside the home, and then we will both run my blog full-time together! YIKES! We will be bathing it in prayer!

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  13. Clinton Loomis Reply

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