Welcome back to Season 1, Episode 3 of the Convene Podcast. This week, Greg Leith sat down with two Convene Chairs, Darrell Passwater and Mark Vincent to hear their weighty and wise reflections upon losing a spouse.
One of the biggest causes of marital breakdowns … and in business relationships … is the inability to resolve conflict effectively; and every married couple runs into conflict because … Conflict is inevitable … two people who are in love … want each other to think and feel the same way about things … how to deal with money … how to deal with children … free time … and more!
The problem is … too many of us have come to believe that conflict is a bad thing … and that we should avoid it at all costs … but that’s not true … nor is it healthy for your marriage …
The truth is … conflict is a sign of connectedness … it says we have a vital relationship here … Remember – we rarely have conflicts with people we do not know or like.
But the most important thing we need to know about conflict is that it does not have to be negative! When we learn how to successfully resolve conflicts with our spouse … we discover new things about him or her that we didn’t know before (which is why we’re having the problem) … and that helps to deepen our intimacy.
To make conflict a productive force in our marriage we have to establish a “No Losers Policy.”
If you are “one,” a house divided against itself can’t stand. If you are a “team” … it is impossible for one member of a team to win while another member of that same team loses! You either both win … or you both lose … but there should never be an “I win – You lose” mentality allowed your marriage!
You both “win” when you both feel good about and agree together on the solution to your problem. Maybe one of you came up with the solution … that’s OK … as long as both of you willingly agree that it is the best solution … you have a win-win scenario! What will break down any marriage is the “my way or the highway” mentality!
One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned from my involvement with Convene is the importance of spending time working on my “business” and not just investing time in the “business”. I need to pull my shoulder off of the grindstone to take a look at how and why I am doing what I am doing. That is such a simple idea … yet when I apply it … it transforms what I am grinding away at … and how I am spending my time. Being in the marriage and family building “business”, I’m amazed at how many of the principles we learn at our Convene Forum Days have direct application into our marriages. I have been trained as a theologian and counselor not a business leader. So, the whole concept of Managing by Key Indicators was new to me; and I struggled a while to articulate what needs to be done in order for me to be successful in what I do.
We’ve all learned that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Going back to my notes these quotes jumped out to me:
“Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds. For riches are not forever; nor does a crown endure to all generations.” Prov. 27:23-24, NASB
Companies that fail - work hard - but on the wrong things! To help your business stay focused on the right things, create a set of simple Key Indicators, which allow you to quickly assess the health and direction of the organization.
Look at how these sound if we just change a few key words:
“Know well the condition of your spouse, and pay attention to your family. For riches are not forever; nor does a crown endure to all generations.” Prov. 27:23-24, NASB
Couples that fail - work hard - but on the wrong things! To help your marriage stay focused on the right things, create a set of simple Key Indicators, which allow you to quickly assess the health and direction of the relationship.
Have you ever thought about what the “Key indicators” might be for your marriage and family life? Here’s a list Karen and I came up with to help us see how well we’re doing:
- We’re communicating on a rapport (emotional) versus report (fact) level?
- We’re making regular spiritual connections?
- We’re making regular physical connections?
- We resolve our conflicts / issues quickly?
- We’re an effective parenting team?
- We enjoy “alone time” together?
- We are serving the Lord together?
Why don’t you schedule a family business meeting with your spouse and agree on a set of KPI’s for your marriage this week?
Tony got married seven years ago--in the midst of building his precision- tool company; and started off by making three mistakes. Here they are: One, after a romantic wedding in Greece, he whisked his bride off to a honeymoon at a machine-tool trade show in Germany.
Two: During the early years of his marriage he plowed every penny of profits back into his business-putting all of the financial burden on his wife; who was also trying to raise their first child. and …
Three: … this one's the real biggie. "I underestimated how much time the business was going to take away from my family," Tony says. "I was literally never home. Our marriage almost didn't survive. I got to the point where I had to say to her, 'I'll do anything. Just please don't leave.' "
It goes without saying that building a successful business and a happy marriage at the same time is not easy … in fact some say it is the impossible dream. Henry Landes, founder of the Delaware Valley Family Business Center says: "It's like walking the high wire over Niagara Falls. It takes a lot of skill, and you can fall off easily.,"
A marriage in which the business is the biggest baby, counselor Landes says, "has to be a stronger marriage than most. It needs better communication skills, better conflict-resolution skills, better specific planning skills, and a lot more resilience."
The good news is that despite the many pitfalls, plenty of entrepreneurial couples are meeting that challenge. In fact research suggests that the shared struggle of creating a company together can make a good marriage even better.
Data shows that there's no evidence that the divorce rate among business owners is any higher than average. According to a recent survey by the investment advisory firm Neuberger Berman, 42% of CEOs of fast-growing startups say that running their own companies has had a positive effect on their relationships with spouses. That is significantly higher than the 32% who said business ownership had caused trouble on the home front.
So let’s take some time to ask some important questions:
What were some of the mistakes you made in building your business that had a negative impact on your marriage? How did you correct them, or are you still making them?
How have you transferred the attitudes and skills that make you successful in business into your home life?
And just for fun … using our Convene vernacular … what are the Key Performance Indicators that you have set for your marriage? How will you measure them? Who’s holding you accountable to do so?
Our aspiration is to take our companies from good to great … let’s set that same goal for our marriage and home lives.
Matthew 16:26: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world … if he loses his soul?