This week Chantel and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage. This is an incredible milestone for us considering all we’ve been through together.
How did we get here? How do we STAY in the sweet spot of balance?
Balancing your marriage, your kids, and building your dream as a creative is a massive riddle to solve for most creatives I work with. In fact, I receive more questions about managing family, marriage, and disciplines than any other subject when it comes to building a business and brand. It’s hard to build a dream while you’re making sure it’s not at the cost of your marriage and family life.
It got me thinking…
A successful marriage, home life, and business doesn’t just “happen” or fall in your lap. Success is planned and designed.
I thought I would share with you my own checklist that I use to make sure you’re getting the win-win of building your business while at the same time building an amazing home life.
- Is your spouse your #1 client? I once heard a wife of a friend tell me, “I’m not his number one client”. WOW. That was one of the strongest statements I’ve ever heard and it made my gut sting thinking of my own wife ever saying that about me. If our career and so-called “hustle” is at the cost of our marriage, you’ve basically had an adulterous affair with your career. Cut the cord.
- Invest in weekly date nights: After 20 years, Chantel and I have remained faithful on date nights each week. However, this isn’t a time where we go and sit in a dark theater and “escape” the kids. This is an intentional time where we ask ourselves the following: What do you like in this current season? What do you hate and want to get rid of? What dreams do you wish were being made a reality? How can I help? Now, I know this sounds a little cheesy but when you are running a bed and breakfast, which we all are with kids, there is a lot happening within the span of 7 days. So, trade date night babysitting with friends. They will love you for it. Sometimes Chantel and I go out for a cheap meal, and sometimes we get all fancy and hit a steakhouse. Regardless, look at it this way, you can spend $150 dollars on date night a week or spend $150 on marriage counseling. Don’t spend time on date night. Invest time on date night.
- How would you treat your best friend? It amazes me how many dudes look at their wife and kids as a burden. They want to escape from them with work and activities. Bottomline dude, if you’re a guy reading this, it’s time to lead. I personally feel responsible for setting the tone and pace of the house. That said, am I leading a serving my tribe and being someone they actually want to follow? You set the pace. So, when I told Chantel that I would be writing this post and I asked her what we’ve done that works, she said, “We’re best friends”. Your spouse is your partner and teammate in this adventure and assignment. God has the two of you together for a reason. Two are better than one by design. Chantel is my investor and I am hers. My job is to help underwrite and make her dreams, as well as the kids, to come alive and become a reality.
- Their dreams don’t have to be your dreams: Most couples default to something being wrong if they don’t share the same exact dreams and ambitions. Actually I’m glad we don’t share the same dreams. However, we share the same approach: Backstopping one another to see each other’s dreams become a reality. Best friends do that. Best friends also prioritize intentional time together. See point two.
- Small drops in the bucket add up in time: When Chantel tells me to go out and play some golf or go out and have some fun, I know I’ve invested into her emotional bank account so that she is being heard and understood. Again, this goes back to the benefits of point #2.
My hope is that these points will help you approach discovering the heart of your spouse in depths you never knew possible. By doing this, your creative ideas, your quality of work will go through the roof. You won’t be spending time with one foot in work and the other on family wishing you were in the other. You’ll be mastering your time, looking forward to date night, and not looking to escape.
Here’s what I do know…
You won’t be on your deathbed wondering, “I wish I would have spent more time at the office.”
So I have to ask myself constantly, “What business do I have trying to build a business and change the world when I can’t even serve and build up the business under my own roof?”
Now, I look at my life and all that I have been entrusted with through the biblical lens of scripture. That said, I just look at it like this: If I am looking to be blessed and successful by God in my business yet forsaking my wife and kids in doing so, then my life is out of whack. My priorities are out of alignment. I believe my wife is my number one client, my kids next, and my relationships with friends after. The business is way down on the list. A great indicator of where your heart is by testing yourself with this question: If I had my career and title removed from me and my life, where and who does my heart lie in?
My dear friend, I’ve blown it more times than I can imagine, but I’ve improved from years ago. I want my family to look back on our life together and not look at me as a ghost or never being around because I was off with my mistress.
Your marriage and kids are the launching pad to the mission of your life. If your launching pad isn’t solid, don’t expect to hit your destination in the sky. A few inches off down here on earth is thousands of miles off the mark in space.
Take inventory, take time, book your family as the number one project and client and treat them the same as you would a top paying client. The return on investment will pay you dividends not only here on earth but your fruit will grow on their trees and leave an eternal legacy for you.
Your spouse and kids are your single greatest asset on earth outside your personal relationship with God.
You got this!
We are in your corner!