Although the figure is highly debated, the general consensus is that approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. You can find stats on various professions and their relationship to divorce, but there are no hard figures to compare for entrepreneurs.
Over the years, I have met many entrepreneurs who have been divorced, many for what they blame as their business getting in the way of marriage. In fact, I am willing to bet that the divorce rate mentioned above is even higher for entrepreneurs.
So why do so many entrepreneurs wind up divorced? Well, many marriage problems are the same problems that entrepreneurs face with their business.
What Are Common Causes of Divorce for Entrepreneurs?
What are some common causes of divorce? Well, money is the biggest thing that comes to mind. Finances put a strain on a marriage and when a new venture is bootstrapped or hurting for money, this can spill into the marriage.
“When an entrepreneur puts their own money on the line with a risk they are taking, they are essentially putting up their families’ financial security as collateral,” says marriage expert, Larry Bilotta, founder of You Can Save This Marriage. “For both the entrepreneur and their spouse, this changes the game in a big way.”
While money may seem like the biggest cause of the problem, the issue runs just a little bit deeper. Bilotta believes that risks and time management also play key roles.
“Most typically, entrepreneurs are attracted to, and marry, people who are more cautious and uncomfortable with risk,” says Bilotta. “What this creates is a driven, ambitious do-whatever-it-takes person going into a marriage partnership with a cautious, low-risk-tolerance person.
So even though opposites attract, an entrepreneur who has a risk-taking personality (don’t they all) doesn’t always understand the emotional differences with their spouse. Bilotta adds that this is why the very foundation of divorce is already established before the couple even marries.
“They are both completely ignorant of these massive differences and they often remain that way until the marriage ends,” adds Bilotta. It is also the consequences of these risks that sends the marriage down a dangerous path.
“The cautious spouse endures a variety of destabilizing events such as creating one and two credit lines, missing payments, dodging collection phone calls, racing around to find the next money source or engaging in unpredictable behaviors gone wrong.”
While money and risk-taking are big components of divorce with entrepreneurs, time management also comes into play. Spouses who spend all their time and energy on their venture often neglect their marriage which can drive a wedge between the couple.
What Can Entrepreneurs Do To Help Sustain Their Marriage?
Regardless if you are just starting a venture, or you are already full swing and on the verge of divorce court, there are a number of things that you can do to help bring things back together.
The first thing you need to do is improve communication. If you and your spouse cannot communicate your feelings, it will be impossible to work things out. In order to do this, you must remain calm.
“Being calm is an emotion that will help you keep communication open and goodwill flowing,” says Bilotta. “By focusing on being calm during stressful times of marriage, you slow down negativity, leading to better communication.”
You also need to work on yourself instead of focusing on your spouse’s “faults.” According to Bilotta, you do this by keeping yourself free from stress and anxiety.
“Maintaining a healthy marriage is about learning how to change your inner environment from stressed, anxious, or angry to an environment where you feel calm, secure, safe, important and valuable. In other words, you need to be, and stay, in the best emotional shape if want to keep from ending your marriage prematurely.”
Finally, it is important to understand your spouse and their point of view on the situation. Bilotta also adds that you don’t necessarily need to change each other in order to be happy in your marriage.
“Understand your spouse’s personality and accept that although the two of you may have different approaches toward things like handling conflict, social events and parenting, each of you do not need to change who you are to be happy.”
The entrepreneurial spirit has great characteristics for those who want to achieve success in business. However, these same characteristics can be the very downfall of that entrepreneur’s marriage.
Knowing that a new venture will put a strain on your marriage is an important part of keeping the marriage together. Without knowing the potential issues, you will not be able to properly address them.
Keep the lines of communication open by staying calm and reducing your own stress and anxiety. Once you do, you will start to understand your spouse and begin to work on making each other happy without having to make major chan