“People who have good relationships at home are more effective in the marketplace.” – Zig Ziglar
Business guru Zig Ziglar points out an important truth: We are better outside of the home when we have a solid foundation within the home. I’ve found that true in my life, which encourages me to keep working on my marriage with my husband Chris because the ROI is always high. Ultimately, marriage is always a work in progress. We make the choice daily to turn towards each other and be loving and kind – even when daily stressors may have us on edge.
Dr. John Gottman, a clinical psychologist who has built a career studying relationships, says the “four horsemen” of a relationship apocalypse are when couples engage in criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling (withdrawing). Chris and I try to recognize if we’re wading into four horsemen territory and stop it in its tracks.
In our day-to-day lives, it’s all about compromise and balance – but not keeping score. Chris and I have ridiculously full lives since we’re both entrepreneurs and our travel schedules are generally like threading the gauntlet. I’m usually on the road and on a plane once a month (at a minimum), and he is often in the Middle East for weeks at a time on sales trips. When he is home, Chris often does the bulk of the child care in the morning because my morning routine is longer. (I’m a girl, and I’m on camera a lot, so it’s not just a quick shower for me most days.) I do much of the evening routine, and 90% of the time I am the parent up in the middle of the night for nightmares, wet beds or soothing snuggles. We learned, and continue to learn, that it’s best not to keep score in these parenting duties. Instead, we give willingly and lovingly and believe that it does come back in spades with a happier family and a loving relationship.
I’ll give Chris the credit for starting that practice of just giving and giving and never saying, “You’ve been out a lot, so I get to be out a lot.” He also empties the dishwasher and keeps the counters clean on the weekends, and that’s a huge help and goes a long way to making our household run more smoothly. Thank you, honey!
A friend gave me some advice once; she said, “Anne-Marie, it doesn’t matter if you make millions. All that matters to your kids is if their Mom and Dad love each other when it’s all said and done.” That advice has stuck with me and I make the choice, every day, to be married and fully engaged with my husband. He tries to do the same. Yes, we fight, but we try hard to not fight dirty or use the Gottman Four Horsemen.
It’s all worth it in the end. We have happy children, successful careers and the love of each other.