In my previous article, I introduced the idea of treating your relationship like a business in order to help you experience a more fulfilling one. In part two, I’d like to dive a little deeper into how this approach can help it flourish.
As mentioned before, there are three main principles working in the business world, that can also work in your relationship :
- Detach yourself from it
- Nurture it
- Know its purpose.
Keep in mind that the goal of this unconventional approach is to become more aware of your relationship, giving it the proper time and attention it needs to flourish. It’s an opportunity to switch from the “Two become one” approach to the “Two become three” approach for a committed relationship. Instead of “subtracting”, we’re adding.
1. Detach yourself from it
You are not the business, you run a business.
When it comes to a successful business, it is best practice to keep clear boundaries between what’s considered business and what’s considered personal. “Business” will benefit the company. “Personal” will benefit the individual. Both need attention to function. However only the individual can provide the needed attention to the business and his or herself. Not the other way around.
For example, if you need a break from your business to recharge, you have to take it upon yourself to take that break. You shouldn’t expect the business to do that for you. It can’t and it’s not its role. If you expect the business to do that for you, you may run into trouble in the long run such as burnout, depression, resentment and more.
You are not the relationship, you manage a relationship.
Relationship can function the same way businesses do. It’s important to keep clear boundaries between the individual and the relationship. Both need attention to function. Although the relationship provides a lot of advantages to the individual, only the individual can provide him or herself the needed attention.
For example, if you are unhappy in your relationship because you’re not getting as much attention or compliments as you used to from your partner, look at what is really causing the unhappiness from within rather than look for your partner or the relationship to make you feel happy again. You are responsible for your own happiness within the relationship. Expecting your partner or the relationship to take on that responsibility is asking for trouble. It just adds too much unnecessary stress that can lead to burnout, depression, resentment and more.
Nothing outside of you can solve a problem that comes from within. The relationship and your partner can be there to show you where you may have neglected yourself by triggering certain feelings but they are not there to “fill in the gaps”.
In order for your relationship to thrive, it’s important to be able to detach yourself from it. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. It means that you know you are a whole being who needs care and nurturing separate from what your relationship needs. And It’s your responsibility to fulfil your own personal needs. Once you take care of yourself, you’ll have enough energy to dedicate to your relationship.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept the support from your partner or the relationship. Just don’t have expectations around it or become too dependent on it. Support should be offered willingly and freely, without guilt trips or threats.
2. Nurture it
A successful business requires your consistent energy to thrive
As an entrepreneur, when you start a business, in order for it to be successful you need to dedicate a proper amount of time and effort to allow it to flourish. In order for the business to thrive, it needs to be profitable. There’s a constant input of energy from the business owners and employees needed to make sure that the business stay afloat.
In a successful business there are constant checking points, annual reports, goals, target for the years ahead, weekly meetings to make sure everything is on track and all the issues have been addressed and the proper procedure to resolve the problems have been implemented.
A successful relationship requires your consistent energy to thrive
Similarly, in order for your relationship to thrive, you need to put consistent effort into it. That means, time to connect, reflect, and plan for the relationship itself. Often the tendency is to get to the point where the couple is married or officially committed and then the amount of effort put into maintaining the relationship drops. People get distracted with work, obligations, finances, kids, etc. Little to know time is spent on the relationship which can eventually drive people apart over time.
Why not implement regular relationship checking points throughout the year just like successful businesses do? You can have regular check-ins with your partner to see how things are going within the relationship, find some ways to reconnect, make sure to address any issues and, if needed, contact experts to help solve any problems that may be too difficult to solve between the two of you. Often, small unaddressed issues can quickly grow into the dreaded big white elephant in the room. But it could have been avoided with the simple practice of planning for a common future and checking-in on a regular basis.
It doesn’t have to be boring. It can be fun. It SHOULD be fun. Something like a monthly date to talk about various aspects of the relationship or topics that affect the relationship would make a huge difference. An annual getaway trip to reconnect is also another great idea to keep nurturing the relationship. None of it comes automatically, especially with so many distractions and a busy schedule, so making time to plan is key.
3. Know its purpose
Why are you in this particular business?
Every successful business has a why, a purpose, a mission statement.
- Nike’s mission is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”
- Equinox’s mission is to “create the possibility for people to maximize the potential within themselves”
- Tesla’s mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”
These statements serve as the companies north star and ensure that the business is always heading towards its intended direction. Whenever there’s confusion as to whether a course of action should or should not be taken, the mission statement will help guide the decision makers. Relationships can also benefit from using the same practice.
Why are you in this particular relationship?
Knowing the why of a relationship can be the glue that keeps a couple together, just like knowing why we choose a particular career path will get us through the hurdles along the way.
There are many reasons to get into a relationship and the reasons varies from one couple to another. Some couples get into a relationship to have kids, some to merge families, some to experience life’s adventures with a partner, others to build an empire, etc.
There are no right or wrong reasons to be in a relationship. Each are valid in their own right. The important thing is to know why, make sure both partners are in agreement with it, and use it as their north star when dealing with inevitable stumble blocks along the way.
“When you’re arguing with someone, it’s not you against each other, it’s both of you against the problem.” — Jay Shetty
Treating your personal relationship like a business gives you and your partner the opportunity to function as a team striving for the same goal. Any problem that arises in the relationship becomes an opportunity to tackle the challenge together, whatever it may be. Instead of fighting against one another, trying to decide who the “winner” is or who get to “wear the pants” in the relationship, you get to grow and learn together : You, your partner and the relationship.
What are your thoughts on this? If you could choose a mission statement for you and your partner together, what would it be?