What marriages teaches us about life - Mark MacLeod

August 7, 2023 - Mark MacLeod

What marriages teaches us about life

I attended a beautiful wedding in Paris this weekend. A black tie affair at the Ritz. Hard to top that experience in the city of love.

As I flew home the next day, I thought about what marriage tells us about ourselves and about life.

We are all special

Marriage is common. Many of us get married. Think about those ceremonies and the love from everyone who attends. Think about what people have to say about you in their speeches. We are all loved.

Life is hard. Much of that is of our own making (but that is another topic for another time….). In those hard times, it’s great to remind ourselves how much we are loved. And to lean on those loved ones when we need support.

Intentions matter

Think of the promise of marriage: that we will be together forever. Hard to think of a bigger commitment than that.

The sad fact is, however, 1/2 of marriages fail. Where do they go wrong? Why do we give up on that commitment? Many, many reasons, some of which I will touch on below. But, a big one is intention.

I coach highly ambitious CEOs. They bring so much intention to their businesses. They have vision statements, mission statements, quarterly goals, regular performance reviews.

They will these businesses into existence and turn vision into reality.

If we brought 1/2 that level of intention and effort into our marriages, I am guessing the failure rate would be a LOT lower.

Communication is essential

This brings up the importance of communication. This is one of the three core roles of a CEO. The bigger your company gets the more important this role is. At a certain scale, the role basically becomes a communications role.

Related to the above point on intentions, communicating intentionally and regularly with our spouses is key.

My wife and I have a marriage meeting every week. Every Sunday morning we meet with the following agenda:

Praise (positive feedback & appreciation that we have for each other)

Chores (dividing and conquering what needs to be done)

Issues (anything bothering us that needs to be surfaced)

Good times (future plans)

More of (things that are happening that we would love to see/ have more of)

Despite having an agenda, it doesn’t feel like a formal meeting. It feels like the two of us investing in, caring for, feeding and nurturing our relationship.

Marriage takes work

Stating the obvious here. Bringing intention, communication, passion, energy, etc into a relationship takes work. This is a real challenge for entrepreneurs trying to build companies at the same time.

Go back to your intentions. When you started your company, did you promise to do it till you die? NO. You fully expect it will be sold or die at some point. You will then do something else.

So, in the context of your life, your marriage is actually more important to you. Or at least, is intended to be longer lasting. Do you put the same amount of work into your marriage that you do to your company? (No judgment in this question…).

Marriages have infinite potential

In the same way that an entrepreneur can turn a vision into a real, thriving company, so too can a couple build a magical relationship together. One that completely changes the course and quality of our lives.

Love is everything

At the risk of getting squishy here, love is likely the most powerful force in the universe. We will do almost anything for love. It makes us irrational. It raises our heartbeats. It makes life worth living.

I have a deep appreciation for what it takes to build a company. My sincere hope is that you can build yours without blowing up your most important relationship.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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