Working With Your Life Partner An Asset or a Liability? cover image
03 May 2012

Working With Your Life Partner An Asset or a Liability?


Every relationship is an asset—in the beginning. Deciding to join forces with another human being is filled with promise and high expectations of what’s possible. You are filled with optimism and have a sense that you can take on the world. And, this isn’t limited only to your life partner.

This same feeling comes when you employ your first team member, or when you get a sense that you have finally attracted the right 2IC. What about the sense of accomplishment you get when you sign up with a new client or you engage a supplier who really gets you. It’s all perfect, life works, you’re in heaven.

But for some unknown reason to you, your life partner, your team, your clients and your suppliers quickly turn from operating as your best assets and become a liability!

Shock, horror, what happened, where did things go wrong you may well be asking yourself. No wonder fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, and seventy-five percent of businesses fail within the first five years, can anyone live with, or work with, other human beings? However, you know that going solo isn’t an option either.

So, what is the solution? A key to your success is to know how to work powerfully with your life partner. If you get this right, then you can adopt the skills, insights, and knowledge into all areas of your life and into every other relationship. And, trust me, I have worked with my life partner in our business for nearly twenty years. Some people thought that our relationship would end in disaster, and there was a time when they would have been right.

Three years into our marriage we nearly got divorced. What I thought was a winning formula; our lethal weapon in life and business, almost became our worse nightmare. I had a lot to learn about what it takes to successfully work with your life partner and be together 24/7.

Tips for valuing your asset

To go from the brink of divorce, the potential collapse of a business, and the giving up of a dream to celebrating eighteen years of marriage, you could say that I have earned the right to share some tips with you.

What I want you to know is that no matter how bad you think your current situation is with your life partner, there is hope. There is a solution. And, it can be turned around today.

1. Taking Responsibility

Your first decision is to decide to become 100 percent responsible for the success and failure of your business and your partnership. For things to change you must be willing to go first. This can never be about you only changing when your partner changes.

2. Admit that there is a problem in your relationship

Your second priority is to admit that there is a problem, or a breakdown in how you are relating with your partner. You then need to be willing to write down what you think the issues are, who you think is at fault, and how long these issues have been going on.

Please understand that this is an exercise between you and the issues. This isn’t an exercise in you gathering evidence to fire off at your partner. No! This is about you being responsible for your thoughts, your opinions and your view of what you think is going on and being willing to get them out of your head and onto paper.

3. What you value most about your partner

Prior to sharing your thoughts with your partner, it’s important that you get back to basics and reflect upon what you value most about your partner. Write a list of all their strengths, skills, talents and what you most admire about them. Look at the role they have been playing in your life and your business. Start to see where they have gone beyond the call of duty.

Acknowledge that perhaps they’re not always able to operate from their strengths—meaning have they had to extend way beyond their capabilities and therefore operating in an area of weakness.

4. Create a goal worth playing for

If you have become disillusioned by what you’re doing and how you’re operating, then perhaps it’s time to create a goal that is worth playing for. After all, you inspired your life partner about what was possible some time ago, perhaps it’s time to do this again.

5. Communicate

Decide to communicate with your partner. Create the opportunity to share your views and be open and willing to hear their side of the story. The key is to not continue to work around the elephant in the living room.

6. Find a mediator

If you need a third party to support you, then find someone who is experienced in working with their life partner. Not every issue can be resolved on your own. I share these tips with you not for the purposes of a one-off exercise.

In choosing to have a rich and rewarding life-long relationship with your partner, you must consistently maintain, value, and appreciate your one and only asset. When I truly learnt to value, respect, and appreciate who Louise was and what she brought to our business and our personal partnership, everything started to work. I wish you every success.