I’ve got something on my heart that I really want to talk to you about. It has to do with a statistic I heard at a recent seminar. I heard that real estate investors, and entrepreneurs in general, get divorced from their spouses at a rate of 35 percent.
That means at least one out of every three people I see at a seminar is having major difficulty in their marriage.
As I question why this is, I’ve been reflecting on the hard times Ashley and I have experienced. We’ve had family tragedies like unexpected deaths, and we’ve even been through major emergencies with our children. For instance, my son pulled a boiling cup of water onto himself at age two. He suffered second — and third — degree burns on his left arm and most of his torso. We went through skin graphs, multiple surgeries and an extended stay at the Augusta Hospital pediatric burn unit — all while tending to our younger toddler who needed us too. I still shudder and tear up reliving those moments.
On a business level, Ashley and I have been through thick and thin. We’ve enjoyed the successes of great deals and felt the persistent oppression of prolonged stress associated with the bad deals. We had one deal that just wouldn’t go away. It took us over a year and half to get rid of it, which was a long and stressful ride.
These types of situations can drive a wedge between a couple or push them together. Ashley and I are a team, though, and through each of these circumstances, we came closer together.
You see, we have a great relationship. Truthfully, I can count on one hand the number of fights we’ve had. I believe our statistic is a result of a few things. The first is our faith.
Susan Harper, founder of Shaper Business Solutions, shared a cool diagram with us. Picture a triangle in your mind. At the top is Yahweh. The bottom corners are you and your spouse. As you move up the sides of the triangle, closer to our Father in heaven, you get closer to your spouse. And I believe Ashley and I are a testament to that imagery.
Personal development is something I believe has made a big difference. Not only did Ashley and I want to run a successful business, but we wanted to have a successful marriage and family as well. To do so, we sought out great books that would help us be better spouses and parents.
One of our favorites is the “For Men Only” and “For Women Only” series by husband and wife team Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. Jeff and Shaunti are Christian marriage speakers that have a background in statistics. These books are a fun representation of their findings after surveying hundreds of men and woman about relationship questions. I highly recommend them.
If you’re having difficulty at home, I would like to offer you some advice. You see, being a real estate investor is not an easy business. I know; I’ve been there. It often requires long hours and can feel quite isolating, especially if your spouse is not part of the business. But I have a feeling that if you’re putting yourself to the hazard in that way, it’s because you care deeply for your family and want to take care of them.
With that in mind, my advice is this — make time to be alone and engaged with your family daily.
I’m not talking about just at mealtimes, which is necessary, too. I’m talking about at least an hour meant for just them. This means turning off the cell phone, putting down the computer and being 100 percent available to them. If you have kids, this is going to be a two-step process. You will need to spend time with your children, and your spouse as a unit. Then, you will need to be there alone, available and engaged with your spouse after you put them to bed.
Michael Gerber, Author of the E-Myth series, suggests that every business is a family business. That’s because you take your family with you in your mind when you go to work. Consequently, you take your work home to your family. So how successful you are at home will directly affect your success at work.
Remember, they don’t need you to just make money for them to live. They need you to be there spending time with them to be happy and fulfilled.
Spending those moments daily with your family is crucial.
You may feel like you can’t spend time every day because of how much you have to do. But know this: the happier they are and the better you are at home, the better you will be at work. Devoting yourself to your family will make your business better. And that’s what makes it a family business.