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What are you doing this Memorial Day weekend?

What are you doing this Memorial Day weekend?

May 27, 2010

Planning to catch up on work? Play some golf? Watch the NBA playoffs? Or perhaps finally get a chance to see Avatar and not think about anything else?

I have a better idea. Forget all those things this weekend. Because none of that means a thing.

Instead, make some time to spend it with the most important person in your life.

Who am I talking about?

Your spouse!! Yes, the person you fell in love with years ago and I'm willing to bet my last dollar that it's the same person you've been ignoring far too long.

You see, I spend a lot of time with entrepreneurs who come to us trying to turn around their businesses. But I can tell you that nearly all of them are also struggling (really struggling) to turn around their business lives. And if the most important relationship in your life isn't solid, nothing will be.

As entrepreneurs our personal lives are part of our business lives. It's difficult to keep them separate. Our finances are interwoven. Our friends in business are often our personal friends. Our personal conversations are often about the business.

But we don't take the time to invest as much time and energy into the person we care about most!

So what we do? For one week ' maybe two! ' we justify it by saying we'll put the laptop and iPhone or Blackberry away while we enjoy a family vacation. Sometimes we're able to even go a whole day without sneaking off to check messages. Sound familiar?

But that doesn't work. Believe me. I've been spending a lot of time lately working with business owners and their spouses trying to repair years of emotional damage. Some are on the brink of divorce and they think if they get to see the kids 2 or 3 days a week then everything is okay. That's not okay! I'm sorry but that's not okay!

The most important relationship in your business life and your personal life is the one you have with your spouse. It's your first and most important responsibility! Because if that one relationship is broken everything else is broken too.

As a result, we tend to wound where we were wounded. A business owner whose father was a tyrant now spends his days not spending enough time listening to his wife and other people closest to him because he's so busy trying to prove his father wrong.

He's becoming a tyrant himself and he's continuing the cycle and wounding the people he cares about most. It's sad.

Fortunately, we're able to turnaround many of these marriages ' and businesses too! ' using 3 important techniques that I think you'll find valuable too. Here's what you need to do.

3 things you can do to turnaround your marriage

1. Set aside "touch time." It's ironic. We'll go out of our way to touch and hold babies, but as they get older we tend to think we don't need to be touched any more. Our children need hugs ' even if our teenagers won't admit it! Same is true as adults. Take the time to hug your spouse. Put down what you're doing and hug your spouse and give her a kiss.

2. Create "talk time." I say 'create' because this is something you have to actively do. Call your spouse in the middle of the day to see how he or she is doing. If you're at a conference, stop in a store and pick up a small gift just to let her know you're thinking of her. Don't think you need to buy anything expensive. A lot of small chocolates will mean a lot more than one diamond necklace in an attempt to atone for years of neglect.

3. Set aside date nights. Make a date with your spouse once a week or at least once a month. Go to a coffee shop, walk to the park or go out for ice cream. But here's the cardinal rule: No practical talk. Don't talk about work or what's happening with the kids or try to make decisions. This is the time to rediscover yourselves and fall in love again.

I just finished reading a great book by a friend of mine, Mort Fertel, who wrote 43 Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great (available on Amazon.com). One of the things that he recommends is to write a letter to your spouse telling him or her all the wonderful things you appreciate about him or her. But don't put it in an email or a text message. Instead, he suggests handwriting it to show you put some effort into it and that you wrote it from your heart.

Be specific in your letter. A helpful hint is to write an outline first and list the specific examples you plan to include in your letter. Then write it. I did this recently for my wife and gave her my 2-page, handwritten letter on Mother's Day. It meant a lot to both of us.
Mort has lots of other great ideas (42 to be exact) in his book. In fact, I'm so passionate about helping entrepreneurs improve the most important relationships in their lives that I'm giving away 5 copies of Mort's book. All you have to do is send me an email about how you think this advice will make a difference in your personal life and your business life and I will send you a complimentary copy of Mort's book, 43 Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great.

Just send your email to me at JonGoldman@YourBusinessGPS.com and I'll give the book to the top 5 responses I receive. (Don't worry. All responses will remain confidential.)

In the meantime, enjoy the long weekend with the most important person in your life ' your spouse!


Jon Goldman, President