They say that opposites attract. And personally, I’ve always thought that was terrible love advice. Just an excuse and a precursor for conflict when two people don’t really belong together. While dating and in our very-early marriage I thought of my husband, Nick, and myself as so aligned and matched in everyway. Same upbringings, same views and principles, same goals, same humor… same, same, same. Perfect, right? A few years into our marriage, we each took a marriage quiz. We scored off the charts – in opposite directions. What?! I was floored. Wouldn’t you know it, we are quite opposite in many, very significant ways. Nick is a risk taker and always on the hunt for the next big investment. He thrives on energy and staying busy. He’s spontaneous and often rebels against boundaries and structure. I, on the other hand, am far more conservative when considering risks and investments. I do best when able to focus on one project at a time and my quiet alone time is sacred. Side note: the fact that it took me 4 years of marriage (plus years of dating) to fully recognize our differences is probably a blog for another day, ha!
Flash forward a couple years, we are still working to navigate these personality differences. Nick is a serial entrepreneur running three different businesses. He is principal and owner of DP Environments, Inc. a landscape design firm, he is owner of an online plant nursery BudgetPlants.com and he is partner in a multi-media company, One Tap, LLC. Since having our daughter in 2016, we decided that I would be at home with her full time. A great upside of this arrangement is that it has allowed me to be more present and aware of Nick’s activities and ventures. The downside is that I am more present and aware of Nick’s activities and ventures. As a person who operates in structure and predictability, it can be challenging to observe and support someone who operates with his own time schedule, priority list and is juggling multiple businesses with multiple staff and multiple clients.
I realize I may sound a little biased, but believe me when I say that Nick is highly skilled at well, most things he does. He truly could make a profession out of something he has attempted once. And herein lies the challenge. He is passionate and excels in these different ventures and as a result, he wants to pursue them completely. Not only is Nick running these businesses, but he often comes home with some, shall we say, interesting business ideas. My job is to either steer him clear or redirect towards something that lands a little closer to viable. So as the level-headed wife who would actually like to see her husband on occasion, I am learning to walk the fine line of supportive vs. nagging. I have a few strategies that I have employed to help us work through the process.
Our mutual respect for one another is a huge factor in the success of our marriage. So when Nick presents his ideas and plans I strive to always receive them positively and patiently. Many times he just likes to talk through crazy ideas and I never want to cut down his creativity and adventurous spirit. Even times when I know that what he is saying is completely out of this world, I always find a gentle, lovingly teasing way to circle him back to earth. And on the flipside, Nick is incredibly receptive to my viewpoints and suggestions. He values the knowledge that my work and experiences bring to the table. We communicate well – compromising and strategizing together. We’ve never made a significant life decision without consulting each other and when appropriate, consulting others we trust.
I have heard it said that running your own business is the equivalent to raising a child, and truly we can vouch for that. There are days when Nick is running all day non-stop to come home and work some more. There is no break when you run three companies. As a wife, the threat of his burnout is definitely a concern. He loves to keep busy but I do worry about his stress levels and potential fatigue. And also, I need help with our actual human baby. This is another area where I try to insert some assistance. I often ask each morning what I can do to help lessen his load and also remind him of scheduling issues and appointments that he may have overlooked. He thinks I’m being helpful, when in fact, I’m keeping his schedule organized so he can help me. But the key is that these conversations are daily – and usually multiple times a day. We are constantly asking and re-asking what schedules are for the following day(s) and checking in with each other to ensure we are still on track.
We are definitely far from having it all worked out and we don’t always run smoothly. But, we never lose sight of the most important partnership of all – our own.