The Wife of an Entrepreneur: 10 Things Learned

I married a man, who loves business, leadership and adventure.

Chris BehnkeI knew this before I married him, but as we were both pretty young, he was just getting a taste of running a business and who can know where your road will take you for sure? It has taken us (closing in on twenty years) to owning business’s, to working for someone else to back to owning business’s.

The man’s heart is geared for business. He loves it. He breathes it. He dreams it.
And then, there is me. I don’t know the first thing about business, and frankly, I don’t really care about knowing about it. I couldn’t sell carrots to a horse , (if that was possible,) and I don’t like confrontation and dealing with people, I don’t like the stress of not knowing if your going to get paid and I do not like the insecurity of the small business life.

But then, I never wanted to be a “Business woman”, I wanted to be a wife and mother.
I have learned a lot in the years I have been married to an entrepreneur, and this list is what I have come up with so far to help me adapt and survive the scary parts and to help my husband be the very best he can be at the job he loves. Here we go!

The Wife of an Entrepreneur
The Wife of an Entrepreneur

#1 Adopting His Dream as Mine
This is one I still have to work on, because I don’t find it easy to be excited about someone else’s dream!  Do you? But, I have realized in the past couple years that in order for me to be on board with his business whole heartedly, I must Adopt his dream. Adopting is taking that which is not naturally yours and accepting it is yours. There isn’t much wiggle room in a relationship for both of us to be pulling a full weighted load going in two opposite directions, Only one of us can be the leader in the pack when it comes to throwing our lives into entrepreneural living. I gave up my dreams of security for his insane desire to spread his wings in building business. This doesn’t mean I can’t ever pursue my dreams, it means right now, we are in the season of his dream building.

#2 Letting Go of The Fear of Financial Ruin
Not being a risk taker, this has been a pretty big fear I had for quite awhile. Who wants to work as hard as we do and come out with nothing but debt? We all want a guarantee that things will work out right! But, Entrepreneurs have to take risk. We learn smarter ways of doing things as we experiment but there is usually some sort of risk involved even if its only back taxes we owe when things fail. I have found great peace, in understanding, that making oodles of money isn’t the end all or be all. So what if we never own a big fancy house. So what, if we drive a super old car. So what, if we never arrive into the world of what is deemed as financial success. We are in this together, and my husband is loving what he does and I have my dream job of being a wife and mother. We are not owed anything in life. And while I believe in my husband to work hard and provide, its really God who is in control and gives and takes away. I have had to let go of the reigns and frankly, I have never felt so much peace about risk taking as I do today.

#3 Becoming His Soundboard
I feel like I am naturally good at this. Some of us are not. But letting him talk about business problems without the fear of me running him down and trying to fix everything is big therapy for his stressed out mind. Hearing him talk about the problems and hardships is not an easy thing to listen too. Its so easy for me to absorb it all and take it on as my burden, which I do to a certain extent. The boy comes home and empties out his rocks and marbles and frogs out of his pockets and sets them on the table. And we talk about them. I don’t pick them up, we just talk and look at them and then he puts them back in his pocket. I know they are there, but they aren’t mine to carry. He needs to be able to talk to me, without me freaking out and taking on his burdens fully.

#4 Being a Steady Drummer of Encouragement
In the world of business, there seems like weeks on end of problems stacking up like the governments bills. And in the early stages of business, we may not be really certain if the business model is going to work. Not having enough money to cover operating costs can be highly stressful and scary. But, I have to be steady in believing in him. I have to tell him that I love him no matter what. He needs to know that the love I have for him won’t change if his idea fails. He needs to hear that he won’t be a failure in my eyes if it doesn’t work. Yes, I get discouraged sometimes. I get tired and resentful at the problems eating at him, crum, I’m only human! But, there is no one else out there that will be his cheerleader. That would be me. I have the pom poms and I wear the team colors and design the cheer dances for him! He is out there playing the game, and it doesn’t mean he will win it. But cheer leaders can not believe their team will fail. Thats part of my job. He needs to be told, I believe in him.

#5 Communication, No Small Thing

The husband wants to share things with me about the business. But if I act like a maniac, unstable, hyper, fruitball, he isn’t going to want to tell me things. I have learned to be calm, (For the most part) and collected. I am learning to wait to be asked my opinion unless I see something being overlooked. We don’t have this down perfectly, who does? But, if I want my husband to talk to me, I have to be safe to talk too. I don’t want to be left in the dark about what’s going on, and in order to get him to want to talk to me, I have to be safe to talk too!

#6 Don’t Underestimate, the Little Things
I have never pretended to know much about the way a business operates. Mostly, because its not my passion. But I can tell you that just because I have no experience in Sales or HR or marketing, doesn’t mean I can’t help. There is a reason executives have secretaries. They can’t do everything. And when there isn’t money to hire a cleaning crew for the office, and no one to shop for kitchen supplies, and no one to mail things or plan for a company lunch. When the office needs used furniture because it can’t afford new, and that furniture needs shampooed, when gifts need to be bought or bank deposits need done, when boxes need broken down and garbages emptied. I can do that. When he is starving and can’t get out of meetings and needs lunch, when the office needs moved, and tape and boxes need bought, I can do that. I realize, I may not always be needed for these things, but having a  new business or one that is financially struggling, I can help without complaint and be involved and take some of the burden off his shoulders. Little things matter in a big way.

#7 Home Is Base
I want my husband to feel like he can come home anytime. If he needs to work, and can’t get it done at the office, He can come home and have a quiet room. I try to give him freedom at home if he has projects and I hope that he has felt that over the years. I want our home to be safe for him to relax and feel like this is where he really wants to be. I don’t want him to feel like he has to be at coffee shops every evening trying to catch up. I may never see him, if I don’t actively make home safe for him. Home needs to be a place he wants to be, and can be.

#8 Holding Down the Fort
Being married to a Mover and Shaker means I get left by myself with four kids for long hours some days. I homeschool, so if daddy isn’t home, it means I am still the leader of the pack well after dinner and into bedtime. I get worn out, and some days the kids are acting up and I feel like things are out of control. And he doesn’t  have time to help or hear me. It’s a desperate feeling. Learning to defend the fort takes a lot of work and having good relationships with your kids helps! My husband wants to feel like he is needed at home, but I also know, that he needs to know I’m confident in my job so he can focus on his. I can assure you, he might as well be wearing a super hero cape, cause that is how I see him when he comes walking thru the door at dinner time!

#9 Leaving Some Dessert For Him
Any person who has kids knows that is exhausting work being a parent. Its pretty typical to crawl into bed, (not jump, cause that takes more energy) at the end of the day. A man has sexual needs and desires. ( so do women) But, if I know anything about men and women, its that we are vastly different from each other. I know if I don’t feel good about myself physically and if I’m drained of energy and mentally spent I cannot offer my husband anything but leftovers. Not only does he miss out but I do as well. If it takes a siesta in the middle of the day to prime my pump for romance in the evening then I’ll do it! If it takes me cutting out activities with friends or the kids, then thats what has to be done. On top of trying to keep energy up for night time fun, I also work on myself physically. I have a lot of competition when it comes to other females, and I desire to be the apple of his eye. A man can’t tell you to get rid of your sweats and take care of your skin and wear a little lipstick, but he can tell you he appreciates you always looking good for him. Come on ladies, the men notice the small things. Bottom line, when I feel good about me physically and mentally romance will come much easier. Leaving some dessert for your husband isn’t always feasible but its a worthy goal each day.

#10 United in Prayer
This topic, may be the most important of all ten. There is something magical and powerful when a husband and wife pray together. There is a unseen connection being made and unseen forces shuffling. I know for myself, that I can feel the Holy spirit reminding me to hand over our stress and worry. And, I can also feel the temptation of evil to probe me into stubborn muteness. The leader of his pack and the assistant leader admitting together their weakness and failures and hopes and desires and setting them out before a shared God that loves us more then our little minds can grasp. We admit before each other to a God that sends us peace beyond understanding. Our faith is publicly spoken, our fears unwrapped and together we grow into each others hearts enter twined by the offerings of our tired and weary souls. The fight is always there, at night. the distraction to forget to talk to the one who is really in control of it all. Because, if we can forget to pray, the evil one knows we will be weaker. Prayer, praying together, there is power here.

~Lady A

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