by Christian Herron
Running a business is challenging—all entrepreneurs know this. It's even more so when your husband or partner doesn't support you.
My husband bought me yellow roses for Valentine's Day. Yellow. As in "friendship" yellow. I pointed this out and he said he bought them because they looked "springy." Um, no. The card was even worse; he accidentally bought one for a husband instead of a wife and simply scratched out the word "husband" and wrote in "wife." Romantic.
I was hurt for many reasons and for reasons well beyond his thoughtlessness. You see, I've been detached from him for awhile. There's been a battle between us, sometimes vocal but mostly silent and seething.
He doesn't understand entrepreneurship.
I don't understand why he doesn't.
He has said things to me, cruel things. Words that take me way past the threshold of tears and into the wild, lonely territory of pure survival.
While it's great that I have awesome entrepreneur friends to share with, it's been heartbreaking not to be able to share it with the person I love and who is supposed to love me.
Going into survival mode meant that I stopped sharing how my business was doing, the new clients I was working with and the money I was making. It never felt like it was good enough. So I’ve sort of been hiding, from him, from myself and from the world.
The turning point came when I started to connect with people in virtual entrepreneur groups on Facebook. So many helped to remove some of the rubble I was under.
I began to see that even though it's great to have support and be supported, it's no substitute for believing in yourself, your gifts and your true worth.
Our breakthrough as a couple came when we finally talked later on that V-Day. For hours. We were able to get past the same circular arguments and complaints—I think because I stayed calm and claimed my space in our marriage without the dramatics of tears or white-hot anger.
We took turns listening to each other. He told me his biggest fears and I told him mine. He actually listened to me for the first time in a long time. He seemed genuinely surprised to learn that in 11 months I went from charging a few hundred dollars a client to thousands of dollars a client. He saw in my eyes what that has taken for me to accomplish this. He saw in my heart how the things he has said have hurt me. It was the relief and salve I needed.
I believe that these four tips can help you reconnect with the person you love.
1. Stay calm
If you feel like you’ve tried everything from crying to shouting to the silent treatment, you are creating an emotional barrier that is preventing your partner from hearing and understanding you. (I should know, I’ve tried all of the above.) You owe it to yourself to engage when you feel relatively calm.
Commit to remaining present in the conversation. Recognize that your partner may have old tapes playing in their head that are often mixed with their own perceived shortcomings and fear. Create a space for them to be heard without reacting.
3. Acknowledge what they’ve said
Even if their fears sound totally unfounded to you, resist the urge to jump into defense mode. In our conversation, I used phrases like “I get that you are afraid that..."
4. Claim your space
Say out loud what you have been working on and what your goals for your business are. My husband was freaking out because he didn’t understand that I actually had a system in place for growing my business as well as awesome financial goals.
As a result, I don't feel detached anymore. I feel seen, loved and heard. And my wish for anyone who has been struggling with relationship issues is to see how things can turn around.
Believe in yourself and eventually other people will, too. Even stubborn, selfish people.
And after that long talk? My husband went out and brought me home beautiful red roses and the best card he's ever written. He wrote that he says things out of fear and that he actually envies my courage, how proud he is of me, and I'm the person he looks up to. Sweet tears, every time I read those words.
Christian Herron is an intuitive storyteller and brand strategist. She helps business owners authentically communicate about themselves and their work so that they can connect with their audience, expand their platform, strengthen their position as an industry leader/expert and increase the impact they desire. You can find her on Twitter at @HerronMediaLLC.