How To Be An Excellent, Self-Employed Husband

I see it all the time. A passionate man dragging his wife through a dream that was never “theirs”β€”living a life of independent pursuits within a sacred partnership.

Tragically, many men love to neglect the covenant they made on their wedding day. They love to narrow the territory of the vows made to their bride. But most of all, men love to chase dreams and build machines that compromise the relationship with the woman they vowed to die for.

Entrepreneurship can be a dangerous thing for an immature husband. Without knowing it, he could put profession before a person, profit before priority, and dreams before the devotion to his very own wife.

Sadly, I speak from experience. From the outside, I was a good man simply pursuing a passion. I was providing for my family and paving my way. Interestingly, everybody was cheering me on. “Go, Dale!” and “Saw you on T.V!” and “Love that you’re doing so well.”

Their ignorance was bliss. They fell prey to our culture’s disgusting abatement of relational responsibility. They saw one inch deep and believed it to be enough to validate the entirety of our story. But it wasn’t. We weren’t okay. We weren’t doing well.

I was a man destroying my marriage through my business. I was an unenlightened husband gaining the whole world while losing my wife.

While we don’t have the time to indulge in all the details of our marriage’s revival, I will tell you the solution occurred through the gentle rebukes of an older man not giving in to my excuses or manipulations. He forced me to face the reality of my commitments through the eyes of my beliefs and essentially broke my own heart with my actions.

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However, I would be doing an injustice to God if I didn’t mention that this entire process was constructed upon a healthy, yet real fear of the Lord. As many of you know, I subscribe to the teaching of Jesus. But the life I was living, regardless of how shiny it may have appeared, was in opposition to how the Bible had instructed me to live, to love, and to lead.

Over these past two years, I have learned many things in regards to cherishing my wife and leading our family well, but there are three areas in which I believe set the stage for the repair of not only our marriage but our business as well.

1. Oneness

A spirit of independence has no place within a marriage. Now, I don’t mean a husband and wife must submit themselves to some unrealistic uniformity. Furthermore, I don’t mean we should abolish the need for leadership within a marriage. What I am saying is we must be of one mind.

When we vow to live life with another, we must crucify those me-centric dreams and aspirations that are not also supported by our spouse. Because love without sacrifice isn’t love, it’s two people sharing independent lives with the convenience of sex, companionship, and emotion.

Moreover, there is also tremendous freedom in oneness. A wife who is cherished for her opinions and leveraged as a reservoir of wisdom will want the dreams of her husband to be fulfilled. Ultimately, this requires a husband who is pursuing “our” dream not “my” dream.

Bottom line, invite your wife into your passions. Yield your heart to her desires in the matter. Let her know not just by words, but by behavior, that you will never lose yourself in something that doesn’t include her.

2. Protection

The statistics are clear, 85% of affairs begin at work. As I mentioned in another article, “Remaining naive to the risks of infidelity at work is the first bullet shot at the heart of your marriage.” Men, as the owner of your business and the provider for female employees, it’s easy to place yourself into a heroic position in the eyes of a woman who may already have favor toward you.

When you leave our homes to build the business that creates the life for you and your wife, your bride must feel confident in her position. She must be made secure in her priority, in her visibility, and her right to your faithfulness.

I can’t tell you how many businesses are restrained because of the unaddressed insecurity of a spouse. Remember, good men fall every single day. As a self-employed husband, you must be proactive in the protection of the woman you claim to love. I promise you this. There’s nothing more powerful than an entrepreneur with a wife who can confidently cheer her husband’s dreams toward the finish line.

3. Priority

Priorities seem to be a difficult topic for men. But not in words. I’m sure if asked most self-employed husbands to list them out, almost like a chant they’d say, “God, family, friends, work.” It’s almost cute. But what’s not cute is a wife who heard the chant their entire marriage but never felt the results.

Look, you can say sorry a million times. You can tell your wife you love her every day before you leave. If you’re not going to back up the words you say with the behaviors you live, then you’re only offering her a reason to shrink.

Men, we must realize that the report card of respect comes not from the size of our paychecks, but the level of radiance from the woman we claim to be a priority in our lives. She is the symbol of your success. She is your life’s greatest achievement.

Marriage is a challenging commitment in the face of entrepreneurship. There is a cost involved. Maybe this is a dream that cannot be chased, an advancement that cannot be taken, or a schedule that can’t be followed.

At the end of the day, your business should never compromise your marriage. So before you search for the next marketing strategy or hire the newest executive consultant, check if that time might be better spent investing into the woman to whom you vowed your life.

Start A Business Without Losing Your Family

It’s my hope to help people launch businesses that not only make you more money but strengthen the relationship between those who matter most. If you’re ready to start something well, consider my 12-month, step-by-step entrepreneurship program below.

What are your thoughts about marriage and business? Was this article helpful? Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the comments below.

Author

Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.

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  1. Anonamous says:

    I can relate to this article as wife of a husband who is pursuing his entrepenuerial dreams. However business is not doing well and it is really hard. We have lots of debt and I wish we could both just get full time jobs for the security right now!

    Reply
    • Joe Kabes says:

      Hello,
      I can appreciate where you are coming from. There are many challenges with starting a business or being self-employed. I would encourage you and your husband to openly discuss your thoughts and where you each stand so you can be a united front. It’s important for you to be on the same page with whatever decisions you make. Give great thought and prayer to it. Best of luck!

      Reply
  2. Cheryl says:

    Wow! Just read your article after an internet search. I’ve been married to my husband and his sole practitioner law firm for 27 years. Raised 3 children virtually alone and have worked for him for 7 years after he asked me for help.
    Working for him has made our problems worse, he yells when stressed, doesn’t appreciate my help nor does his listen to my suggestions to run the office more efficiently. There’s no many coming in and I’m worried about bills and tuition. I also do not feel very loving towards him. Throughout Thanksgiving Day and weekend , he worked on updating his website. Something has to give.

    Reply
    • Ben Sturgill says:

      Hi Cheryl, Thank you for you comment and I am sorry to hear about the trying time you are facing. Being in a relationship and a business together can compound the stress and issues that a couple faces. It sounds like that is what is happening in part with you and your husband. I hope that he has men in his life that can speak into his life about this or that you both have another couple or a supportive community around you that you can bring this too. If not, I’d suggest a counselor as it sounds like something is giving for you and so it’s important to address it before it gives out. Work patterns and habits can become entrenched and often times we need to unlearn things and re-prioritize but often that is hard to see from the inside. It is my hope Cheryl that these unhelpful patterns can be stopped in your relationship with you husband and with the help of others, new healthier ones developed while priorities are realigned.

      Reply
  3. Justin ethridge says:

    This is good council, especially for those who have not yet made the mistakes. Mistakes that are so easily made if we’re not completely aware of ourselves. My wife is a major blessing and very supportive, i will do my best to consider her in every way as we move forward. thank you for your council as we begin to build our business together. God bless!

    Reply
    • That’s so awesome, Justin. I appreciate your encouragement!

      Reply
  4. Jason Riley says:

    Incredible wisdom and insight, Dale. You understand your audience amazingly well, and I can only imagine that’s because you are who you’re writing to. This article perfectly mirrors part of my own journey. It’s a great reminder for today, but had I read this 6 years ago, I could have avoided quite a few roadblocks along my own path towards entrepreneurial success. Thank you for sharing! You already know this, but you’re impacting countless lives and marriages.

    Reply
    • That’s absolutely it, Jason. I’m writing what I am learning along the way, and I’m SO glad it’s valuable.

      Reply
  5. Paige Woodward says:

    You are simply brilliant, Dale Partridge. And not only for the truthful and wise advice you give all of us, but for the fact that you are also open to the advice of other wise people. That’s how we grow, it’s a “dance” for GOD, and I love that you are part of it. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  6. Richard D. Lum says:

    Great article, gj Dale!

    Reply
  7. Man, that’s all I can say. That was very well put together. I am so thankful I ran accross you interviewing, Jeff Goins. Ever since then I’ve listened to all you have and I’m impressed. This blog post I will be sending to all my friends. Thank you for being intentional and keeping a healthy family. Glad to see it can be done!

    Reply
  8. Reba says:

    LOVE THIS. As the wife of a rancher working into the family business I see so much of our struggles as a married couple reflected in this article. I just wish there was a way to “wake him up” so he could see things the same way.

    Reply
    • Keep praying for his clarity, Reba, and don’t be afraid to call upon him to stand up and get the counsel, wisdom, and tools he needs to be a good man and husband. Its not done well alone!

      Reply
  9. Silvina says:

    I came across your blog after seeing a post about single women in a singles group I belong to. Everyone was bashing the post, I found it interesting and I clicked on it, I had never heard your name before but I am always drawn in by good writing. I have since read your entire website and I am now reading “Essentialism”. I am one of those learning addicts you mention here but I can only count with one hand the things I have read that have made me go “wow, how does he know that?, this is just how I feel”, this website is one of those things. I am going to gather up the money to join your camp that’s for sure. In the meant time, I will rejoice in the amount of knowledge you have spilled all over this wonderful place. Love that there are still men who value family and good women, and cherish the sacred blessing of children brought up in a loving home. Kudos to you for spreading the joy, there will always be naysayers, but we must carry on!
    Cheers
    Silvina

    Reply
  10. I imagine in your tenure as an entrepreneur you’ve experienced something like this…
    Something piques your interest…So naturally, as someone who is wildly inquisitive and perhaps somewhat manic, you begin to read and research. You spend countless hours on something you’re not even sure why you’re so drawn to it but you
    SIMPLE.CAN’T.STOP.
    Well my friend (which in my mind, whether you like it or not, friend is precisely what you are to me now…no take backs)…that is what has happened to me with everything you do. I can’t stop reading your blogs and listening to your podcasts! ITS INFECTIOUS! Truly! You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.
    I’ve been working in ministry at a Christian church for 7 years now. I love the work, but I’ve always had an itch to do business on my own. Perhaps through your training, I might finally take that fateful step. Thank you for what you do. I believe it’s going to change my life.

    Many blessings on you and your wonderful family!!

    Reply
    • Richard. You’re awesome. Thank you. I would LOVE to have you at camp.

      Reply
  11. this is your sweet spot Dale. couples need these reminders in our busy times. not many leaders out there are able to say this in a humble and gentle way. great article. proud of you guys and your work together!

    btw saw veronica’s first story and you better be patting that girl on the back πŸ˜‰ hope your healing quickly- xx

    Reply
  12. Camille says:

    This is our story. But we are getting there.

    Was there anything your wife could do to make you understand? I feel like the pleading and begging has compromised my identity in the marriage in the end.

    We are getting there though. Slowly.

    Reply
    • Keep pushing forward, ask for wisdom, and lean on trusted friends for support, Camille. All good things are possible!

      Reply
  13. Sherry says:

    This article is completely shareable. You address some pretty big topics in a respectful and profound way. Thank you for you perspective! I will send this to a few of my friends without a doubt. – Sherry

    Reply
    • Thanks Sherry! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the share πŸ™‚

      Reply
  14. Probably the best article I’ve ever read on the intersection of marriage and career/calling. Thank you for sharing and faithfulness. It was really good.

    Reply
  15. Dale,
    Fantastic article. As I followed you for the past 1.5 years it’s been amazing to see your writing & heart take on a new shape/focus. Thanks for putting words to things I feel in my own soul about the priorities needed within not only marriage but men in general.
    Cheers,
    -DS

    Reply
    • Thanks Derek! It’s just an outpour of my reading the Bible. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Thanks for this post Dale. It really spoke to my heart. My husband is a very successful hard working business guy (not his own business, works in high tech) and I will be sharing this with him. Thanks. <3

    Reply
  17. Hi Dale, nice article. I enjoy all of your articles. This one particular resonated with me because my wife and I have struggled with the exact same thing. I started a business that became pretty successful, and while my wife was always secure in my faithfulness to her, she wasn’t secure in her roll as my life partner. She didn’t think I put any value in her opinions (I did, but as you said, actions speak loud.) At one point she even admitted that she’d rather me have an affair than run the company the way I had been running it (bullheaded, in her opinion.) Looking back I probably let pride get in the way of the most important aspect of my business and my life – Brittany. I’m still far from perfect, but I’ve learned that our bond and our vows are the most valuable things I have, and that through them we can build the best life for ourselves.

    Reply
    • Humility is the heart of growth. Sounds like you’re on the right track Cory.

      Reply

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