Some of you might be chuckling – why would my spouse be unhappy?
But after twenty years of marriage, I understand the toll that’s been taken on my wife and on our relationship. I told my wife I was going to blog about this topic this morning, and she laughed at me. She said, “You don’t know how I feel!” But I’m pretty sure I’ve picked up on some clues in the last two decades.
If you want to stay married, or in a relationship, or whatever, you’d better get a pencil out.
I sold my wife on the dream. That’d we live our lives out on the beach collecting royalties. That I was creative and a dreamer and not corporate. And she bought it. There’s some truth to that dream. But let me tell you the real truth.
If you are a creative person, then you have another love in your life, besides your wife or husband or lover and your kids. I do. I love what I do. I love my work. And I think I’ve paid a price for that.
I’m not one for balance. I routinely go overboard on everything I do. The people that have to live and work with me understand this all too well. It’s definitely not a cakewalk. When I become excited about a project or an idea, it’s virtually all I can think about. But there are a few things you can and should do to alleviate some of the strain on your marriage or relationship that will result from this!
Number 1. When you come home, don’t talk about your work. I used to do this all the time – burst through the door and start talking. But now, I let my wife bring it up when she’s ready. I want to talk about a new idea all the time – when I wake up, before I fall asleep, and between. But after twenty years, it gets old! There’s always a new dream. If she wants to talk, I’m more than happy to do so. But it’s on her terms.
Being creative is part of who we are. And I sometimes think that we try to define ourselves with our ideas and inventions. It makes it more difficult than other professions to leave that at the door, definitely. But you need to.
How many years has my wife heard me come home with an idea and a dream? “This is the one.” “This is going to happen.” I fight those battles everyday. But some people have a tough time with the highs and lows of the game. And rarely do things follow the exact plan I laid out.
Number 2. Share your small successes. Don’t say, “I’m going to conquer the world.” “I’m going to sell a million units.” Keep it real, and tangible. Allow your significant other to celebrate with you along the way. They need to love the process as much as you do. And if all they ever hear are extremes, they probably won’t. You’re setting yourself up for failure in their eyes.