Why You Should Treat Every Relationship Like Your Marriage

Money and Career, Relationship Design

intimacyMany of you regularly read Simple Marriage because of the great information and ideas about creating better marriages, for which I’m very grateful.
But what if these ideas were applied to even more relationships in your life? Even your business relationships?
Relationships are the cornerstone of every successful venture, including start-ups, one-man shops, online businesses, offline businesses, and even Fortune 500s. Whether the relationships are with co-workers, customers, clients, readers, affiliates, partners, or even competitors, the quality of those relationships impacts your business and your life.
Everyone enters relationships with varying expectations and beliefs. In marriage, there’s the belief that marriage exists to make us happy. When things don’t go as planned or we’re hurt by our spouse, then it must be time to move on.
Or maybe you have the belief that marriage should be easy and that you’ll peacefully coexist in a symbiotic state throughout the course of your life together, enjoying long walks on the beach followed by romantic evenings filled with passion, excitement and love.
Or, maybe you believe that your relationship will complete you. This one’s popular, thanks to Hollywood movies.
These beliefs are everywhere. And these beliefs affect your relationship – just as beliefs affect your business.
But what if you changed what you expect of your relationships? What impact would different beliefs about relationships have on your life? On your business?
If you believe, as I do, that relationships are designed to help you learn and improve, then learn and improve you will. If you believe that your relationships with your readers or clients are designed to help you grow, then business will get better – because you will get better.
For example, maybe you’ve had an unreasonable client you couldn’t wait to get rid of. What if you changed your beliefs about that relationship and your expectations of the client? What if you believe you’d contributed to that unreasonable situation? What if you believed the frustration was co-created by all involved?
Change anything? It should.
Back to the marriage world.
As your marriage relationship evolves, many times you reach a point where there’s something about your spouse you want to change. They constantly leave socks on the bathroom floor. You can’t remember the last time they initiated sex. Their work consumes them to the point of neglecting you and the relationship.
If you’ve been in a relationship for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about.
You also experience the same thing with your business relationships. Readers constantly leave great comments or emails that are very supportive, but they never buy anything. They come to you for free advice all the time. You get bombarded with requests to give feedback on projects or ideas or sites and you’re so kind that you oblige.
Know this: You teach people how to treat you.
Get comfortable with that statement. Think about it – a lot. Spend time today examining the important relationships in both your personal life and your business. What are you teaching those around you?
When someone treats you in a manner that takes advantage of your gifts or talents, it’s up to you to teach them differently. That’s where this idea of growing up in relationship and changing your beliefs really comes in handy.
For example, my wife used to offer lots of push-back when it came to the time and effort I spent with blogging. I don’t blame her, really. In the beginning, I obsessed about blogging way too much. But as I held firm to my beliefs of helping marriages around the world, she came around to believing in the idea as well.
The same happened when I added a business and product component to Simple Marriage. Some readers were used to the free blog idea, and they let it be known when I switched gears. I don’t blame them either – it’s what I had taught them.
But the push-back that came during the transition wasn’t about them – it was about me. (Well … it was a little about them, but the onus rested on my shoulders.) Sure, I could have gotten offended and said they just don’t understand the time or energy it takes to create something. Or I could have contemplated simply chucking it all and moving on. (I did both, by the way.)
Or, I could believe that relationships are designed to help me be a better person and recognize the opportunity in front of me to grow and teach people to treat me differently.
There will always be push-back in relationships of any kind. It’s a fact. But remember:
At the end of the day, you’re the teacher.