5 Business Strategies that Can Strengthen Your Marriage (#1)

5 Business Strategies that Can Strengthen Your Marriage (#1)

April 28th, 2012 // 10:09 am @

5 Business Strategies That Can Strengthen Your Marriage

Read more: Marriage As Business – Business Strategies for Marriage – Redbook

My husband, Joe, loves business books. They line our bookshelves and sit in stacks on his nightstand, some with violent-sounding names (e.g., Guerilla Marketing, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, and Rules for Revolutionaries) that make me really glad I work for myself, at home, where it’s safe.

I’ve never cracked a single one of them. But recently, when Joe was talking my ear off about the ideas in Daniel H. Pink’s Drive, it occurred to me that running a company is a lot like managing a marriage. You have to budget, delegate, motivate, and reward. You have to stock the supply room (with everything from beer and good coffee to nice sheets and sexy lingerie) and deal with the depreciation of, um, assets. You must coordinate vacation schedules, allocate resources, outline the division of labor, and agree on whether to fire insubordinate underlings. (Just joking about that last one, kids!)

I decided to test my theory, so I asked a bunch of top management experts what business strategies they would apply to relationships. Then I tried them out on an unsuspecting Joe, and enlisted some game girlfriends to do the same. After hearing — and living — the results, I’m a fervent believer in these best practices for happy couples. See for yourself…

PRINCIPLE #1: Know your VIPs.
We all have things that bug us about our partners, but how much do they really matter? Bonnie Bruderer, founder and CEO of VISS, a leadership training organization with big-deal clients like Visa and Wells Fargo, suggests making a list of the top five things you need from your spouse — listening, compassion, earlobe nibbling, whatever. She calls this your “VIP” (Very Important Principles) list, and says that writing them down creates a handy guidebook for your husband. “At work, you need to be told what is expected of you and you have performance reviews to evaluate whether you’re meeting those expectations,” explains Bruderer, who helps her managerial clients clearly lay out their VIPs for employees. Approach your marriage this way and you might realize that his leaving off the toothpaste cap isn’t a big deal because it doesn’t violate one of your VIPs. Or maybe it is, and it does, but your partner has no idea you care so much.

CASE STUDY: Marta has been married to Daniel, “the love of her life,” for 12 years. Eighteen months ago, the couple uprooted from Colorado to Hawaii. Marta admits that starting over in a new place, with two new careers to boot, has been challenging for their relationship, which she summarizes as “strong with room for improvement.” So she drew up this VIP list: 1. Remember scheduled events. 2. Be engaged in the conversation. 3. Work as a team. 4. Laugh/play often. 5. Treat me nicely. “When I told Daniel there were some things I wanted him to work on, he stopped what he was doing and listened to me,” says Marta. “Then I handed him my list and he laughed and said, ‘Well, I just did numbers two and four!'” In that moment, Marta realized Daniel was right: His humor never failed to lighten things up, and she’d been getting one thing she wanted all along.

Marta was annoyed when she found the list on the floor later that day, but quickly realized that Daniel had paid attention: “I saw a difference in him almost immediately,” she says, explaining that her husband was unusually tuned in to her. The big test came the day Daniel realized he’d scheduled a repairman to come to the house at the very time Marta had to be somewhere else. Without her nudging, Daniel rearranged his schedule to deal with the conflict. Marta was floored. “He’s basically been doing everything on my list since I gave it to him,” she says, adding that just this week, when she mentioned she was feeling anxious about finances, she came home to find a Post-it note reading “I ª you” on the bathroom mirror — then
another in the bedroom, inside her laptop, on the page of a book she was reading, and one on the water pitcher in the refrigerator. “Since he couldn’t do what he usually does to make me feel better — buy me stuff I want — he wrote love notes. It made me realize that even though money is tight right now, I have everything I need,” Marta says. “The exercise also helped me see that if I just have faith in the smart man I married, everything will work out. Still, I can’t believe I spent years fighting to get these things, and all I had to do was write them down!”

courtesy of http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/marriage-as-business#ixzz1rR6VzxHM

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