A question my husband and I have been asked a lot lately is how we have managed to stay married for so long (fifty years this year). I think there are two important qualities, in addition to love, necessary for a long lasting relationship: continued growth on a spiritual path and maintaining communication with each other.
We have explored several different spiritual paths along the way. Our underlying belief has come to be that God, the Divine, the Holy Spirit, has many names and many traditions associated with It. We are a part of It and It is a part of us. Yet it is separate from us, somewhat like a drop of water is part of the ocean yet not the entirety of the ocean.
Not everyone will follow the same paths we did. Not everyone will choose to explore different paths. Those people who have a belief in a Higher Power, in our experience, end up with a stronger belief in themselves and are ultimately more successful on their own terms.
We have been fortunate in that while we haven’t been in the same place all the time along our journeys we have been close enough that our explorations have brought us closer together rather than pushed us apart. We have known couples who grew apart because their paths diverged to the point that they truly were no longer able to share their lives.
A critical element to staying together for fifty years has been to take the time to share our inner thoughts with each other. I will admit that there have been times in our lives when that has been easier than other times. During those years when we had small children at home and we were both working it was a challenge to share more than the day to day necessities with each other.
During those years one of the things that really helped was getting away on retreats, leaving the boys with friends or family. It was easier to focus on each other and share with each other when we took the time to step away from our daily lives.
Now that the boys are living their own lives in other parts of the country, it is equally important to take time to really talk with each other, not just share a home.
The same is true of any relationship you want to remain strong over the years. You need to treat the other person/people with respect. Share with them the information they need to understand what you are thinking and how that will impact on the decisions you make.
A business is very much like a family. The more open you are with the others in your business, the more effective everyone will be. Those of us who are still basically solopreneurs have fewer people to share with. However, the more open you are able to be with those who work with you, even on a parttime or contract basis, the more you will enjoy the successes and the easier it will be to work through the challenges.
Spend some time journaling about the questions that come up as your business grows. Find a partner, whether it is a literal partner in your business, a colleague who shares your values, or a business coach who can help you see the next steps and how to approach them.
Most of us can see what is happening in the lives of others, whether that be a partner or a client, more clearly than we can see what is happening in our own lives. We need help in stepping back far enough to see what we have accomplished and where we want to go next.