Love your business? Then love your family
You work hard. You pick up the phone whenever it rings. You work 50 hours a week plus weekends. You leave the house at 2 A.M. to help some desperate client. You haven’t taken a vacation in several years. You say to yourself, “I have to do this in order to grow my business. I need to get financially secure for my family. I only need to continue these hours for a little while longer. Maybe next year, I can cut back on my hours.” In the meantime, your wife, friends and children wait for someday to come.
Family is Neglected Too Often
Perhaps the most neglected aspect of small business is the small business owner’s family. You may wonder why an article on this subject needs to be written. Some of you may protest “My family life is personal. Stephen you need to stick with business issues.” Well, everyone, I want you to know that your family is a business issue. Your family is your support group. Your family is your base. Your family is supposed to be the people for whose benefit you are ultimately working for. You want to make their lives better. In fact a study showed that men, more than women, with marital problems have lower productivity. To put that statement in lay terms, a bad marriage leads to poor profits for the self-employed NWCO. A report published in Australia http://www.health.gov.au/hfs/nhmrc/publicat/pdf/mh11.pdf found that men undergoing divorce tended to suffer, sleeplessness, depression, crying, emotional swings, ulcers, low energy, and other negative emotional and physical effects. Of course, we haven’t even discussed the emotional impact on the children.
Let’s be more specific about the divorces impact on your health. In an article entitled “Divorce: a hazard to your health” Free lance writer Susan Larson and her M.D. husband David Larson state that divorce is almost as much a risk for causing cancer as smoking cigarettes. A number of diseases afflicted unmarried men significantly more than their married counterparts. These diseases include, heart disease 2 to 1, death by strokes 2 to 1, and death by hypertension 2 to 1. Why is divorce so dangerous to one’s health? Scientists believe divorce’s health dangers stem from the stress of the relationship breaking up. Studies have found that divorce impacted one’s immune systems reducing their effectiveness up to a year after the divorce. In my opinion, stress doesn’t state the full reality of the health impact of divorce. One must remember that stress can also change the way we eat. Divorced people may not have home cooked meals as often as they did when they were married. Thus their diet becomes less healthy through take out and restaurant dining. Nevertheless, these death statistics should make everyone contemplating divorce pause.
Divorce and Finances
Divorce also impacts you financially. While you are reeling emotionally, you soon have to deal with the financial impact of divorce. It is not unheard of to have a divorce cost a person $10,000. And in case you were wondering, most lawyers don’t accept credit cards. The lawyers and court fees are separate from the divorce decree. Many states require a 50/50 split of assets. You also have to contend with continued drain on finances from the divorce decree. For example, divorce before the end of the year and you will probably have to pay more in taxes because you wont’ be able to file jointly. Housing deductions and child deductions usually go to the wife. Although most men after divorce do better financially after a divorce (probably because they work more), the wife and children do not (Source: “Twice as Strong: The undeniable Advantages of Raising Children in a Traditional Two-Parent Family” by Glen Stanton). Even if you hate your spouse, you must never forget the substantial negative financial impact divorce brings on children.
Lastly, divorce affects your emotional wellbeing. I think everyone concurs with this point. Articles previously mentioned cite that divorced people (particularly males) suffer more psychological problems. Divorced or separated men were 10 times more likely to need psychiatric care. For women, the risk increased five fold. The difference is probably attributable to men not having the emotional support network that women have.
Divorced Already? Start Fresh
I don’t want this article to make my divorced readers feel like they are being beat upon. What is done is done. If you are divorced, I am confident that you would agree with many points of this article. I am writing this article out of concern for those in this highly stressful industry. I hope that each of you find loving supportive families to which you can be a part.
What can you to help keep your marriage or relationship alive? I will give you some general principles from Dr. Ed. Wheat’s booklet, “Restoring Romance to Your Marriage”. He uses an acronym B.E.S.T. to help build strong marriages, B stands for blessing. Blessing means to be kind to your spouse in word and deed. E stands for edifying. Edify your spouse by verbally praising her. S stands for sharing. Marriage is a partnership. You should be spending time and your life together. T stands for touching. Physical contact is important to women and to men.
Action Tips to Avoid Divorce
For those of you looking for specific actions consider the following points.
- Treat your mate with affection and attention. Don’t leave home without giving her a hug and a kiss. I am going to be giving instructions to the males as we are usually the problem.
- Create a time of rest and a time for family. Think of it as a sacred time that will not be violated. I suggest you put this time aside at least once per week. You will need this time to develop the next item which is relationship building. You can’t continue to grow with your spouse and your family unless you spend time with them.
I will leave you with the suggestions of Joyce Fittro OSU Extension Agent Family and Consumer Sciences Delaware County.
To put a little love back into your relationship:
- Start each day with a big hug.
- Send a card or love note to your spouse.
- Telephone to say “I love you” during the day.
- Give the gift of listening: refrain from judging or giving advice.
- Complete daily chores together and let this time become special sharing time.
- Put on a slow song and dance before retiring for the evening.
- Give your spouse a list of ten terrific memories.
- On a clear evening share a brief star-gazing experience.
- Assure your spouse often that you care, and show you care by how you act.
- Thank your partner for compliments and kind gestures — and you’ll get more of them.
- Help without being asked.
- Always take each others’ feelings into consideration.
- Make having fun together a priority.
- Look for the good in your partner and praise it.
- Admire each other’s achievements.
- During tough times, think of why you fell in love in the first place and dwell on those things.
- Always make your partner feel special.
- List all the ways your partner enriches your life and share your list with your spouse.
Take care of your family and it will take care of you. Take care of your family and it will help you take care of business.
Stephen M. Vantassel would like to thank the Focus on the Family Organization for helping with research of this article.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. He can be contacted at stephenvantassel at Hotmail dot com.
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All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.
 Forthofer, M.S., Markman, H.J., Cox, M., Stanley, S., & Kessler, R.C. (1996). Associations between marital distress and work loss in a national sample. Journal of Marriage and Family, 58, 597-605