Business is a lot like Marriage

wedding photo

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have something I’d like you to consider: Business is a lot like Marriage.

I’ve been in business for 13 years. I’ve been married for nearly 30. And, I’ve come to realize the two have a lot in common.

Both take a huge commitment, to yourself AND to the other party.

In the case of marriage, that commitment is to your spouse. In business, that commitment is to your business.

When you get married, the vows include a promise to honor that commitment, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live.” If you take those vows seriously, that means it’s not always going to be rosey, but that you’re in it for the long haul.

Well, in my experience, it takes that same commitment to succeed in business.

Because it’s not always rosey. Sometimes things get difficult, money gets scarce, times are downright bad, and yes, sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. However, ask any successful business owner and they’ll tell you the reason they’ve succeeded is because they never gave up. They’re where they are today because they stuck it out.


Unfortunately, just as about half of all marriages end in divorce, the majority of businesses don’t last either. And while I do agree that sometimes there are good reasons to quit in both marriage and business, I also believe that a lot more of both would succeed if people would better prepare themselves before they jump in, and if they’d be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Being married for nearly 30 years is one of the things I’m most grateful for in my life.

My husband is my best friend, my soul mate, and my rock. Is it always wine and roses? Absolutely not! But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I feel the same about my business.

There have been a lot of ups and downs in the past 13 years. Huge successes and big disappointments. But because I’ve stuck with it, I am blessed to be in control of my financial future, do work that is extremely fulfilling, and have the freedom and flexibility to live my life as I choose.

One final way business is like marriage: LOVE

Love sustains both. When you love something, you’re willing to do what it takes to make it work, and the rewards are immense.

About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

10 comments on “Business is a lot like Marriage

  1. Hi, Debbie –
    This is GREAT – I so agree, that the same thing which really makes both succeed is thinking long term. Which to me, means being willing to put up with the bumps and scrapes, not taking things personally, and sticking with it. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard about marriage, I think also applies to business – each person should plan on giving 100%. It’s not about giving 50% and meeting in the middle – its about giving it your ALL and making it shine.

    hugs and thanks, and Happy Valentines Day!

  2. Scout, you are so right about giving 100%. When you give you succeed. In fact, everything in life is about give and take. If you’re all about getting, good luck!

  3. Hi Debbie,
    I agree. Commitment is the foundation of success in whatever you’re trying to do. Without the love it can all feel pretty pointless. When the going gets tough it helps to go back to why did I begin this journey in the first place. If the answer is , “Well, because this is what I love to do and am passionate about. ” Then it will be much easier to pick yourself up and keep going. Thanks for your reflection on this. PS. My husband and I have been together for 30 years too! It continues to be a great partnership.

  4. Great points Velina, especially about remembering WHY, partnership and passion. Congrats on 30 years together. I think we’re in a pretty exclusive club. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your husband!

  5. I’m married to my business partner and we see the parallel all the time.

    My friend Bob Quinlan ( wrote a whole book on how the parellels can go the other way; how men (it’s usually men) can learn how to improve their personal relationships by applying what they know about business relationships.

    Now I’m bugging him about writing the sequel, which will help women see how their superior relationship skills make them especially good entrepreneurs if they’ll just let themselves.

  6. I love the photo Debbie. You and Louie look the same 30 years later! And yes I totally agree – do it because you love it and don’t give up when things get a little rough, just make sure you are committed to doing the right things.

  7. Joel – sounds like an interesting book, as does your idea for a book from the female perspective!

    Shayla – glad you like the photo. I feel like I look like such a baby in that photo. Now I know why my dad was so freaked out that I was getting married! But hey, it lasted so there you go! And yes, you are so right, you must make sure you’re committed to doing the right things.

  8. Debbie – I do agree. You have to be able to see the forest and not just the trees. If you focus on all the weeds you will want to give up. (Yes, another gardening analogy!!) Great post for today.

  9. I love the gardening analogy Laura. Every marriage and business have a few weeds…they just go with the territory. But they don’t have to take over the garden as long as you tend to it. 🙂

  10. Hi Debbie
    What a fabulous post and so true. I see so many people going into business (and marriage) thinking it is going to be easy and aren’t prepared to put in the work to get the results. 🙂

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