Marriage is like a business and like any business the success thereof depends on the partners involved. When entering into a business partnership, smart people meticulously do their homework. They make sure that their business partner has qualities that will help them be successful. If we would quit looking for the nonsense-romance and be more business-like about marriage, we would create societies and cultures with more stable families.
“Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” Proverbs 24:3-5 (The Living Bible)
Here are some common sense qualities that we should seek in a business partner if we wish to be profitable. Each one is equally important if we want to plan wisely for the enterprise of marriage.
- Understands the product line. In business you want to know at the outset whether you plan to sell cupcakes or boats. Any successful business knows what it sells but equally important, also know what it doesn’t sell. In the business of marriage, you and your partner better agree what the products of your successful marriage should be or you may find yourself building a boat and your partner baking a cup cake. Marriage produces products like Friendship, Camaraderie, Support Systems, Financial Security and Family or it could produce Control, Prejudice, Confinement, Instability … you get the point. Just as you would list the products you plan to sell in your business, so you should list what you want your marriage to produce.
- Is skilled to do the required job. In business, if you plan to open a bakery then you and your partner better know something about baking. If neither of you do, then you would be well advised to find out about it before you enter into partnership and start your business. In your marriage business, if one of the products you listed above is, say, fidelity, then you and your marriage partner need to know or learn about loyalty and commitment. Both need to practice this in friendships and with family so that you have skills required to produce fidelity in marriage.
- Will not rob you blind. You sure don’t want to go into business with a person who dips their hand in the cookie jar. In your marriage business, you certainly want to make sure your partner is trustworthy. Trust is earned through day-to-day actions. Do they have a good reputation with their family and friends for delivering what they set out to do? A reputation is formed by the actions a person consistently repeats. What they repeat before marriage is what they will repeat after marriage.
- Treats the customers & employees well. If you plan to spend day in and day out working alongside somebody in business, you want to do this with a person who shares the same values as you do. In your marriage business, you will most likely be starting a nuclear family and enlarging the extended family. Your marriage partner should value people in a similar manner that you do. If not, you are in for some unhappy times.
- Has endurance. Starting and building a business is hard work. You want to be sure that your business partner has what it takes for the long haul and the rocky roads. This is absolutely true for your marriage enterprise. Does your potential partner easily bail out of difficult situations or do you see a willingness to make important things work? Good places to look for this quality are jobs, ability to save for something, length of friendships. Look hard. Don’t skip this one.
- Is flexible. To build a thriving business you need to recognize when to change things up or offer something new. In marriage, life happens. And when life happens you want a partner who will try different ways to ultimately achieve your list of products. It could mean moving to a new city, selling a beloved home or a myriad of other hard choices. Is your partner willing to make short-term changes for long-term success?
- Is enjoyable to be around. Lord knows you don’t want to spend your working days alongside a business partner that doesn’t get your jokes. Where’s the fun in that? Same goes for a marriage partner. Do you [mostly] enjoy their company? Do they [mostly] like you? It is important that there is common ground when it comes to leisure and relaxation. You want to cozy up on a cold day, enjoying each other’s company.
Just like “chemistry” alone is no foundation on which to build a business partnership, so it is not the core ingredient on which to build a marriage enterprise. Any person who has been married for a decent amount of years will tell you that romance is not what makes a good marriage. The kind of love that makes a strong marriage paradoxically is only grown from within a marriage. This “within love” comes when two people forge a joint history based on common values, goals and common commitment. It is this love that creates strong cultures and stable families.