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He wants to risk it all for a new business, she wants to play it safe

He wants to risk it all for a new business, she wants to play it safe

Leslie and Tom are both 40 and have been married for 10 years. Tom’s career path is causing difficulties in their relationship.

Leslie says: Tom and I have a wonderful relationship, except regarding his career. We’ve been married for 10 years and we are both employed in jobs that pay reasonably well. We had a rough financial period right after we were married; but now we’re able to pay our bills, save some money and donate to our parish. Tom isn’t very happy with his job and wants to start his own business. I think we need to be looking toward retirement and keeping jobs with good benefits. Also, I don’t know if Tom is fully aware of how time-consuming starting a new business can be; I’m afraid he won’t have any time for our family or parish activities.

Tom says: I love Leslie, but I’m disappointed that she’s not more supportive of my dream to own a business. I’m tired of working for someone else and not being able to realize my ideas. I know I could be a success and I want Leslie to share in that. My family and parish are important to me, but I believe this is my last chance to make my lifelong dream a reality. After the business is up and running, I can focus on spending time with Leslie again.

They need to compromise: When a man and woman marry, they become one. This doesn’t merely apply to physical relationships – it means they enter into a partnership with God. Leslie and Tom need to spend some time talking and praying about what is best for their family in this decision.

In general, men are risk-takers, while women seek security. This is exemplified by the different approaches Leslie and Tom are taking as they contemplate this decision. Tom wants to risk everything to start a business, while Leslie favors a safe approach that will ensure their retirement.

This is a time for compromise. Starting a business is a major endeavor. Tom should pray for the wisdom to discern whether this is something God is calling him to do. On a practical level, it would be a good idea for Tom to consult with people who have succeeded – and failed – at owning businesses. Starting the business as a part-time endeavor may allay some of Leslie’s financial fears, as the couple can assess the viability of the enterprise without completely giving up Tom’s job. Before committing to the business full-time, they should have 12 months of Tom’s pay in a savings account.

Leslie may want to find ways to become involved in the business as well, so that this can be a business partnership as well as a family partnership. Or, she may simply support Tom emotionally and prayerfully as he pursues his dream.

It is important that both Leslie and Tom communicate regularly and honestly about the viability of the business and the impact it is having on their relationship. Tom will need to find ways to make time to spend with Leslie and to continue drawing spiritual sustenance from his parish and the sacraments. While the business may be Tom’s dream, his marriage with Leslie is God’s dream for both of them.