Fight for What You Want: Great Business Advice, Bad Marriage Advice

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“Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.”

Napoleon Hill

Every successful person of every stripe could quote something similar to the statement above. This is because no one has ever accomplished anything great on accident. The path to success has words like “struggle”, “wrought”, “forged”, and “fought” engraved upon it. Not “oops!”

Fighting is critical. It exposes a lot about a person. Brad Pitt said it best in the movie Fight Club, “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” Fighting tests your stamina, you mental and physical toughness, and your cunning. All these traits are tremendously valuable for the entrepreneur.

Why? Because entrepreneurs are constantly at opposition. Since they are trying to forge their own path, do something no one has ever done, and/or disrupt an established market, there will be forces working against them. They have to struggle to see their vision realized. 

They must fight!

When they’ve finished fighting for the day, they go home to their spouses. For many of them, another fight is waiting for them there.

But that’s where the fight must change.

Before I unpack this idea, a little background is needed. My wife and have been through many difficult seasons in our life together. We’ve moved across the country several times, lost jobs, and have nearly lost a child to illness. But our most difficult season was our very first one. That first year of marriage nearly broke us. The reason why is the inspiration for this piece.

You see, I believed I was fighting for my marriage. I fought hard, and I fought wrong.

It’s important that I pause here and admonition husbands: you should absolutely be fighting for your marriage. This is not uncommon advice. Passivity and weakness will ruin your relationship. If you’re not fighting at all, you may be in just as bad a situation as if you were fighting wrong. 

In my case, as it turns out, I wasn’t fighting FOR my marriage, I was fighting for my ideas about marriage. Big difference. I wanted my way. When you fight for your way anyone who opposes your way becomes an enemy, and I was making an enemy of my wife. My insistence on leading my way, planning my way, and trying to get her to conform to my way were crushing her spirit. Thought it wasn’t what I intended, my wife eventually reached the point where she couldn’t tolerate it anymore. We were not going to make it if things didn’t change. 

Fortunately, shortly thereafter we decided to get counseling from our local church. Pastor Tim Loyola, who soon became a mentor to me, gave me a piece of advice that changed the way I fought in my marriage. His words still follow me all these years later:

“As long as you’re fighting to get your needs met, you’ll never get your needs met.”

Tim Loyola

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. I was cut to my core. Hearing those words helped draw an important distinction between entrepreneurship and marriage that I had been failing to recognize. 

Entrepreneurship is about forging your dream, manifesting what you want and desire. It’s about overcoming opposition and breaking down barriers in your way. 

I was treating my wife like she was a barrier to my happiness. 

Marriage is about service to another person, about laying down your rights and your sense of entitlement. Marriage is about seeking the highest and greatest good for each other. There should be a beautiful sense of reciprocity, where each person gives without expectation of return. In the process they each meet the needs of the other person in a very fulfilling way. 

You will miss out on this beauty if you’re fighting for your way.

Instead, you may come to realize that good fight in your marriage is often you fighting yourself. You will need to fight off your sense of entitlement. You will need to fight off your selfish desires and your need to control.

Fighting for your marriage will take on different forms for every couple. In our case, we fight to make sure the other feels supported, encouraged, and fulfilled. We fight against complacency. We fight against selfishness. We fight against externalities that demand too much of our time. We fight side by side against the trials and tribulations that inevitably we encounter. Sometimes we fight each other.

We do not, however, fight each other for what we want. Our deeper desire is to ensure the well-being of the other person. 

As I mentioned earlier, no one has ever accomplished anything great on accident. You will have to fight for it. I hope you’ll keep fighting to see your dreams and ambitions realized. I hope you’ll also fight the good fight on behalf of your spouse. Knowing how and where to fight in your marriage is critical to you and your spouse’s happiness. You can do it.

To your adventure,

2 Replies to “Fight for What You Want: Great Business Advice, Bad Marriage Advice”

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