Entrepreneurial Tit-bits: Get a Good Spouse!

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Without doubt, as a young entrepreneur, one of the most important decisions you will need to take in life is about who to marry. It is a very important decision that can affect every other thing you do for the rest of your life. From influencing what you can do, when and how, to supporting you in your difficult times, which do come, your spouse can make or mar your achievements in life.

Spouses have a way of understanding us more than any other person in the world. As an entrepreneur the right spouse will serve as a sounding board that tells you the truth as they see it; They will encourage you and give moral and emotional support when you need it most; They will comfort you in your difficult moments and keep you true and real in euphoric moments. The good spouse is a true and living guardian angel as well as a reality check.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a successful journalist, lawyer, businessman and politician in Nigeria. To date, decades after his passing away, he remains a role model and a beacon of how to do things right. Unknown to many who haven’t studied his life, he went through disruptions in his education as a result of the loss of his wealthy father at a young age (and could only inherit a gown out of his father’s vast estate because traditional regulations at that time favoured his uncles and aunties), to massive business debts as a result of failed business, and to political challenges peculiar to emerging African colonies/newly independent nations. He overcame everything to become a household name in Nigeria without losing his integrity and sense of purpose and direction. He had this to say about his wife in 1960, whom he married at the bottom of his business challenges:

Throughout all the challenging fortunes of my life since I married her on 26 December 1937, my wife Hanna Idowu DideOlu Awolowo (nee Adelana) has been to me a jewel of inestimable value. She is an ideal wife… The outpouring of her love and devotion to me and to our family is exceeding and beyond words. She is a resourceful business woman…

With my wife on my side, it has been possible for us to weather all financial storms. Because of her charm, humility, generosity and ever-ready sympathy and helpfulness for others in distress, she is loved and respected by all. She has courage of rare kind…. (But) I am no match for her at all in her exercise of infinite patience and forbearance under all manner of circumstances. She absorbs without a word of complaint all my occasional acts of irritability. By her unique virtues, she has been of immeasurable assistance to me in the duties attached to my career as a public man….. It is on record to my wife’s credit that she never made a financial demand on me throughout my stay in the United Kingdom. Besides, she always sent me good news every week about herself and the children; but when I returned home, I learnt that she passed through  many anxious times with four children the oldest of whom was only five when I left home, and the youngest of whom arrived four months after my departure.

… I do not hesitate to confess that I owe my success in life to three factors: the Grace of God, a Spartan self-discipline, and a good wife.’*

This works both ways and it is true for most successful people.

Getting a good spouse is generally about looking deep and beyond what we normally see on the surface. Contrary to all the noise around, use your head in deciding on who your spouse should be and if your choice is right your heart will follow. But the reverse is not necessarily the case! Going on life’s journey requires emotional stability, intellectual strength and physical stamina. It is a marathon on which you need the right companion to help keep you at it enthusiastically even as not everything is pleasant.

*The Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Cambridge University Press, 1960

Feature photo credit: Shea Rouda on Unsplash

About Me

My name is Musbahu El Yakub. I am an entrepreneur, a consultant and an author. I desire to help, guide and support start-up and growing entrepreneurs. I try to do this by providing them with information, tools and guidance..

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