Family Matters: Believe in me or not

Conflict resolution expert looks at a man who wants to open up a new business but is getting a cold shoulder from his wife about it.

June 2, 2013 11:49
4 minute read.

Couple. (photo credit: Reuters)

Gary asks: “I got married around five years ago. Recently I’ve decided I no longer want to work for a corporate, and now I’m in the process of starting my own business. My wife, who was always very supportive of me, started second guessing my decision. Lately, there isn’t a single conversation in which she doesn’t tell me how risky my decision is and how I’m jeopardizing our financial future. How can I get her to believe in what I’m doing? She doesn’t seem to listen to anything I have to say.

Gary wants to get his wife on board, but their conflict runs deeper than it seems at first glance. How could Gary convince his wife the decision he made is right for their family?

This ship has two captains

Many people opt for self-employment because they don’t like others telling them what to do. Only, now Gary has his wife constantly telling him what not to do.

Gary has made a decision to become self-employed. He may have been very unhappy at his last work place and wanted to make a change for the best. His decision, however, has an effect on his wife as well and sorting out the issues with her requires that he sees that.

Building a new business from scratch requires start-up funds, time and a lot of patience. In the first year or so, Gary and his wife will have to cut their spending, and maybe cancel their next overseas vacation. Gary’s wife may have to take a few extra shifts at work, just to cover their usual expenses.

Gary’s wife might be showing her discontent with this move, because of a few different reasons. She might be doing it since she feels this decision needs to be made by both of them. Gary making this decision by himself makes her feel like he doesn’t see her in all of this; as if he’s not aware of the costs she will have to pay because of his decision.

In this case, Gary should sit down with his wife and discuss the details of his plan. They should go over their costs and expenses and see how they can make it work. Maybe Gary can commit to a part time job or find an investor to put the initial funds towards building his business. When his wife sees that he’s taking every step possible to prevent the financial burden from falling on her shoulders, she might be less skeptical and more supportive of his new endeavors.

Who is really your enemy?

Let’s say you just served a new dish you’ve invented recently to the table. You fill everyone’s plates up and wait to hear their responses. After a few seconds they all look at you admirably and say: “Wow, that is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.” This will probably bring a huge smile to your face. But what if later on you find out that everyone praised you because that’s what they thought you wanted to hear, and in fact, they would never ever want to touch this dish again?

All the new age self-help-books will tell you to stay away from those who tell you- you can’t. These books claim that you can never be successful if you surround yourself with people who think your ideas are bad. As much as this may be true at times, it’s important to make sure you don’t surround yourself with "Yes-men" either.

Right now, when you’re starting on a new path, it’s important to listen to other people’s take on your decision. These people are not your enemies- they assist you to examine and re-examine your decision, to make sure you wont regret it later.

It may be that you are now acting as your own enemy, disregarding valuable advice because you’re too afraid to give another thought to what will soon become the best or worst decision you have ever made.

In this case, Gary should try to reevaluate his chances for successes and failure in the new business his creating. He should be very true to himself and check if perhaps his wife had it right after all. She may have great belief in him, but doesn’t think this specific business is going to be successful.

This column is brought to you as general information only and should not be a replacement for professional advice.

Shimrit Nothman has a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and believes that like charity, conflict resolution begins at home. She recently published her first children's book teaching conflict resolution in the family.

If you have any questions for Shimrit, please use the comments section below or email her at

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