I believe in marriage as a business partnership.
I am 20 years old and have no intention of getting married in the near future. I believe in love. But, I believe in love as one of many factors that require consideration when I decide to sign my name on the dotted line of matrimony.
Consider this: if you were to begin a business with another person, would you simply discuss the details over coffee and then sign a contract? Hopefully not. This is what I call “eloping.”
Perhaps you would share a few cocktails, attend an out of town conference on biochemical research, or even have this person over for dinner with your family. This is an acceptable amount of time for character assessment and could result in a successful business relationship. I call this “courtship.”
Most likely, however, the person that you decide to begin a business with will be someone that you know extremely well. You may be best friends or past colleagues. You have given presentations together and crunched numbers until the early hours of the morning. You know this person’s strengths and weaknesses. The partnership that you could have would be strong and realistic. You would hold each other accountable and would know when to pick up the slack or when to let go. I call this a “long-term relationship.”
Finally, you need to consider your potential profit. Subtract the qualities that your partner lacks (or your costs) by the number of positive attributes he has (or your rewards). This total is your profit. Decide whether or not this profit will increase or decrease with a different partner and what other factors may influence the levels of profit on a regular basis. This is what I consider an “engagement.”
So where does marriage come into play? Well, in my opinion, choosing a life partner is no different than placing a shiny new gold name plate, that reads “Co-Founder,” on your desk. You have done market research and know who your competition is. You have chosen a physical space where the two of you will conduct business. You have even invested in a company car.
The papers are signed and a new journey begins. Some days will be more profitable than others and some days, you will experience a deficit. However, if you have chosen a strong partner, your business will be able to withstand anything.
With the onset of technology, a business takes seconds to create. And sure, there are the few cases of “love at first sight” where a business is simply lucky and makes millions of dollars on a half-assed idea. Generally though, it is not this easy.
I believe in marriage as a legally binding commitment. When you sign that contract, you are pledging to yourself, to your partner, and to the government that you have made an educated decision and that you intend to support your actions with strong evidence.
In fact, the only difference in business and marriage is that marriage has a built-in bargaining tool. Just don’t forget to assess the strength of that criteria prior to the contract stage. Just think of it as research and development.
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