Should New Entrepreneurs Think About Marriage? 7 Pros and Cons
People tend to make major life choices in clusters; when you make a major transition in your career, or by moving across the country, it has a cascading effect that forces you to make choices in multiple other areas of your life. If you’re currently in a relationship and you’re either about to start a business or you’ve just started one, you might consider taking the relationship to the next level with marriage; after all, you’re already making a major change in your life, so you might as well make another.
But no matter how optimistic you are, you should recognize that there are pros and cons to getting married while starting a new business. There’s rarely a clear “right” or “wrong” answer here, but the more aware you are of the potential impact of your decision, the more successful you’ll likely be.
There are some strong advantages to the decision:
- Building a life together. If you want to build a life together with your spouse, that life will include the birth and growth of your startup. Starting the journey of marriage at the same time you start your entrepreneurial journey gives you the chance to build that life together with your spouse.
- Having the support of a new spouse. Starting a business is extraordinarily stressful, and having the emotional support of a spouse can be just what you need to overcome those stressors. Once married and living together, you’ll have a new bond that will help you through the hardest parts of starting a business. They’ll be able to provide perspective when you need it most, companionship when you’re tired from the long hours, and comfort during times of stress.
- Financial support. If you and your spouse plan on inviting lots of people to your wedding, it could be financially beneficial. Many people end up contributing cash to the married couple, and those that don’t can help you buy furniture and other items you need to start a new life. If you use an online registry to register items, you can choose from a wide range of recommended products, and make it convenient for your guests to order something from the list. Since cash will likely be tight with your new startup, this is a pivotal opportunity to take advantage of—especially if you know you’re getting married anyway.
However, there are also some disadvantages:
- Time costs of marriage. Planning a wedding will take a big chunk of your time. Even working together with your spouse, you’ll likely end up spending dozens of hours planning; while you’re deep in the building phase of your startup, you may not have those hours to spend. The end result is that either your business will temporarily suffer, or you’ll rush through your wedding plans—neither of which is ideal.
- Monetary costs of marriage. Don’t forget that weddings are also expensive; even if you’re getting a significant influx of cash and gifts, you may still end up paying thousands of dollars. If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re trying to build your startup as cost efficiently as possible, this can be a major detriment. Obviously, you can mitigate these costs by limiting the size and scope of your marriage, but you’ll still need to budget carefully if you want to be successful.
- The stress of a new relationship. Even if you’ve been with your partner for several years, being married can add a new dynamic to your relationship. Starting any new relationship is stressful, and that stress is going to compound with the stress you experience while building and growing your business. For some, it may prove too much to healthily bear.
- Work-life balance decisions. It’s no secret that entrepreneurship brings additional stress to a relationship; it’s why many entrepreneurs end up divorcing. You’ll be forced to make some hard decisions about whether to spend a few extra hours at work, or a few extra hours with your spouse, and eventually, you could find yourself neglecting one or the other. Marriage and entrepreneurship are both demanding, and there are only 24 hours in a day.
So is it better to wait until you’re settled into a business before you get married? For some people, this is clearly the better option, but for others, there’s no harm in getting married while your business is still new—in fact, there are some significant advantages. Consider as many aspects of the decision as possible, including the financial outcomes, the emotional impact, and how much time it’s going to cost you. When all the variables are laid out, you’ll find it much easier to come to a final decision.