1:47 Minute Read.
Last week, we celebrated our 36thwedding anniversary. Being married this long has taught us something important about marriage and being agents:
The business of real estate can bring heavy wear and tear on any marriage.
Don’t get us wrong: we love real estate. Because of it, we enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Not only does it provide a great income, but more importantly, it has given us lots of freedom that most other professionals never experience.
But the real estate business has a dark side.
It can suck the life out of what’s most important to you. Real estate is like Francis Bacon’s quote about money: It makes a great servant but a horrible master. The clamor of client demands, phone calls at all hours and missed family events are only the beginning.
“Why does it seem everything goes to hell when we’re on vacation?”
Our phone has rung many times at 2:00 am by some agent stumbling out of a bar or a buyer driving by our yard sign who has a few questions. Who calls people at 2:00 am anyway? And in the beginning of our career, it was even worse. The pressure to succeed was intense. There are some crazy stories we can share about those days.
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Seeing the potential threat to our relationship, we learned to keep a few maxims in mind to help make our marriage work:
We are real estate agents, not heart surgeons. Some professions require you be available at a moment’s notice. Being a real estate agent is not one of them. It doesn’t matter how much a client squawks, very seldom are there real emergencies in our business. That’s not to say we don’t take care of clients’ needs quickly and professionally. But we won’t let it interrupt a romantic date.
Work to live, don’t live to work. Don’t get stuck on a hamster wheel by making work your life. Build your career with excellence. Become a top performer. Be the best that you can possibly become – but do so for the reason of enjoying the rest of your life more fully.
Family first – Everything else is second. Prioritizing the needs of your spouse, family and clients are just a part of life. Doing it well is a mark of a true professional. Having a system in place that protects both family and work time is helpful.
The OPEN sign is now off. We used to have an actual “OPEN” sign in our home office but the neon was too distracting – not kidding. Now, we just pull an imaginary on/off string that reminds us that we’ve worked hard all day long as agents and now it’s time to give as much effort to being a good spouse and parent.
It’s Me & You – Always was, Always will be. Above our bed’s headboard in big block letters is the phrase - ME & YOU. It reminds us of our top priority – each other. After the kids grow up and move out, it will be just the two of us. Long (hopefully, very long) after retiring from real estate, we will still enjoy each other’s company. We’ve built our life around strengthening our marriage and we’re happier for it. And we’ve felt deep sadness watching other marriages struggle and dissolve.
Real estate can be brutal on a marriage – More money is not worth less love and relationship.
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