OK maybe I’m just cranky today, but Spouse 2.0 Day, when entrepreneurs are advised to buy their significant others a gift for putting up with their hectic work schedules, is just dumb. I’m married to an entrepreneur, and I work with someone who is incapable of taking a break (Om, that’s you), so I understand the entrepreneurial work load. But I have to say, buying someone a gift is not a suitable excuse for spending all your time at work, and it turns that relationship into an act of commerce (i.e. “I get to spend long hours on my startup and in exchange you get a nice gift.”). I bet next year it will be sponsored by DeBeers.
I assume that’s not what the founders of Spouse Day intended, but that’s the message it sends. First, don’t buy a gift and tweet about it. Take the day off if you really want to honor your spouse. If your home life is on the rocks, try and work in a bit more work-life balance. And if your marriage is fine, then perhaps instead of falling for this faux holiday, recognize that most folks married to entrepreneurs realize that sometimes they will have to take a back seat to their spouse’s company, just like a business partner recognizes that sometimes a co-founder’s family comes first. Marriage is a long-term relationship that spans decades, and the intense, crazy period of a startup usually lasts for a few years.
I’ve been married for almost seven years to a man who has pulled his share of long hours (some right after we had a kid), and the fact that’s he’s an entrepreneur is integral to the reason I love him. Sure, sometimes it sucks, and there are occasions when a present is nice (like the time he brought home a beautiful necklace after I spent a week alone with our sick daughter while he was in New York), but entrepreneurs are intelligent, engaging people who have a passion in life. I’m going to guess that most folks married to entrepreneurs value the role they play in supporting their partner’s passion, and would want their spouse embrace a less mercenary view of their relationship. So maybe, instead of buying a gift for Spouse Day this Friday, plan to celebrate your wedding anniversary away from the office this year.