Partnerships whether personal or in business are notoriously prone to misery, complication and dysfunction. When they work and the partners are not canceling each other out, they create a beautiful, smooth and effective synergy of the strengths and aspirations of two people. How do we make this very important relationship work?
I remember the precise moment I fell in love with Tania. Precise, because its was such a profound experience, I checked my watch. It was eight in the morning on September 5th, 25 years ago.
We were at a personal growth course and on the last day we got paired up to do a Tai Chi movement together, that required that we hold each other’s gaze. From the moment I looked into her’s, I knew I was gone, ruined for life. And here we are.
So, please allow me to indulge and celebrate a few observations on partnership and make a short tribute to my bride on this grandest of mornings.
Tania is my climbing partner, golf partner, mountain biking partner, backcountry ski partner, travel partner, dinner partner, home building partner, concert partner and business partner. Despite the randomness of the first collision, we have kept this union together and working for almost half our lives.
First of three keys to a lasting partnership is chemistry. For a married couple this is obviously physical but we also have offsetting temperaments. I get us into things and she keeps us into them. She’s even and I’m moody as fuck. Both keep it interesting.
Second is a harmony of core values. We both hold commitment, autonomy, beauty and vitality as core to our union. We don’t have political, religious or philosophical misalignments.
Third and this may be the most important one: we have a shared vision. We both want to go to the same places in the same style for the same reasons. She is capable of and willing to go pretty much every where I want to go exploring in this world, and vice versa.
This is not to say that it’s all rosy, all easy and all spectacular all the time, because that’s far from true (and we’ve had a lot of support along the way from coaches, therapists, friends and family.) It’s been a lot of work along the way. I’m a dickhead sometimes and she has her bitchy mode. But in the end, we are better people on account of the other. We like each other and we like who we are with each other.
So this is what we’ve learned all these years: that the work of a partnership is to uncover and then live into the interesection between temperament, values and vision. It seems to be true also for business partnerships, which are often more difficult because there is no make-up sex.