The other day we met several friends of my husband, they were in school together. So we all introduced ourselves. I was the only lady among about 5 men.
“Hi, my name is Wanjiru. It’s a pleasure to meet all of you”
As soon as I was done, my husband beams and tells his friends, “My Wanjiru” 🙂
So, one is his friends, Mike, a lawyer, mentions (on a light note) how that sounds like an acquisition. We all laugh and agree that it’s not really an acquisition. The conversation takes a different angle, the men start catching up on what they have been up to since leaving school. In the middle of this catching up, Mike says, “I get it. It’s not an acquisition. It’s a merger.” We laugh again and nod in agreement and again the conversation takes a different trajectory.
The next day, for some reason I replay that conversation in my head. Interesting perspective. Huh? We don’t think about it often but marriage is like a business merger. It is not an acquisition; you cannot owe your spouse. It is a merger; the coming together of two entities to become one. In a merger, the old systems of each business are put aside and new systems are put in place to run the business. In the same way, in marriage, we put aside our own way of doing things and discuss how we shall do things from now henceforth. After all, we’re a team now. We pick up the best of each other and create this new entity that is now us.
Business mergers take lots of work; there are a lot of intentional negotiations. Just like marriage. It does not work flawlessly on its own.
To merge successfully, you have to understand that operating as a unit it completely different from working as two individual entities. To succeed with the merger you have to follow various principles. Here are a few:
Before you get in, take time – get to know that person well. A company considering a merger would look through the books of the other company thoroughly. Know their character and decide if he/she is someone you can build a future together.
Discuss major issues – as get to know each other, deal with the major issues.
Home – where will we live, what will we keep and what do we throw away? What will you do with rickety old chair your man owns and loves? Throw it away or compromise by putting it on the back verandah…
Finances – who is the spender and who is the saver? How will you be budgeting for your needs? In our marriage, I’m the saver. We sit down and budget for each month. My husband then sorts all the bills and lets me manage the money for running through the month. Exploit your strengths, if you are the spender, its ok to let your spouse handle the day to day transactions. But you have to trust each other. Money matters are sensitive.
Children and parenting – how many children will you have, how will you discipline your kids?
Time – time is now a shared resource; it is no longer just yours. Manage it jointly.
These are just a few issues I’ve pointed out. There many more that need to be looked into. Remember that all decisions should be made for the good of the whole unit, not just for one of the partners.
I know business matters usually sound all dull and boring but we could learn a lot from them. If we go into marriage having considered our individual strengths and discussed major issues, then we have a big chance of succeeding.
From two individuals, the merger creates a family: a place for growth and stability. That’s not a bad asset to have on life’s balance sheet. Don’t you agree?
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.