The Marriage Merger

Posted: August 22, 2011 in Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships
Tags: , , , ,
ancient roman marriage

You may shake hands with the bride!

Research suggests that nearly 90% of all businesses in America are family-owned, and family businesses account for 50% of our Gross Domestic Product. I find it interesting that while there has been a great deal of attention placed on the family business, very few writers have considered using business as a metaphor for family.

There are numerous correlations between what it takes to run a successful business and what it takes to run a successful family.  One aspect of this is using the corporate merger as a metaphor for marriage. Marriage is, at it’s most basic level, a transactional relationship, and in many ways it resembles a business deal. A marriage is the coming together of two separate entities for the express purpose of operating as one. This is the essence of the biblical message that the TWO shall become ONE (Ephesians 5:31). MARRIAGE is a MERGER.

Marriage is a merger – not an acquisition. An acquisition is the purchase of one company or business entity by another. Usually, a larger company consumes a smaller company. This is not a fair and equitable exchange. Far too many marriages have taken the form of an acquisition instead of a merger. One partner dominates, and the other feels consumed and gets lost in the marriage. In other words, the couple is “unequally yoked.” This situation is less than ideal, and it usually does not work. Research suggests that 50% of acquisitions end in failure. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that 50% of marriages end in divorce – many were acquisitions instead of mergers.

Marriage is not a “hostile takeover.” Some businesses are acquired through hostile means. The company was under some form of duress and another company took the opportunity to swoop in and buy them out. The owners of the company are usually left with few options and are forced to sell – often settling for an offer they would have rejected under normal circumstances. Many marriages are doomed to fail from the beginning because they were initiated as hostile takeovers. One or both partners were forced to settle and ended up selling themselves for less than they were worth. Spouses who settle often end up resenting the person they married – even if the spouse had no idea they were settling.

In order for the marriage merger to succeed, both partners must negotiate and enter into agreement from a position of strength. In its purest sense, a merger is when two entities come together in agreement to form one new, combined entity. This is commonly referred to as a “merger of equals“.

There are several keys to ensuring a successful merger…in business and in marriage:

Define leadership roles.

Corporations and couples need to clearly define the leadership roles of the new entity BEFORE the merger takes place. Both entities have existed with their own established leadership and guidelines. The leadership structure of the new entity must be discussed and defined in detail. Couples should discuss and decide who will serve as the de facto CEO of the family. Who will be the Chief Operating Officer and run the day-to-day affairs of the house? Who is better at handling money and will serve as the Chief Financial Officer? These are just a few questions that need to be discussed prior to the marriage merger.

Demand a financial audit.

No company merges with another company without having a complete and thorough picture of the other company’s financial structure and standing. Yet, couples merge every day without knowing how much the other person makes, how much debt he/she has, their credit score, nor their general approach to money. Considering that money fights are the number one killer of marriages, it is vitally important that both parties have a clear understanding of each other’s financial position and are not blindsided post-merger. One quick final note on the financial aspect of the merger: Both parties should have equal ACCESS to all ASSETS. “My” and “mine” cease to exist after the merger.

Discuss long-term goals and vision.

Many marriages end in divorce because the partners realize that they are on divergent paths. They had little to no discussion pre-merger as to where each other wanted to go in life and what they hoped to achieve. Consequently, they were like two boats sitting on the ocean that slowly drifted apart. It’s bad business to merge with a company whose goals, values and vision are diametrically opposed to your own.

Discuss those goals before the merger…you may find out that you were never meant to merge at all.

  1. Lady says:

    Great!!! Love this!!!

  2. Awesome Post!!! Love how it relates to a fortune 500 company. Merging can be Great to all who are willing to fully Invest!

  3. Grace says:

    Sorry sir for not being serious! Truly,I like your academic article! Many blessings from the Netherlands,(tweets follower).

    100 points to go into heaven:
    A man dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates.

    St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.”

    “Okay” the man says, “I attended church every Sunday”
    “That’s good, says St. Peter, ” that’s worth two points”

    “Two points?” he says. “Well, I gave 10% of all my earnings to the church”
    “Well, let’s see,” answers Peter, “that’s worth another 2 points. Did you do anything else?”

    “Two points? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”
    “Fantastic, that’s certainly worth a point, ” he says.

    “hmmm…,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.”
    “That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!”

    “THREE POINTS!!” the man cries, “At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!”

    “Come on in!”

  4. TMil Curtis says:

    Love how revelant & pratical this is!

  5. Love these quotes as I have my self a website with quotes about life. Thought it would be wise to share my favorite quote: “It’s the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what’s right.” – Peter Parker

  6. loyalraidersfan says:

    Beautiful post and well said. I agree with everything you said and I never thought about it that way

  7. Love it. Fantastic allegory.

  8. Brian Lewis says:

    Very timely for all married couples (man & woman) & those considering marriage. Don’t allow man made money to be the cause for a divorce when God has given us wealth,love,grace & mercy.

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