Love and Business

There is happy news in the Jenkins household, in that my son is to be married in the spring of 2018. We thoroughly approve of his bride-to-be (not, frankly, that my approval has been sought or required) and both the present Mrs Jenkins and I wish them the happiness in marriage that we have enjoyed for some 30-odd years. I am particularly chuffed to have been asked to be Best Man at the wedding, not least because, as a father, I have an impressive fund of anecdotes that might just have to go into a wedding speech. It has been said that I like a good speech, all the more so when I’m the one making it!

Doubtless I will, again in my capacity as a father, think it apt to give the happy couple some advice on a successful marriage, some wisdom that I might pass on.

But what to say?

Just before I start considering myself an expert, I need to reflect on how wonderfully lucky I have been in my choice of a lifelong partner. The truth is, we’ve just found it easy to get along and the months rolled into years and the years rolled into decades and suddenly here we are. But my wife and I are unique and what works between us would irritate or fall flat with other couples. Not that we’re very similar people in our likes and tastes, and it does appear that I have shortcomings which need to be brought to my attention from time to time. In fact, I think there is some truth to the adage that “opposites attract”. The fact that we have different interests and different ways of spending our time gives us things to talk about when we come together and I still remain, all these years on, interested in what she’s been up to in the day when I get home in the evening.

And I know full well the world is a different world that the one I grew up in. I think there are more bear traps for people tying the knot these days than when we got married. But despite the fact that the rules and norms change over the years I think there are some timeless secrets to a happy marriage:

 “Team before self”. If you put your other half’s needs before your own it goes a long way towards a successful partnership. It‘s  also true that teams are stronger than individuals. Not only do we have complimentary strengths, but we are there to support and encourage each other when we need it. And making decisions together is not only fun, but almost always leads to better decisions

Talk to each other. Communication is the cornerstone of any good relationship and so it is with a good marriage, especially in the early years when you are still learning about each other.

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. However much you love somebody you can inevitably find faults in them. None of us are perfect. But life is just a whole lot better if we recognise and enjoy the good things about other people than if we endless dwell on their faults

 Work hard at it. Great marriages don’t just happen. They require effort and patience and getting stuck into things you don’t sometimes want to do at times when you don’t want to do them.

Think long term. Great marriages take time to build, they go through seasons and they mature like good wine. Too many young couples these days focus too much on the wedding and not enough on the marriage. I read with horror recently about the trend of nuptial one-upmanship that is sweeping the nation where people are constantly trying to impress their friends and family with over-elaborate, expensive and sometimes, just plain weird, weddings. I stand by what I have always said: you don’t need to hire pugs to walk up the aisle bearing the wedding rings!

Looking at that list, I realise that so many of the things that make a good marriage also make a good business. It’s perhaps not too surprising; the common theme is one of enduring human relationships. Long term relationships are a hallmark of Building Societies and distinct to so many banks who time and time again have shown that they are in it for the quick buck.

I now understand why we have a massive heart on our branch window in Bath. Love and business do mix!

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