In Her Shoes Home

You & Your Partner, Inc.

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One of the most critical, yet unsung roles in a business is not the founder or owner — believe it or not, it’s the role of that person’s spouse or significant other if they’re in a relationship. This has always been true, but the importance of these individuals is crucial and should be one of the many things we consider as goal getters when choosing a mate. Can you imagine the challenges of being with someone who doesn’t believe in your dreams? Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I sat down with a few successful boss babes to have them dish on one of the most unforgettable examples of how their kings empower them and help to make their lives as entrepreneurs more manageable. This is what they shared (be prepared to get your “awwwwww” on):

Ashley Chea (@watermeloneggrolls): Author of “Beautiful Me,” blogger, wife, and mother

Spouse: Bryan Lee Chea

Years Together: 12 years (2 years married)

Location:  Anaheim, California

After we had our first daughter, I realized I wanted to focus on my writing. I decided to make a children’s book that celebrated all children of all colors. I told my husband I wanted to start a blog, write a book, and really focus on creating positive content surrounding diversity. I came home one day and he had a gift for me. I unwrapped it and it was a brand new MacBook. I still use that same Macbook with the disk drive and cracked screen to this day. He has always supported my dreams by simply being there and contributing in any way he can. He let me quit my job and focus on my writing full-time. He Googled and researched every single thing I needed to make sure I could self-publish my book. He even FaceTimed the production company in China and went over ever single page to make sure the color and alignment were perfect. I have a million examples I could give. The most important one is that he allows me space to dream and pushes me to find the resources to bring those dreams to life.

Both myself and my spouse are creatives. We are both entrepreneurs who dream big and sacrifice a lot for those dreams. One thing we’ve done for one another is to support with grace, support from an honest place and with an unselfish heart. It’s not easy playing the supporting role. It’s not easy taking a second seat to someone’s dreams. It’s also not easy loving someone if they aren’t being their most authentic self. So allow your partner space to create –  mental space and physical space. Don’t get caught up with what others are doing in their relationship. Allow your creative the time to process and manifest a real dream. You will find that your relationship will survive much longer with a partner who feels free to create honestly, than with someone who stifles themselves to please you.

Denequa Williams (@litbklyn): Founder of LIT BKLYN

Partner: Khiry Clarke

Years Together: 10 years (engaged December 2017)

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Khiry supports me as an entrepreneur in countless ways. From rolling up his sleeves to help me pack and ship candles out for customers, to always keeping me lifted through his words, I can totally depend on him for sure. I’m blessed to have a man who always speaks highly of me and reminds me everyday of this responsibility that I have to be an inspiration to women who look like me. There are days that leave me feeling overwhelmed and nervous, and it feels like one of his many purposes in life is to ground me. I also love the fact that he’s not intimidated by me. I never feel like I have to shrink myself to make him feel like more of a man.

If I had to offer one piece of advice to someone dating an entrepreneurial spirit it would be this – please be patient with us. We’re risk takers at heart so we’re super spontaneous. We’re also very curious, we’re always asking questions, and we analyze everything. With so many ideas and to-do lists swirling through our minds, it’s important that we keep the lines of communication open with our mates.

Sharifa Murdock (@sharifasays): Co-Owner, Liberty Fairs & Founder of The Brooklyn Intern

Spouse: Leighton Murdock

Years Together: 6 years (married 5 years)

Location: Brooklyn, New York

As I try to find one unforgettable moment, I’m inundated with memories of how my husband showers me with support, encouragement, and patience daily. No one moment, since we met, has outweighed the other. I feel more fortunate and successful in my marriage, then I do in my career, believe it or not. If you really unpack the meaning and the institution of marriage, any form of its survival feels like a monumental achievement in this day and age. Excelling and being grounded in the love of my marriage has matured me as a leader, and forces me to operate with a level of empathy and respect that empowers my team. Because my husband has shown me the power of unconditional love, patience, and diplomacy, I can directly correlate his presence (presents, because because I love me some him!) with the ascension of my leadership skills and drive.

My advice for partnering with someone who has an entrepreneurial spirit is simple. Love a person based on their need and definition of love, and not your own. Often times we “love” from our limited understanding and personal needs, but it’s imperative to love a person based on what they need for their own personal growth. The power of love – if disseminated properly –  is the strongest force we have in the world. Give it freely, and selflessly. Loving, and supporting a person has very little to do with you, and everything to do with the admiration and respect you feel for you partner.

Courtney Sanders (@thinkngrowchick): Author, Top Millennial Speaker, Business & Empowerment Coach

Spouse: Jomaine Sanders

Years Together: 9 years (married 4 years)

Location: Dallas, Texas

Though I tease him and give him a hard time, my husband is absolutely THE best. He has supported me since the day we began dating, but a great example of just how supportive he is happened last month during our four year wedding anniversary. On the evening of our anniversary, he was on his way home from work and called to make sure I’d be ready. He asked me how my day was and I confessed that I was feeling particularly frustrated, as I was running into a business challenge that I couldn’t quite figure out. He then tells me, “Well…for your anniversary present, I had picked something up for you. But now…I’ve decided I’m taking it back and instead, I’m going to use the money to rent out a hotel so we can have a ‘staycation’ this weekend and work on your business.” I was floored! He then booked one of the nicest suites at one of the nicest hotels in our city and spent our entire anniversary weekend brainstorming and planning my business with me. I was elated not just because he helped me get past my business block, but because he was so selfless in turning our anniversary into a fun experience that was ultimately about supporting me. The crazy thing is, he does thoughtful stuff like this all the time. Like I said – he is the BEST.

If you’re dating someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, get interested in what they’re passionate about and become their unofficial “business partner” – even if you don’t consider yourself particularly creative or entrepreneurial. Often, the less creative/entrepreneurial partner can feel neglected as various projects, ideas, and plans seem to utterly consume the more creative partner. But that’s what it means to be creative! Us creatives can’t help it when inspiration strikes and diving full-throttle into our passions is what makes us feel alive. Instead of feeling alienated by your partner’s devotion to their craft, dive in with them. Not only will they appreciate it but it will make your bond stronger in the end, as they’ll credit you for their success.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!




As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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