As you can see from Chapter 5, you can be different from each other in almost every way. However, you need to share a set of common values to have a successful relationship. These values include how you communicate, the commitment you have to each other, and your shared definition of concepts such as responsibility, trust, and honesty.

We believe that the notion of what your best self is necessarily evolves over time. Some of us, like Amy, are children of divorce, who are uncertain of our relationship skills, but certain we want to have happier, stronger, more successful relationships than our parents did. Others, like Brad, grew up in households with parents who stayed married through the ups and downs and therefore have more confidence that marriages can survive the occasional crisis.

In this chapter we explore some of the core values that we share and believe are important to get alignment on early in your relationship. Our path, like many successful relationships, has had its share of ups and downs. These shared values keep us grounded in our common definition of what is important and good.


Communication, as we’ve said before and will say again, is the primary factor in having a happy relationship. Entrepreneurs are action oriented—they are constantly doing things, solving problems, continuously making decisions, and then acting on them. Great entrepreneurs are deliberate about the words they use, as they know they can have wide-ranging ...

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