Episode 12

Lessons from 5 years of marriage with Shannon Wood

This episode is a sneak peek into my relationship as I interview my husband Shannon Wood!  To celebrate our year wedding anniversary, I wanted to share some of our lessons from 5 years of marriage. 

This episode is raw, real and full of practical advice for building an incredible relationship. 

 

 

In this Episode:

  • 02.55: Who is Shannon Wood?
  • 04.00: How we met and what has been our journey so far.
  • 08.30: The toughest time as a couple and how we got through it.
  • 14.06: The secrets for a happy marriage.
  • 17.40: How our relationship has changed after having kids.
  • 20.38: Advice for couples who are both self-employed and work together.
  • 23.32: How to bring your partner on the journey when they aren’t an entrepreneur.
  • 26.10: Advice for entrepreneurs still looking for love.

 

Links

 

Transcription

Today’s guest on the podcast, is my favourite person in the whole world, my husband Shannon Wood. The reason I wanted to get him on the podcast, is because today marks our 5 year wedding anniversary, and I wanted to share some of our lessons from 5 years of marriage. Now, we certainly are not perfect, but we are happily married and we are very much in love. And because this podcast is about more than just business, it’s about creating an amazing life, we wanted to share our story and see if there were any learnings that you can take away and implement in your own relationship.

 

This episode is raw, real and full of practical advice. So whether you are in a happy relationship, hoping to up-level perhaps a not-so-happy relationship, or even if you are still looking for that special someone, hopefully you will take something away from today’s episode.

 

You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.

 

Now before I get into today’s episode, I want to do a special shout out to someone who has left me a review. So, today’s review has been left by Emily Osmond, who helps women to grow their business with Instagram, and the reason why I am particularly excited about this review, is because Emily and I have recently connected and she has agreed to appear on this podcast. So, I was pretty excited when I saw this review which I want to share with you guys today. Just a reminder, if you do leave me a review on Apple podcast, please make sure you leave your business name and I might read out your review as well. Emily’s review said “I’m absolutely loving listening to your down-to-earth, honest, tired and tested advice, and strategies to help us all succeed in business. You speak with such warmth, and are one of my new favourite listens.” Thanks so much Emily!

Now I am super excited, I know I say this a lot, probably every time I have a guest on, but today’s guest is someone very special to me, it’s actually my favourite person to me in the whole wide world, it’s my hubby Shannon Wood.

 

SHANNON:

Hey!

 

CLARE:

It’s so good to have you on, thanks so much, you’re such a good sport, I don’t think there are many husbands that would agree to come on a podcast, but you’re amazing so thank you.

 

SHANNON:

Anytime.

 

CLARE:

So anyone who hasn’t seen you on my Insta stories, or doesn’t really know about you, do you want to just give a quick overview of who you are and what you do.

 

SHANNON:

I’m Shannon, I run a small business of my own called S8, it’s a recruitment company and I specialise in the animal health sector. Husband obviously, a dad, and someone from NSW.

 

CLARE:

Why did you have to throw that in! Haha! Anyone who is listening, I am actually a Queenslander, and we are currently living in Queensland. But there is a bit of interstate rivalry that goes on in our household, let’s just say.

So, as I mentioned in the intro today, the reason I wanted to get Shannon to join in today, is because today is our 5 year wedding anniversary, and it’s a special milestone, and what I wanted to do was get him on and have a chat about our marriage, some of the things we’ve been through. For anyone who doesn’t know our story, what is your version of our love story. How did we meet and what has been our journey so far?

 

SHANNON:

We met at a wedding. Clare and I first met believe it or not at the bar, she was trying to pick me up, in typical..

 

CLARE:

Trying to pick you up?!

 

SHANNON:

Girl from Sydney, leaned over and she said “Can you buy me a drink?”, and my first reaction was, ‘oh no, one of those types, a freeloader’, so I said “no thanks”

 

CLARE:

Haha, that’s actually true! But I wasn’t being a freeloader, because it was a wedding with free drinks, so I was just joking.

 

 

SHANNON:

I was getting to that! Look it was an open bar, and she was joking my leg, and you know it was a bit awkward to start off with, to say the least. She persisted during the night.

 

CLARE:

I persisted?!

 

SHANNON:

And we ended up talking and before I could leave from [the wedding], we did have a kiss or two, and I want to say we never looked back, but believe it or not, we were actually very very close geographically where we lived in Sydney. I was in a place called Drummoyne and she was in Pyrmont, the next suburb across from each other. It was perfect really. But we had our second date and…

 

CLARE:

Hang on, you’ve skipped over the first date! Our first date was the worst date, first date, I’ve ever been on in my life. Let’s be honest.

 

SHANNON:

I might be a bit of an over-sharer! And at the time, I might have shared a lot of that with Clare on our first date, and yep, funnily Clare didn’t like that, that I came with a lot of baggage.

 

CLARE:

So to get some context, Shannon was actually going through a divorce at the time we met, and for someone like me who had just been backpacking around the world, it just reeked of baggage, I guess, and he kind of didn’t spare me any of the gory details, so I was like ‘whoa, what have we got here’ but to your point, I agreed or actually, did I agree on a second date, you might have tricked me? What happened was I said I wasn’t interested and he said “I think you are a cool chick, can we hang out as friends?” So I said “Yeah sure! Can we hang out as friends.”

 

SHANNON:

Me not drinking and Clare with a bottle of wine… I was a poor, helpless gazelle on the Savannah.

 

CLARE:

I think that was the night I thought, this guy is pretty special. I guessed what has happened since we first met? Because that’s the beginning of the journey.

 

SHANNNON:

For me it, and Clare can second this, it has been a rollercoaster in terms of speed, we’ve done a lot in the past 5 years, we were married within 18 months, we’ve gone on a couple of overseas trips, we’ve moved interstate, we’ve had two kids, we’ve started two businesses..

 

CLARE:

We’ve brought property..

 

SHANNON:

I guess they are some of the most highly stressful things people can do, and for us it has been an intense 5 years, but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, but it has been full on. As much as we have been married, we’ve bene together 6.5 years.

 

CLARE:

That actually doesn’t sound that much longer now, does it!

To get some context though, when we met, we were 33 and 34 years old, and we just, once we got past the initial hiccups, we just knew we were meant to be together and both ready to start a family, so we thought why muck around. Hence why we go married within 18 months of meeting each other, then we pretty much got pregnant on the honeymoon as well, so instant family. We went from 0 to 100 very quickly.

 

SHANNON:

Sure did!

 

CLARE:

So, what do you think has been the toughest time that we have been through as a couple? And importantly how do you think we got through it?

 

SHANNON:

Personally for me it was after [second son’s name] was born, so we’ve gone from this comfortable stage of our first child, you were working and started your business and some solid clientele that was turning over a small amount in your first year or two.

 

CLARE:

I thought it was a decent amount to be honest. Anyway..

 

SHANNON:

Looking back it was small, from where you are now, but at that stage when we lost that income, plus we’d gone from 1 kid to 2 kid, it was not just the double the amount of work it was more than double. I think at the time for us, it was December, my business had hit a stage where I had over $100,000 of invoices due, that kept getting delayed and pushed back. So we knew we had the money coming, but we had this freak out where we had car repayments, house repayments, all these things, and it felt like the walls were crumbling in beneath us, but we’ve got the money, it’s coming, but there was just nothing we could do to borrow to get away from it. Our backs were up against the wall, and people were talking about just go and get a job, and we thought about it and look at it, and pulled it apart and it just didn’t sit right for us as a family for what we wanted to achieve. But that has been the most stressful, scariest time as an adult, as a parent, as a partner, for me, obviously being the main breadwinner and provider, and you were there with our newborn baby..

 

CLARE:

And it was just a s**t period, because I felt really guilty and helpless and I constantly kept thinking if I’d have had a corporate job and was contributing a really strong salary. For anyone who doesn’t know Shannon is in recruitment, and recruitment can be very lucrative, but it’s also very patchy if you are not placing roles, you aren’t getting paid.

So I felt that guilt, that I hadn’t been contributing financially, as well, I felt a lot of guilt that we hadn’t been managing and mitigating the risks that we were so highly leveraged at such a volatile time in our life. But anyway, that’s the down side, how did we get through it, and what do you think is the learning through that process?

 

SHANNON:

Communication, has been a massive part of it! Both of us kept going over it and dissecting it, in terms of ‘is this what we want?’ And absolutely believing and trusting that this is going to be ok. At the end of the day, your business is your business, my business is my business, we both love each other and trust each other and support each other, and just still give it 100%. Because for me I hate budgeting, I hate… I’m a bit more of a top-line person, whereas you are very much a numbers person, you know, you like to look at things granually and force me into it, and I think me looking at the numbers and being able to simplify it helped me work though my stuff…

 

CLARE:

I think the biggest thing through the process was, I feel like we learnt a lot about each other and that we, a big thing about mindset was we really solidified that belief in ourselves, and I remember talking to our accounting, and he was like “holy s**t guys this isn’t good guys.” And we were like “no no no everything is going to be fine!” And genuinely, I think both of us believed that. And our belief delivered and it was fine and we did get through.

 

SHANNON:

The accountant said, “I think you guys are the most optimistic couple I‘ve ever met.”

 

CLARE:

Yes, he did! I believe it delivers, and it’s so great to be with someone who is on the same wave length, and who gets a lot of that mindset work.

I think the takeaway from it, is firstly, a positive mindset always pays off and to your point, communication and coming up with a solution together, is a great way to move through something that is so challenging, as what we went through.

That’s been very deep very quickly hasn’t it!

This is your first podcast ever isn’t it?

 

SHANNON:

Yes.

 

CLARE:

And I’ve just literally thrown you in the deep end there!

 

SHANNON:

Good questions I suppose, I’m just trying to be…

 

CLARE:

I love that you are being so honest!

So let’s move onto something a little bit lighter, what do you think are the secrets for a happy marriage?

 

SHANNON:

Oh ummm, the first thing that comes to mind is communication, affection, compromise, time and that’s time together and time separate. As much as Clare and I, I don’t know if you guys know, we live and work together, she has her own office, I have my own office, but we do work from home. So it may seem we do spend a lot of time together, but it’s not, she’s working, I’m working, we run businesses and we are bouncing off of each other, we are parents, we are folding washing, we are cleaning, cooking, it’s not quality time, that we spend together a lot, so spending quality time together but also having separate time. I love my own sport, going out and playing squash, I love it.

 

CLARE:

You play a lot of squash!

 

SHANNON:

I play only 3 times a week.

 

CLARE:

Sometimes 4!

 

SHANNON:

And Clare loves going to the gym and it’s nice for her to go and socialise or go to the gym or yoga, it’s nice to have that separate time.

The other one is compromise and communication. I think that I’ve maybe stolen those from people that I’ve spoken to, when Clare and I first fell in love, we spoke to a lot of people and we asked them what were the secrets to their success, because they had been together 30-40 years.

 

CLARE:

We just totally wanted to set ourselves up for a successful marriage. So try to learn and leverage from anyone that we came across, that had been married a long time.

 

SHANNON:

Definitely! Comprise, keep talking and communication, no matter how hard it is, and lots of affection.

 

CLARE:

I think, I remember when I was waiting for you to propose, and I feel like I waited a long time, but that’s a whole other story, but I remember I used to think, once we are married everything will be fantastic and it’ll be easy from then, but marriage is hard work right, and we go through periods where it’s super easy, it’s fun, it’s light, we laugh, we have an awesome time, and then we go through tough periods like obviously the really s**t one we spoke about before, was probably the worst one we have been through, but there are also times where things are a bit flat, or you’re not connected or you’re bickering and stuff, and that’s just normal, that’s a normal part of marriage, but I think what makes us have such a happy marriage, and what does makes happy marriages, is the ability to acknowledge that that is part of the journey and focus on trying to turn it back around, and focus on all the good stuff, I don’t know, what do you think?

 

SHANNON:

Yeah, definitely!

 

CLARE:

Next question, this is a good one, this is one I’m sure there are lots of people who are listening that haven’t had children yet or perhaps you have had children and would be interested in… How do you think our relationship has changed after having kids?

 

SHANNON:

EVERYTHING has changed! Everything has changed. We have just lost a lot of time, before kids we had time.

 

CLARE:

What did we do before kids?

 

SHANNON:

We would just lie there, and cuddle on the couch and watch TV.

CLARE:

We used to go to the gym together, I used to love training with you, that was fun. And get up and do a big 2-3 hour walk some days with the dogs. I miss that.

 

SHANNON:

We spent so much time together didn’t we?

 

CLARE:

Yeah, like quality time, we probably spend more time together now because we don’t have corporate jobs, but it felt like we used to have heaps of quality time.

 

SHANNON:

We could just lie by the pool, read a book, do whatever we wanted to, just grab keys and a mobile phone, and off we went that was all we needed. But now leaving the house is like a full scale military operation now.

 

 

CLARE:

It’s sounds like we are really liking our parenthood doesn’t it. But we love our kids to absolute bits.

 

SHANNON:

Totally!

 

CLARE:

It’s totally changed our lives, and it has definitely changed our relationship. But last night I forced, no asked, Shannon to sit down with me and brainstorm some ideas about how to keep the romance alive after kids and some of the things that we do.

So we actually created a little freebie which is 5 Ways To Keep The Romance Alive After Kids, and it’s some of the things we try to do and insert some romance in our lives still. So if you want to download that freebie, it’s in the show notes for today’s episode which is clarewood.com.au/podcast/episode12. So if you want to grab a hold of that, that’s got some of our tips to try keep the romance alive, because it is tough, really tough once you have kids, to make time for yourselves.

I think we do alright? We could do better, but we do a pretty good job…

 

SHANNON:

I think we are both on the same page, which is super important, it’s probably the best thing we can do for our kids, to be together happily, as much as we can for them, as much as it is for us. It’s definitely one of those things you have to keep working at.

 

CLARE:

Yes, definitely. The next thing I want to talk about is… because we’ve spoken about marriage, love, so what I want to talk about is back to business, we are obviously are both entrepreneurs, and we live and work together, what advice would you have for couples who are in a similar situation to us, where they are both self-employed and work together?

 

SHANNON:

It’s a tough one, drawing the line, I remember when I first was working at home, and you were at work and were like, can you just chuck the washing on? And I was like, but I’m at work, and I don’t think you got at that stage. And then when you…

 

CLARE:

Yeah, because I was still in corporate.  

So, just to clarify, Shannon started his business when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child.

 

SHANNON:

It was 6 weeks before he was born.

 

CLARE:

So I was the bread winner, it was a stressful period of time, but not as stressful as when you have a couple of kids.

 

SHANNON:

When you came into the entrepreneurial world, I think you got that some days.. because when you are in corporate, you left the house with dishes in the sink, you run out, you’ve got meetings you’ve got to get to, it’s hard sometimes because you, back then you didn’t want to leave the kitchen messy but you did, and then when you’re corporate I’ll just do it and finish it, and then you put your feet under the desk and it’s 8.30, and oh no it’s 9.30, but OMG I could have never gotten away with that, which is fine for every now and then, but what I guess I’m trying to get to is the discipline, this is a job and the more hours that you put in, the harder you work the luckier you get. It’s really trying to have that self-control around what‘s work and what’s personal. And really trying to stick to that. I think that is the best thing for us, that we are good at working when we work, and obviously we do mix household stuff at lunchtime, we have our little catch up and pow-wow’s..

 

CLARE:

We have lunch together most days, sit up at the table, and have a nice lunch together. But to your point, we have so much work to do that there is not enough time to be messing around. That’s how both of us run our own businesses, but what about someone listening who has a partner who isn’t self-employed and is in the corporate role, and maybe they don’t quite get it. They don’t understand the cash flow challenges we have spoken about, they don’t understand why you can’t just push washing through all day. What advice would you have to someone like that? How can they get their partner to understand and bring them onboard?

 

SHANNON:

I guess that is similar to the mindset of, and it might be taboo to say this, but when I was in the corporate world and remember when you’d look at someone and speak to someone and you’d say what does your partner do? And they’d say, their at home looking after the kids, and you’d say, “Oh, so they don’t work?”.

 

CLARE:

Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed, to think, I remember one particular conversation I had, and a guy told me his wife did nothing,

“What does your wife do?” I said

“Nothing” he said

“Oh really?”

“Yep, she is just at home with the kids”

“How many kids you have?” I asked

“Three”

“I suppose she has cleaning to do”

“No, get this we have a cleaner”

And him and I looked at each other and thought what does she do? But now, having children, I can’t even imagine how hard that would be, what it must be like to look after 3 kids all day, every day, even with a cleaner!

 

SHANNON:

Two, is for us enough, for me, anyway.

 

CLARE:

For me too! But what was the analogy you were sharing?

 

SHANNON:

I think it certainly takes certain individuals, I don’t think everyone gets it, I don’t think there is a magic wand or saying or do, I think you either get it or you don’t.

 

CLARE:

I think you can bring someone on the journey and I think in certain ways both of us have brought each other on the journey to certain ways, if that makes sense. For example when I have been talking about transitioning in my business, I’ve had to bring you on board with the dream, and explain what it might mean along the way, and similarly there has been times where I say “Where is the freaking money Shannon”, and you have to bring me on the journey about the recruitment world and how payment cycles work and how sometimes deals fall over in your industry, so I think again, that communication piece and just trying to share as much as possible and help your partner understand exactly what it is you are going through. Whether they are in the entrepreneur world themselves or not.

We’ve spoken a lot about marriage and partnerships, but I want to be conscious that a lot of listeners might still be looking for their special someone, so what advice do you have to someone who is still looking for love.

 

SHANNON:

Personally, I’m a big firm believer of loving yourself first. If you don’t like or love yourself first, how do you expect anyone else to? What I’m trying to get to with that is, if you are in that space then you’re not looking, sorry I’m looking at this from a man’s googles, but what we call husband hunting

 

CLARE:

OMG, do you think I was husband hunting?

 

SHANNON:

NO! No I don’t. I actually don’t think you where, you were in a happy place, you liked the world you were living, you were a confident women, didn’t need a man in your life if you didn’t want it, and same with me, I was in a place when I met you that I always believed I was going to meet the right person, at the right time, and I guess that is just the belief that I would say  to anyone out there, that the right person is out there and really be able to love themselves first and trust that the right person will turn up at the right time. It’s when you’re not looking it seems to come about. But when you are looking looking looking looking, going to that party, maybe I might meet someone, you might not meet the right person, but I feel like when you are yourself and are confident in yourself, that that special person will turn up at the right time.

 

CLARE:

It sounds so cliché doesn’t’ it?

 

SHANNON:

Does it?

 

CLARE:

Well I met you really late in life, and people would say to me, stop looking it’ll come along. But I had definitely reached a point where I thought I was not going to meet anyone and beyond that I was really ok with that. Like I had built an amazing life, I had travelled, I was having fun, and I guess when you came along, you were the icing on the cake rather than someone to complete me per se.

The other thing I would say is to just to enjoy the time, people put all kinds of pressure on when they finally meet someone and expect this other person will fulfil this happiness and desire, and marriages fall apart and relationships fall apart and I think that is when you do have that sense of happiness and contentedness in yourself, you know, I don’t want to imagine my life without you in it, but equally like, I know I would be ok without you. If that make sense?

 

SHANNON:

NO, no it doesn’t [make sense].

 

CLARE:

You know what I mean! I think it ironically, it allows me to be a much better partner because you aren’t so dependent on this one person to fulfil you to make you happy and because you never know what life’s going to hold. So I definitely think finding your happiness on your own is a great first step. That’s all the questions I’ve got, is there anything else you want to share about marriage, relationships..

 

SHANNON:

No I don’t, I’m just ecstatic that I’ve found the person I love and want to be with the rest of my life, and I’m enjoying building this life with you and watching you grow and us grow as a family, and it’s just a rollercoaster I’ve strapped myself in for the ride and I’m just loving every moment of it.

 

CLARE:

Aww I love you too baby. And I do, I feel really honoured to have someone by my side who gets it and is supporting me, in a business sense and as a person. Anyone listening, I hope you find that happiness as well!

Thanks so much for joining us today honey, and thank you everyone for listening.

 

SHANNON:

Thank you.

 

CLARE:

As I mentioned earlier, there is a downloaded we’ve created which is 5 Ways To Keep The Romance Alive After Kids, if you want to get your hands on that or any of the show notes from today’s episode, please jump on clarewood.com.au/podcast/episode12.

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!

 

About your host

Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.

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