Working With Your Spouse – Yay or Nay

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Some of my readers know that my husband, Frank, and I have worked together on and off for almost 8 years now and for us it is easy.  Don't get me wrong we do have our ups and downs but most of the time we really enjoy it and get along better as a married couple because of it.  I'll share what I have found and some questions you might want to consider, but this is only my personal opinion you might disagree with it all together, either way I'd love to hear what you think.

I've found that working together has made our communication more open and honest because really when you are with someone almost 24/7 you have to be willing to let them know if they're really getting on your nerves or if they are just outright wrong.  You have to put your feelings aside and understand that just because you have a disagreement at work it doesn't mean that you don't like each other still. I think creating the separation between work and relationship is the most important thing to do.

Basically we decided to be a team and outline our goals first and then break it all down into responsibilities of who is responsible for what and who they are to be accountable to.  Don't get me wrong this was hard going sometimes and there were some gray areas that, believe me, lead to all out war a few times.  You have to be willing to take blame when you don't get something done you agreed to but at the same time you have to be willing to hold your partner accountable.  The road goes both ways and if you are both willing to work on it TOGETHER the outcome will be that much better.

Would I recommend spouses working together?  Yes and no.  It depends on your relationship, if you already have communication issues then I would say NO.  If you are great at communicating and willing to let your feelings get hurt a time or two and try something new then YES.  I believe that you both have to clearly DEFINE your individual goals before you can create your team goal of what you want working together to be like and the outcome.  You would be surprised at what a no-judgment conversation might bring up.  For example:

I learned I am the most negative positive person my husband knows

Yep, you read that right.  He says I know all the things to do and say but when it comes to actually living them I am the hardest on myself and hold myself to an accountability level that is unrealistic.  Can you say that I was mad? Yep.  But constructive criticism is suppose to help you grow as a person right?  Wrong.  Well at least for me it is.  Trust me after hearing that I honestly laughed at it.  I have been working hard ever since to prove him wrong that I can continue as I am in spite of that.  Bad decision on my part? Yes.  When someone is trying to honestly help you take the criticism and try to change at least for the good of helping yourself at the same time!

So back to my Yay or Nay question.  A lot of people ask me if I would ever work together with Frank again.  Our answer is we have always worked together in one way or another whether it was our relationship, work, marriage, kids, or household we have always been a team working toward a common goal and both know our roles clearly.  BUT if our communication ever started to fail I would easily say no, there is no way I could work with anyone who couldn't talk to me openly and honestly while working together on the same end game.

I guess that brings it back to the whole SYNERGY thing.

Working together towards a common goal or mission is greater than the sum of individual outcomes

Or something like that.  Basically working together creates a better more positive outcome than working alone and in the end it is actually less work.  So for us, I guess, you could call our relationship synergetic, if that is even a word.  We work so well together and can be brutally honest at times that we keep each other accountable in life, work, and fun!

So before you think of starting a business, working from home, or just in the same office as your spouse you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is our communication good right now?
  2. Can we communicate openly and honestly?
  3. What are our individual goals?
  4. What are our “team” goals?
  5. Can we accept what the other has to say even if it is brutally honest and might hurt the others feelings? <– most important
  6. Can we agree to create a separation between our work and home/personal life? (Leave the baggage at the door)
  7. Are we willing to risk not getting along?

If you can HONESTLY answer all those questions and both agree by the end of it then I say YAY!  Go for it and grab that next venture and enjoy the ride.  If you can't agree by the end of it then I think its a NAY.  You also have to remember what point in your lives you are at:

Do you have kids? or Do you want kids?

Kids will play a huge role at how much time you are willing to put into the venture and whether or not you have the time.  For us it is all about MAKING the time because we are in control of that at least!  There are many things that you take a chance with and sometimes it might be the wrong decision but you start over and learn from it, or its the right decision for the start.  Remember COMMUNICATION is the key to keeping your relationship grounded and on the path to success!

Well that's my opinion!  If you aren't asleep by now I would love to hear from you!

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1 Comment

  1. My wife and I often work together as a team.

    Actually when we do work together that is exactly what we are a 2 person team, not as part of a collective office but as a working partnership.

    With us it is effective, I know others who work in the same office space together effectively and others that do not.

    It really depends on the couple and the needs of both individuals. Some people need personal space and personal time which often happens at work. Others do not.
    Carl Bainbridge recently posted…Light It Up Blue For Autism Awareness April 2, 2013My Profile

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