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The pros and cons of working with your spouse

Author: Beatriz Bernal
Published: Feb 20 2014

Working with your spouse can have a huge impact on every other part of your life. Your working life becomes an extension of family life. The relationship will either grow and blossom because of your shared goals or devalue your intimate relationship that is after all the reason for your being together.

There are many benefits of working with your spouse. There is a renewal of shared interests and goals. There is the advantage of having someone “watching your back” and supporting you during those stressful business situations. Understanding your spouse’s frustrations and they yours, is now a shared experience. Money matters become transparent. The added comrades that can be enjoyed in a work situation have the potential to increase caring and understand of each other.

Some relationships have begun in the work place and therefore the intimacy of a shared life becomes a natural progression in the relationship. Work is understood by both and is easily relegated to supplying, the necessities of life. On the other hand, if two people set out to go into business together, having experienced a long term relationship, there are other hazards to contend with. There can be a huge lack of understand of how their partner reacts in the workplace. This can lead to quarrels and working against each other. People can feel they are losing their identity as work, home and family merge into each other.

This is my case, I started to work with my partner after 7 years of happy relationship and now we have managed to achieve a good balance, however the first 6 months were so hard that we seriously considered to break up. By the way, these are my partner tips for couples working together.

Goal setting in the business should be the first basic tenet laid down and both parties should understand what they want out of their business. At the same time it is important to evaluate relationship and family goals, understand where they merge and where they have their own boundaries. It is imperative that time is set aside for meetings about business matters. Family aspirations can be teased out around the dinner table or during a quiet drink in the evening.

Role setting is another must if all is to run smoothly. Again this needs to be assessed, not just in the working situation but also in the home. Things have changed now that you have expectations of each other in business. The home front might need the same attention. Responsibilities and tasks need to be identified and shared appropriately. Factor this into both, the business meetings and those fireside talks.

Personality and character improvement needs to become one of your personal goals. Flexibility in your new working environment is essential. Are you easily angered? Jump to conclusions? Impatient with your spouse or demand to get your own way all the time? Can you listen and give a little? Can you ask for help? Do you recognise when you are wrong and admit it? Most important of all do, you give generous, truthful, feedback to your spouse?

Your marriage is the most important element in your life and it must be protected. Be aware of friction becoming more than the necessary tension needed for business success. Both spouses need to be aware that they have to continue to enjoy each other’s company and take time to do that.

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