5 Tips for Husband & Wife Business Owners
If we had a dollar for every time we heard “Oh gosh, you work together! Like all the time? I bet that gets rough” OR “Don’t you ever get sick of being around each other 24/7!?” & gotta love “I couldn’t be around my spouse that long, no way we would stay together!” Not only would we be rich because we hear it A LOT and because we have 2 sets of ears we are earning a whopping 2 dollars per person!
It’s shocking to us really. Back in the day when we both worked separate jobs, attended different colleges and didn’t do everything together (but DID live together) we still had a very similar relationship to what we have now. However, it wasn’t always that easy. In the first year of living together, we had more “I can’t stand you” moments than I can count. We became good at living together, but doing other things apart then we decided to work together … for ourselves … FULL TIME. Welcome, the “I can’t stand you” phase one more time.
It got us thinking. Maybe we are on to something. Just maybe those 18-year-olds 10 years ago who grew up together and learned to live together in happiness have figured out a thing or two along the way so you could be around your spouse 24/7 without having a tempting sensation to throw a plate across the room at. their. face. Never happened. Tempting though.
Seems simple. Talk to each other. Here’s the kicker. Communication is a 2 way road - someone talks & someone LISTENS. It’s something we are always striving to be better at and honestly, some seasons are easier than others. Sometimes we think of so many things in our mind that we forget we have actually not even expressed them or don’t want to because it just feels like we already “talk” about so much. Well, baby steps.
A. Find a good time to talk about important items.
Not good times would be when someone is at work, with friends, not at your son’s soccer game. We find the best times are in the evening when we can sit on our patio and just talk. Please note this isn’t necessarily for things related to fights - still applies - this is just for discussions where one people wants and craves for both people to be present.
B. Being Intentional & Specific in your Language
It’s always the small things that eventually become a big deal and fixing that before it ever begins will save you so many small silly arguments. We find trying to be more specific about what we need or want and conveying that importantance to the other person will help cut down on unnecessary frustration in the future. So instead of saying “Are you going to fix the closet” say “The closet shelf being broken bothers me can we set some time aside this weekend to fix it”
C. Be ready to listen
So, communicate and don’t forget to listen. Whether you are the person receiving the above feedback or the one getting back a no to the question you asked. Make sure you listen and you make the other person feel heard otherwise a circle will start that’s basically the same thing being said a million different ways causing frustration between you two. We asked the question above and the response is “I don’t know if this weekend will work but is Monday okay?” - Instead of just saying no I can’t do this weekend you are being specific in your own needs and wants even if it’s not exactly what the other person is asking for. That’s okay it’s all about compromise.
2. Find Roles
With us a big problem was finding a place in our job. We are both photographers and we both want to do everything but it’s just not possible. Not behind the scenes, not on a wedding day, not a single thing should we both be doing at the same time in the same way and when we do … it doesn’t work.
Create a task list that you would like to follow and follow it. Don’t step over the boundaries into the other person’s list until it seems like an appropriate time to talk about it.
Alex and I have split tasks throughout our weekly day to day and on a wedding day and it was so healthy to our work balance creating that line.
3. Have Fun
The day it stops being fun is the day we need to reevaluate what’s happening under our roof. Honestly, we never take ourselves too seriously. We don’t want to feel like every day is set in stone unable to be broken by the routine. We chose to work together and by golly we are going to have a good time. So, on Fridays, we eat some delicious Panera and try to hit up a Target after - our mid day date! (every week)
It’s amazing how refreshing it is when you have a child or a business that take up so much of our day to day time to be sure to intentionally set aside time for us that involve neither of those things like the good ole days. For those without a little minion yet … cherish your time alone together and don’t spend it overworking because “there’s nothing else to do”. Go to the movies, window shopping or just a walk around your neighborhood talking & having fun! Remember spending time together in the office or on the couch working isn’t the same as spending time together as a couple.
4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Maybe this is more for the ladies - but really let things go! I promise that laundry separation won’t cause any life-threatening problems; towels in with clothes *GASP* doesn’t matter. He wants to play a video game - play with him & guys - let her play. Honestly, sometimes I worry I have become too good at letting the stupid stuff go but then I figure if I forget it by tomorrow it probably wasn’t important anyway. If it’s a big topic that you think does bother you enough to say then just sleep on it and see if it’s just as important the next day.
All these tiny things can build up if we allow them to. We give ourselves plenty of grace to just drop these tiny silly items and remember that bickering is normal and totally ok. It most certainly isn’t a time to blow a tiny speck out of proportion into a giant erupted volcano.
5. Business is Business and Personal is Personal
Keep the talk to the respective categories. Tying in with appropriate times but also keeping these thoughts separate and knowing sometimes it can be easier to leave personal stuff at the door when you are going into work but becomes even more difficult when you work alongside that person.
Enjoy the moments together and cherish the little quirks about your spouse. These are the items you can pick on them later about. We have lately dubbed Alex the Chip Gaines of websites. Truly, every 6 months or so for the past few years he has come up with a bright new idea of a website. He builds it and he says woo … next time I’m hiring someone. Then he doesn’t and we do it again. It’s kinda fun to get a new online home every so often and it’s easy to be frustrated in all the time we spend building a website for ourselves; however, he only wants us to be better and get closer to the vision of who we are in this great big world. Can’t fault him for that & much less bring any frustration I have with him and the business to carry over into what we are doing tonight?
We hope you found this helpful! Comment below with some areas you could focus on in your own dynamic!