When it comes to running a business with your spouse, it can be difficult. How do some couples do this successfully without it becoming overly stressful or tearing them apart?
Working with our spouse in a home business can be very rewarding, however, it is necessary to create an environment of respect and challenge where both in the relationship can thrive, succeed, and be appreciated. This article will give ten ways to get started in the right direction.
As my wife and I slowly transition from go-to-work jobs to work-at-home, we must learn how to work with each other without getting sick of constantly being around each other. This isn’t as big of a deal for us as we have always loved to spend time with each other, but there are certainly couples out there who will, and do, struggle with this.
In this article, I will give ten ways to develop a healthy working environment for a couple that will also help the relationship itself to grow and thrive. We married because we wanted to do life together; not only tolerate each other for a few hours per day.
Sadly, many factors are causing stress on relationships these days, and money is one of them. There are countless couples now working from home in various ways making large amounts of money while enjoying the freedom to do as they please. This is the best scenario and one that this couple is striving for. I hope that others can find this freedom too!
Enjoy this article and follow along on our blog as we work to share ways to build a great relationship and get the most meaning out of life together as a couple. Much of this starts with personal improvement and development, but also includes improvement and development in the relationship as well.
10 ways to enjoy working with your spouse
I have laid out ten ways that a couple can use and apply to their situation to improve their working conditions. Maybe a couple doesn’t work together yet but wishes they could. Maybe their concern is, “We will probably just fight, and I don’t want to ruin our relationship.”
This is a logical and valid statement for some and if a couple truly feels this way, then it’s true, they probably shouldn’t try working together, yet. I say yet because it is possible for couples to learn to get along in all situations. This takes effort, attention, and awareness of each other’s state.
We are not fully working together from home yet but spend a considerable amount of time after work working together to build our blog and potentially others. We have ups and downs and we need time-out’s occasionally, but the important thing is that we don’t give up. It can only grow and get big if we stick to it and fighting with each other isn’t part of the success equation.
Here is my list of 10 things to do when working with your spouse or partner in a home-based business of any sort:
- Fall in love with each other
- Be respectful
- Encourage often
- Create the right environment
- Play on their strengths
- Do your part
- Understand the limits
- Don’t be the boss
- Keep growing
- Have a goal
1. Fall in love with each other
I am starting with this because when a couple is in love, they tolerate more of each other and enjoy the other’s company. Falling in love isn’t just something that happens in the dating days or up until just after the honeymoon.
My wife and I have been married for just over twenty years now. We got married at nineteen years old and have had many trying experiences over our time together. We have had to learn how to make it work through a variety of emotions and circumstances, and we have.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the point is, here we are after twenty years dreaming of an amazing future together filled with many more years of adventure and excitement and love, and hopefully, earnings.
Working together can be stressful, depending on the type of work. Falling back in love with each other requires wiping the slate clean for the other and forgiving them for any wrong they might’ve done to us. Then, it requires consistent effort for making time spent with each other a positive experience.
When we associate a good feeling with something, we want more of that. Create good feelings with your partner by doing fun things together and avoiding negative conversations or anything that will lower their self-esteem.
Get out and start making fun memories. Go out and get active together; try new foods together; watch sappy romantic movies together that lead to feelings of intimacy; be intimate together; and most of all, laugh together.
2. Be respectful
Being respectful can mean many things. When it comes to working with our partner, we must learn to respect them in any ways they require. We can often see when something is getting them worked up or when they are feeling cornered in some way.
We can show them respect by giving them space and adequate time to take the breaks they need. Exasperating them will only lead to further escalation and conflict. When in disagreement or conflict, the work progress will become inefficient.
Instead, work with them and be helpful to them. Learn to be a leader and be helpful like true leaders are. If our partner has a different view or way of doing something, let them try it. Maybe their way really is the better way. We don’t know if we don’t try, right?
I have heard before to never question a woman’s intuition. Maybe the person who said this was trying to earn brownie points with their partner or maybe they were really on to something.
When my wife says she has a feeling or hunch about something, I have learned to let her run with it because it often works out for us. If we try something together and fail, we learn together and try something else together.
Finally, being respectful requires us to not blow up on them when something does go wrong. Not everything will always be perfect. Sometimes there will be setbacks and losses in business; it’s part of the game. If an outburst is building, take a personal break and exert some energy elsewhere. I love running and running helps me blow off steam.
3. Encourage often
For me, there is nothing better than hearing, “Well done!”
My love language is primarily appreciation and respect; well, gifts too, but mostly appreciation and respect.
It is important to understand our partner and pay attention to how they are doing. Some people won’t require any pats on the back or need to hear well-done, but we must be sure to know if our partner requires it or not.
Sometimes we can feel taken for granted and in time we might just want to quit. Nobody wants to be used and abused, right? So, we can start by making sure that we don’t do this to our partner first, and if our partner is doing this to us, have a conversation with them about it.
It is best when bringing up difficult topics to take it easy and not be in-your-face about it. We can prime them by letting them know that we feel a certain way due to how they act and that we would like to talk about it in a calm manner sometime soon.
Sometimes surrounding the heavy talks with some deliberate fun can help keep emotions at bay. This is a choice however as nobody wants to go have fun after being criticized. However, since we can alter our state of emotion through various activities, when we are mad or upset, we can do something energetic and exciting to create a state of happiness and pleasure. It’s a choice.
It is easier to be an encouragement when the heavy topics and pet peeves are discussed and dealt with. We don’t want to be an encouragement to someone who has ticked us off. So, instead of looking for a work around, make things right and then strive to show support to one another.
4. Create the right environment
Creating the right working environment for a couple certainly starts with love, respect, and encouragement. This is why I put those things first. But it doesn’t end there.
The right environment can mean many things; our attitudes towards each other, the tools we are given to use for our job and adequate timelines, and it certainly can also mean the location itself.
What I mean by location is, sometimes we need our own working space. Some couples work together at the kitchen table with kids and animals running around them bumping into them and making messes all around them.
For me, this is a recipe for failure. I am the type who needs my own working space. I am a team-player when I need to be, but I do my best thinking and work when in solitude.
If this is the case in your situation where one in the relationship needs a separate work area, find a way to do this. It might be that we have to literally block off an area of the house and put a desk there for them and make sure the kids and animals don’t just barge in. Some houses don’t have spare rooms for offices and we simply need to do what is possible.
What is important to note is that starting a business is the dry-time. Sticking to it while it grows is the hard-time. Becoming profitable is the good-time.
With this in mind, stick to it and make it work for now, and later when the money starts coming in, buy the right home that will encourage further growth and enjoyment.
5. Play on their strengths
In our work, my wife does things that I can’t do, and I do things that she can’t do. We surely could learn in time to do these things, but they don’t come naturally. This means, we have strengths and weaknesses.
To revisit being a leader, a leader is not only someone who leads by example, but also, a leader is someone who can learn who has the best strengths in certain areas and put them on those tasks. By doing this, the overall work becomes far more efficient and successful.
If I had to write all the articles and do all the marketing and website work, our blogs would surely fail. However, my wife is well-gifted in computer technology and IT and because of this, she is able to create and maintain our websites, and anything else technical.
As for me, I still sometimes need to do searches on how to use my computer for basic functions. I am gifted at writing; not technical stuff. Because I know this, I do what I can to focus on writing and learning how to write better, and I give my wife freedom to focus on maintaining our sites and learning how to optimize those, which seems to never end.
There are going to be times when we have to jump in and just try to help where we can, but for the most part, the business is going to grow and thrive if the couple learns who is best at what and makes that their contribution.
I know this seems obvious, but sometimes people’s pride gets in the way; sometimes we want the glamorous and exciting parts of the business, not the behind-the-scenes parts. We must understand that the business is a team effort for the couple, and both get to reap the rewards of success.
6. Do your part
As with understanding our partner’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as ours, we must do what we are required to do.
If a couple agrees to run a business together, it is essential that each fills their role. This means that whatever is necessary of us, don’t put it off or try to unload it on the other.
Some jobs won’t be glorious and enjoyable, but still are required. If it doesn’t get done, the business suffers. When the business suffers, it affects the people running the business and all others involved.
Having an enjoyable working environment includes finding a way to maintain a smooth-running operation. Getting the work done in an efficient manner means to get it done. If this is a struggle, then talk it out. Go back to the drawing board and make sure that each are working in an area of capability.
Complacency and laziness in the workplace are recipes for disaster. People and co-workers don’t like it and it affects everyone. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing an article or going back and fixing up an old piece of writing. If I want the blog to grow and be it’s best, I need to do this. The alternative is that it doesn’t get done and growth is slowed.
Sure, my wife could try and go over my work and optimize it further, but it isn’t her job to fill all roles in “our” business. This is where maturity and responsibility come in.
7. Understand the limits
We must not only know strengths and weaknesses and do our parts, but also, we must understand our limits.
We all have a breaking point. It is best if we can avoid reaching this point and find a point where we say, “Okay, this is getting to be too much, we need to take a step back for a moment.”
If we look at society today, we will find countless individuals who are tired and stressed out. They are overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. We can only endure this state for so long before we get to a point of sickness or reduced health.
We are not operating efficiently when we are tired, stressed, or depressed. Instead of letting the home business get to this point, be sure to read the signs of each other and maintain open conversation about each other’s well-being.
We can help them unwind by taking some of their load off them. We can pitch in where we can. Also, we can give them a break now and then. Perhaps they need this day alone to do what they please, or maybe they want to do something together, with us.
If we create a business that isn’t high-stress and can tolerate a break here and there without the business falling apart, this is ideal. This is the primary reason my wife and I are trying to build a home-based business that we can do from our primary residence or from an RV at a lake somewhere.
There is no rule-book or manual that says a couple must live a certain way and maintain a certain type of income. No, instead, work together to create the life you both want. This was the idea during the dating and dreaming stages, right; to do fun and exciting things and build a life of adventure together?
8. Don’t be the boss
I did say to be a leader, but I didn’t say to be the boss. First, to differentiate between the two, a leader is someone who encourages, edifies, teaches, helps, and leads others by example. A boss should possess leadership qualities too, however, many don’t.
Bosses do have a different role to fill, and this is why they often hire people to do the leadership work. When it comes to a couple working together in a home business, we need to highlight the word, together.
If my wife wants to act like the boss and be bossy while bossing me around, I won’t enjoy this much. “Who put her in charge” I will ask; “Why does she get to make all the decisions and tell me what to do and bark orders” I might add.
Instead, be a team. The true leader is part of the team. The leader helps carry the other past the finish line. We must learn to do this for each other in both the business and the relationship, as this is a great way to cause both to flourish.
When both know their strengths and weaknesses, when both do their work and strive to exceed that by being helpful to the other where possible, then the business has an amazing chance for success. The relationship certainly grows too because we start to truly enjoy being around that person who is helpful and encouraging and non-judging and respectful.
If being a boss is important, hire people for your business or head to the corporate world. I can’t think of very many relationships that work when one is the boss and the other is the employee. When they get fed up and quit, it’s more than the job they might walk away from.
9. Keep growing
We can keep the business pleasureful by increasing in knowledge and ability. As we do this, the business has more ability to expand and earn. When the business is growing and flourishing, the couple can experience joy and reward.
This is the same in any business, too. When times are good, everyone rejoices; when the business slumps, so do the attitudes and morale of everyone.
A great way to combat this is through innovation and improvement. We might improve ourselves through personal development or we might buy material that opens new opportunities for the business, or we might reach out to others who are at a higher level in a similar business and get help.
Whatever it is, the point of business is to grow it and benefit from it. If the business is struggling and suffering, the couple and their relationship will surely struggle too as they each become strained and pressured.
Three years ago, I was a high-stress guy and it didn’t take much to set me off. I have worked hard at personal development and growth and have become a different person. Now, I still get frustrated and things still set me off, however, these occurrences are few and far between.
This has helped our relationship tremendously, and I know it is beneficial to our business too. Everyday starts with personal time spent listening to positive information of some sort. I don’t run to my phone or social media. Instead, I go to sleep listening to positive speakers, and I wake up and start my day this way too. This leads to a productive day with a good attitude for me.
Know what is necessary to grow the business and each other as this is a great way to ensure more success and enjoyment from the business and relationship.
10. Have a goal
Finally, have a vision for your business. If the couple is working so hard and gets too caught up in the daily grind, it’s possible to lose sight of where the business is going. How will that couple know when they arrive, right?
Instead, sit together and write out the goals for the business. Not only should this include the financial goals of the business, but also, where the business is going, what it could and should expand into, and most importantly, how it will benefit the relationship now and in the future.
We can direct the business better when we are in control of it and see where it is and where it’s going. If we lose control or go on auto-pilot, we risk ending up at the wrong destination.
We must have these goals, visions, objectives, and checkpoints, and we must visit them together regularly.
I recommend a sit down once per month to examine progress and state of condition. This way, if something is going the wrong way, it doesn’t have too much time to go too far in the wrong direction. Like the doctors say, “It’s good that you came in early because now you have a chance to beat this!”
In business, and relationships for that matter, we can often avoid disaster by being aware of the condition and state. By addressing certain situations early, progress isn’t affected as much, nor is the bottom dollar.
Be alert, be aware, be focused, be a team, and work together; this is the best recipe for a couple in business.
In this article, we have discussed the important factors at play in business. I specifically wrote this article for couples in business, however, there are many take-aways for any sort of business and co-worker relationships.
The relationship must come first, and the business second. If a couple has started a home business and the business is tearing them apart, it is far better for that couple to abandon the business than the relationship, right? Go back to work elsewhere and focus on restoring the relationship. Love, relationship, and family first, money second.
We live in a society where our economy can fall out from under us at any moment. The important thing to understand is that when it does, we still have each other. Create a life together worth living. Start a business together so that you and your partner can experience the life you truly want but be sure to put the relationship and each other’s well-being first, and everything else will just be adventure.
If you have any helpful tips or advice for others or a story of your own you would find helpful to others, please leave a comment for others to enjoy.
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How to get your spouse to hear you, by Mort Fertel.