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How to Work Together and Remain Married

How to Work Together and Remain Married

One of the toughest parts of my job is working with the man I married. When you add into the mix, that we each work full time, often side by side, in the same house we ‘go home to’, this can be very challenging. Granted I choose to work together with my husband and he with myself and this allows a certain flexibility that we need for our blended family. Some days are much better than others and I have picked up a few tips that I can share.

How To Work Together and Remain Married

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Work Time and Home Time

One of the first things I learned was to create boundaries around work and home time. A little difficult when working within our home, but we had to learn that there were times for work and times for family. Generally our work day begins over a cuppa in the morning and extends all the way to a glass of wine at night, this is our trigger point that we need the work day to end. For us, this can be anywhere from 4pm to 8pm depending on the day. That first glass of wine is our knock off bell. This is when conversation turns to kids and life in general, my favourite time of the day.

Create Work Spaces

It was really important for our work identities for us to define work spaces for ourselves. I work at a desk nook near our kitchen and The Builder works at his desk in the library. Being Husband and Wife, it is really easy for us to think of each other that way all the time, but in order for your working relationship not to blur, we need to be able to think of each other as business partners. Our separate spaces go a long way to helping this. The Builder knows when I am sitting at my desk, I am Nicole Business Manager and Blogger and likewise he at his desk. Everywhere else in the home, I am his wife and pet names are ok.

Defining Roles

This has been (and continues to be) one of the hardest parts of working together. It is extremely important for our working relationship to work around a healthy respect for one another and the roles we have in the business. In the beginning our roles were not defined and this created much tension, now that we have the definition and continue to refine that, we find that we are able to avoid this source of tension.

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Fight The Fair Fight

Couples fight, it is normal. The key here is to be able to distance yourself from those normal arguments when it comes time for work. The Builder and I may have had a doozy the night before, but once we begin our working day, all that needs to be put aside for the good of the job. Honestly this is not easy, hurt is hurt, but professional also needs to be professional. We have learned that on these days, one of us is best placed working outside of the office if at all possible, otherwise we just have to get on with it.

Wear A Uniform

This one didn’t work for us for long, but it has helped so many of our friends who are in the same situation as us. Wearing a uniform gave the feeling of work time, helped to create that definition between work and family time. I’m not a uniform person and so this didn’t work for a long time, but I certainly have more professional clothes for work time than home time and for us this has been enough. Visual reminders of work time are a great assistance to defining that time of day.

It did take us quite a while to master working and living together successfully and we still have our difficult days, but for us these are the tips we picked up along the way. I do hope they will be of some help to you to!

What is the most challenging part of your work day? Do you work with your partner? Are you a uniform wearer?

Nicole xxx

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13 Comments

  1. I would love to work with hubby but only if we had our own defined spaces like you and the builder. I think we’d need some extra space otherwise we’d totally cramp each other’s style, not to mention get on each other’s nerves. Good on you guys for making it work, it’s the ultimate partnership!

  2. We are really lucky to work together and to have a little space to put between us when we need it. xx

  3. Both of our long term goals are to work from home for ourselves. I’m actually quite hesitant to do this until we don’t live in such a small house. Knowing us both, I don’t think it would work until we both had defining areas – basically a study each that is ours for working in. At the moment we don’t have that in our little rental and I know that the more time I spend at home, the more space I need for mental and visual breaks.
    My short-mid term goal is to look for a job that’s 3-4 days per week, while maintaining my current annual salary (and the job must be closer to home). It’s a balance that I think will give me the time and money to get a house that suits and focus on the career aspects I want.

  4. It sounds challenging but I love the suggestions. I’m not married or partnered so can’t imagine what it would be like but think it’s something a couple would need to consider closely beforehand!

  5. I have worked with my husband Steve for many years. We have a commercial cleaning business and although we have staff we still do work the business ourselves. Because we have staff and ourselves working day and night we do find one thing a challenge. The phone. It doesn’t stop, even if we are away, even after me telling staff we are unavailable while our son was getting married we received calls during the ceramony. It really does cause so many problems. We do however make the rule that work is not to be spoken about while in the bedroom, that is our little haven, and this year we have even set up a 2 hours a day where I won’t answer the phone. If it’s bad they can leave a message. Our kids ring a different phone so we know it’s not them. It’s not easy working with your husband but we just try and do our best. In saying that I would’nt want to be working with anyone else so it definitely has its good side. 😃

  6. Great tips. I read a fantastic article recently that shared advice given from couples who had been married for longer than 30 years and the one thing they all agreed on that kept the relationship going was mutual respect for each other. I love how you included that in your post. Wishing you and Adam another amazing year of success and that you are able to spend quality time together not thinking about the business as well. Easy said than done. xx

  7. Great post Nicole and I know that boundaries are helpful. I worked for two years with my husband – he was principal and I was the 2nd teacher in our 2 teacher school. Our daughter even went to the school. However, with roles and responsibilities it worked for the time it was. I must admit we are both ‘bossy’ people so that was a challenge!!

  8. Great post- this will help loads of couples in business together!

  9. It sounds like you guys have struck a really great balance, I imagine if you didn’t do these things it could get tricky but good on you for finding ways to make it work!

  10. I’m so impressed that you manage it. I think my husband and I would end up bankrupt if we worked together! Lol! These are great tips though, if it ever does happen I know what post I’ll be re-reading!

  11. My hubby is a photographer and we have completed about four travel photography and articles together now. It was quite fun to do together and gave me a new appreciation of his work and professionalism. More to come. More like a paid hobby at this stage though, I think I enjoy our seperate projects too. Us both freelancing and one working at the kitchen for a while was a nightmare, both more productive having our own desks!

  12. Im so glad I stumbled across your blog today. My hubby is also a builder and I do the admin and bookkeeping for our business . We both work from home and share our home office, after reading your blog post I think it’s time we had our own working space each. The lines between personal life and our work life are often blurred and it would be nice to have a bit of defined space between the two.
    I might also try the tip about wearing a uniform!
    Your blog is great, keep up the good work!

    1. So wonderful to hear this Jennifer. There are so many rewards to working together as a couple, but also a few difficulties to push through. Having your own working space is super helpful, and although uniforms didn’t work for us, they have done for so many other working couples I know. Thank you for the lovely feedback xx

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