Many people today are taking advantage of today’s entrepreneurial culture and the internet to leave the corporate world and start working for themselves. Many of those people are married couples and it can be a wonderful experience that brings couples closer and strengthens their marriage. But it can also lead to tension and stress.
A new article on HuffingtonPost.com by Sandy Malone offers some tips on working and living together 24/7 without ending up divorced.
Malone and her husband not only chose to start a wedding business together when her husband retired, they also chose to do it on the tiny island of Vieques, near Puerto Rico. So Malone knows something about the problems that can arise from being under each other’s noses all day and night. Here are some of her tips for not only surviving this kind of situation, but thriving in it.
1. Have clearly defined roles.
As Malone explains, she and her husband are equals, but not in everything. Each has their own “territory” within their company and when they do butt heads, they don’t do it at work.
I don’t mean we never snap and snark at each other — I’d be lying. But we’re pros at this and after seven years, we recognize the dirty look that says, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll talk about this later.’ The good news is that ‘later’ is good because we’re both always cooled down by then. Sometimes ‘later’ becomes ‘never’ and that’s a good thing too.”
2. Have boundaries.
I’m the boss, but if I have to countermand something Bill is doing, I try to do it on the side or in an appropriately professional way. When he disagrees with me, he tells me on the side. He’s learned the hard way not to get involved in décor, cakes, catering or staffing because those areas aren’t his problem.”
Malone continues to explain that her husband is in charge of lighting and other technical things and she doesn’t get in his way when he’s doing his thing, either.
3. Respect each other.
Malone explains that while she may be the boss of the company, she and her husband respect the very different skills that they each bring to the company to make it successful. For instance, her husband is great with the guests and setting up the venues, while she is the detail person, attending to flowers and glasses and all of the hundreds of decisions that make a wedding special. She unequivocally says that her husband is her hero and obviously he respects her as well, because he is technically working for her. That takes mutual respect and a strong friendship.
Being self-employed is more of an option today than it was twenty or even ten years ago. It can be a way to follow your dreams and to improve your quality of life. It can also be a great change for your marriage, if you set boundaries, clearly define your roles and never lose sight of your mutual respect.