Couples Who Work Together

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Because so many entrepreneurial ventures are launched, or brought on by, or result in hardworking people who also share a couple relationship (and because the marriage and work relationship I had with my wife lasted over 25 years), it seemed appropriate to devote a post to the subject. Maybe a couple of experience points here can benefit others?

  • FIRST: If you are in a love/work relationship and not killing each other every night, congratulations and God Bless You! You have somehow managed (or are at least still managing) to beat the odds. Being the spouse of a business owner or the spouse who is the brains behind the business owner (or are an involved but not-married business couple!) makes you special!

Very few relationships can withstand the attack on emotional, rational, and physical sensibilities that are brought on by the stress of running a business together, while living under the same roof. It’s important to stay “here-and-now” as much as possible. Have flexible, specific, realistic, due-dated goals (and write them down!), but remain focused on the present.



It takes a special way of relating to one another that requires greater sensitivity and sense of purpose than  a typical marriage where one or both partners leave the home each morning and return each night. I have often counseled to paint a line around the bedroom doorway and threshold beyond which, business discussions are not allowed . . . and communicate, communicate, communicate! Listen, listen, listen!

  • SECOND: Extreme trust and extreme sacrifice are the two characteristics of successful work/love relationships that cannot be compromised under any circumstances . . . ever! The temptations will be endless, but violating your love/work partner’s trust or not pulling your share of the load spell instant business failure, and often instant relationship failure too!

This distills down to being constantly conscious of not putting yourself in situations that could undermine the well-being of either your work or emotional relationship. Don’t go out partying on your own. Don’t hang out at bars or strip-clubs or trade show suites when you’re on business trips. Don’t wear provocative outfits when you’re on the road or attending meetings. Making a business and a relationship work at the same time requires integrity.

In other words, don’t ask for trouble

 because you’ll surely find it.


Working couples need to accept that friction will always be present. The trick is to work at making it be positive and productive friction. It takes far greater tolerance, patience and understanding than a non-working-together-couple relationship. The trade-off is that working couples–two people with one mindset–are almost always more effective and successful than flying solo.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

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