This kind of working arrangement got me thinking. What would that be like, to work with your spouse? Would you get sick of each other? Would arguments about the business or work get in the way or your relationship? How could you leave work at work when you're working together at home?
So I did what I always do--I researched. And I found out that for a lot of couples, the arrangement works just fine. Even when they see each other all the time, they still love each other, miraculously enough. How do they do it?
- Take breaks. And don't freak out about it. If you need time away from your spouse, that's normal. So if your spouse doesn't want to take his break with you, assume he needs some alone time and don't assume you've done something wrong or that he doesn't love you enough.
- Play to your strengths. If one of you can crunch the numbers but the other hates accounting, why not go with that? Do what you like and what you do best so that work doesn't become a drag.
- Set boundaries. This will vary from couple to couple, but if you work in the same place, maybe you can set certain hours where you're not allowed to talk about work. Or certain times of day (such as dinnertime) where the computer has to be turned off. If certain topics are touchy but you have to address them, you can set some ground rules about how you'll talk about them ahead of time.
- Don't feel guilty about not following the "marriage rules". Most couples don't work together and may not need as much time apart as you do. So ignore your neighbors who gasp because you and your wife took separate vacations or who are scandalized about who does the cooking.
- Trust each other. You and your spouse are under constant scrutiny by the same customers, clients, or boss. So it's natural to want to jump in when you see that someone is treating your spouse unfairly or to intervene with his work in order to protect him. Don't. Trust that the other person is capable enough to handle it, and pay him the compliment of trusting in his abilities.