Marriage takes work. This is especially true when you literally work with your spouse. Having your partner at your side all day at work and then for the rest of the night at home isn't for everyone, but for married entrepreneurs, they couldn't see life any other way.
Working together is no easy task, especially if you and your spouse both have strong personalities. Both career success and the stresses of working together as married entrepreneurs can bring anxiety into the relationship. That's right, even if your business is thriving, that doesn't mean your marriage will be.
Harvard Business Review estimates that 3 million out of the 22 million U.S. small business were couple-owned in the year 2000. This statistic has likely gone up significantly since then.
So how do entrepreneurial couples do it? Here are the 4 secrets of blissful entrepreneurial power couples and how you can keep your marriage strong when you work together.
1. Stay on the same page.
Married entrepreneurs find the most success when they are on the same page regarding their business model. Where is the business going? Who is your target audience? What is the 5-year plan? Write down your business plan as a couple and study it inside and out.
Another great way to stay on the same page is to define your roles in business.
As a power couple, you know your spouse's strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own. This can help you define who will do well in each avenue of the business model and avoid any power struggles in the relationship. Perhaps you are great with numbers, while your spouse is a real people person. This draws a clear line over which roles and responsibilities each partner will excel at.
2. Show deep respect.
Just like in your marriage, it’s important for power couples who work together to show deep respect for one another. As married entrepreneurs, you know that everything you are both doing is for the good of the business.
If you question your partner or feel something could have been handled better at work, do not blow a gasket or embarrass your spouse in front of your employees. Instead, show respect and fight fair by taking them aside privately and communicating your thoughts calmly.
It’s just business
This can be a difficult concept to grasp when you are in business with the love of your life. After all, if the person you love the most suddenly questions you or black balls a business idea you have, it can feel like a slap in the face. This is your husband or wife, after all!
Still, married entrepreneurs know that disagreements in the office are inevitable and it’s just business. It should not affect the love or respect you have for one another.
3. Practice communication and appreciation.
Happy couples in business together know it’s imperative to show kindness to one another. Going into business with your partner can cause you to walk a difficult line when it comes to showing kindness and not taking things personally. But married entrepreneurs know how important it is to show kindness to one another and to communicate openly about their issues.
Communication is important for a healthy marriage and equally as important for a healthy business partnership. Power couples who love one another know how to communicate effectively, without shouting or reacting poorly. They know when to be humble, when to be assertive, how to accept constructive criticism, and when to step back and listen.
Show appreciation for one another by celebrating each other. Congratulate your spouse on their accomplishments, both professionally and personally. Be their rock on the hard days and cheer them on and make them laugh on the good ones.
If you are successful in your marriage you will be more likely to be successful in your professional lives.
4. Create a work-life balance.
One of the most important things power couples do is prioritize time for one another. As an entrepreneurial couple, a large part of your focus goes toward your business. But the majority of your heart, energy, and time should go towards your spouse.
Do date night
Many couples do this by scheduling regular date nights each week. Date nights are designed to reconnect as a romantic couple, not as business partners.
Billionaire power couple Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan reportedly drew up a relationship contract in which Zuckerberg promised to take her out on a date once a week and to spend at least 100 minutes alone with her outside of the apartment or office.
Leave work at work
Bringing work home will only lead to increased stress and decreased time spent together as a couple.
Furthermore, power couples are committed to their jobs, but that doesn't mean they are married to them. With e-mail, video chat, and online storage drives just a swipe away, it can be difficult to leave work at the front door. Yet, that's exactly what blissful entrepreneurial couples do.
This also means that you don’t talk about work. Connecting with your spouse means getting to know them as a person. It’s about having fun together and sharing in conversation. It does not mean conversing about work or work-related topics.
Spend time together as a family
Along with having a regular date-night, it's also important to share in regular family time with your children. Spending time together during meals and doing extracurricular activities is a satisfying bonding experience that builds communication and strengthens the family unit.
Receiving your individual attention, as well as the structure that comes from regular family activities such as movie night or game night, will add to the important sense of balance and structure that young children crave.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance, communicate regularly, celebrate your partner, and always show respect. If you make a practice of doing these things you’ll strengthen your marriage and join the ranks of working power couples and happily married entrepreneurs.
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.