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We’ve been together nearly 8 years. We met while working for a large organization, opened a small business together out of our home, and now work together within a larger company helping small businesses be successful. We’ve been working together for 3/4 of our relationship.On top of that, we live in 668sq feet with a 65 lb dog and have only one car, with which we carpool to the same office every day. In short, we have every opportunity to brawl WWF style as we spend every waking (and sleeping) moment together. But we don’t.
If you think about it, couples have been working together out of a single home since the beginning of time. People worked on farms together, raised families together, and worked as a team throughout their lives. So, how do you make it work and harness the raw power of teamwork in an office environment? Can you smell what the Ferenzi’s are cookin’?
Here are eight tips the WWF taught us about being a couple in business.
1. Tag-team WWF style
At work or at home, we do our best to tag team responsibilities. This means we’re continuously getting things done and owning certain responsibilities. One person does dishes while the other does laundry. One person handles marketing while the other handles daily operations. And when things are done, we both sit down and relax at the same time. This will help you make more time to actually be a couple, and at the same time, also add value as an individual.
Avoid a cage match: Having trouble deciding who does what on the way home from work? A quick game of rock, paper scissors is hard to argue. Also, it just lightens things up a bit after a long day. – Katey
2. Put on your game face
You can’t engage with your spouse at work as you would in your home. In the office, you have to put on your game face and show them the same sense of respect you would any other co-worker. That’s not just for your benefit, but also your co-workers; nobody wants to sit in a meeting or be on an email thread with people being called “honey” or “schmoopie.” As a matter of fact, if you call each other “schmoopie,” just stop it altogether.
3. Understand there are no “tap outs”
Saying that you are not going to talk about work outside of work is setting yourself up for failure. It’s impossible to both be on the same page. Someone is almost always going to be “in the game.” Think about it, would you talk about work if you didn’t work together? If the answer is yes then why would you try to avoid it just because you do? That said, there’s nothing wrong with setting some ground rules or trying to have a cut-off time.
Avoid a cage match: Pick up each other’s slack. When your spouse has a tough deadline, you take care of dinner. If you have a late night ahead, ask if your spouse can take care of the groceries. – Adam
4. The Hart Foundation may be best to break up
First of all, before you jump into business together, make sure the needs of the couple are accounted for. With that in mind, someone should more than likely keep their day job so that there is some form of income. Additionally, know and acknowledge when it’s time to step away. We all loved Hart Foundation but Brett Hart needed to go solo and Anvil needed to move on. Your relationship should also always take priority. Plus, you wouldn’t get angry with a coworker for leaving the company and you wouldn’t get angry at your spouse for moving on with their career.
5. Come up with a plan of attack
Be sure to sit down and prioritize what is most important. This will not only eliminate “debates” but will also streamline getting stuff done. Here’s a scenario: It’s 9:45pm and Katey is drafting up this blog post but Adam is helping a client. Who is on dish duty? Answer: Katey. We don’t even need to have a discussion.
Avoid a cage match: Give each other praise and appreciation just like you would anyone else. Nothing feels better than a pat on the back or high five is it’s earned. Also, nothing feels worse than not getting what was earned just because you’re married. – Katey
6. Focus on a common enemy
When we started our small business, we had nothing but big dreams and empty wallets. The budget was tight–we’re talking Hulk Hogan speedo tight. During that time, we had some doozy “disagreements.” What we learned, however, is that we shouldn’t attack each other. Instead, we refocused our energy to work together instead of against each other. However, be careful you don’t just create scapegoats. There is a line.
Avoid a cage match: Keep it professional, this is work. You’re heading to a meeting, not 5th period gym. – Katey
7. Maintain allies, they make you stronger
As much as we’d recommend having different allies outside of the relationship, it can be tough. Actually, we stink at this. We enjoy nearly all of the same activities and work with some pretty awesome people, which means we end up hanging out with the same folks. However, if one of us needed something like a “guys night” or “girls night,” or one of us simply had that close friend that was really their friend, the other would understand and support that.
8. Smacktalk is healthy–but don’t be a jabroni
We will use the word “debate” again. Don’t compromise on something you really don’t agree with for the sake of avoiding a disagreement at work. We’ll argue tooth and nail if needed, but it’s in working toward the mission and ideals we believe in. Do not shy about letting each other know.
Avoid the cage match: Be honest. If you don’t think their proposal is the greatest or you don’t understand their projec, tell them. Help each other be better by asking the uncomfortable questions. Ands always tell each other the truth (even if it’s hard to hear). – Adam
When working together, sharing a space together, and taking on life together, you need to make sure you’re communicating in an honest and meaningful way. Working and being in a personal relationship will naturally make you reflect more on your relationship–and that can lead to more conversations about who you are and who you are together. Don’t think that all the conversations or “debates” mean you’re doing poorly as a couple. It just means that you’re paying attention. The best advice we can offer is to try and remember that it’s going to be a journey. There will be bumps in the road, but you’re traveling together.
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