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How to Work With Your Spouse - Three Tips to Working With Your Spouse

When Husband and Wife Run a Business Together

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Working with a spouse is generally not an easy thing to accomplish, and you should set clear ground rules before working together. Even the happiest of couples do not always agree on everything, and this is particularly true when it comes to money and business. One of the reasons is that men and women tend to make business decisions differently.

While men are usually very good at problem solving, they are also less likely to compromise or concede to other solutions. Men are more likely to simply look at “facts,” and less willing to look at the emotional components that often need to be factored into family-owned business decisions.

According to Azriela Jaffee, (Permission to Prosper: What Working Wives Crave From Their Husbands and How to Get It) couples are more likely to succeed when one spouse simply pitches in and helps another rather than when they have equal roles in the business. Jaffee estimates that only about 5% of couples who enter into full partnership businesses succeed.

When to Leave Your Spouse Out of The Business

If your marriage is already rocky, working together is like having a child to try and renew the marriage: it does not work and you end up with even more complications and reasons to disagree than before.

And, if you are already struggling with the business, pulling your husband in to save the day is not a good idea. It puts pressure on him to solve problems that you could not. If he can solve them, you may even resent him for being successful in something you failed; to accomplish. And, if he cannot solve the problems, you may blame him for a mess that you created in the first place.

Three Most Important Tips for Working With Your Husband

  1. Be Nice: Be flexible in your ideas and ways, and expect to have to compromise more than you would with an unrelated co-worker. Treat your spouse with the same (or higher) level of courtesy and respect, as you would anyone else you worked with.

  2. Avoid Arguments With One Simple Act: Listen. Even if you disagree with your husband’s ideas, always let him finish. If you cut him short, or are quick to criticize, you are likely to start a shouting match.

  3. Set Aside Business-Free Time: It is impossible to “leave it at the office” when your home is your office. But you still need to spend time enjoying being a couple. It is important to remember that you are together for many reasons; not just for a business.

    Have “no business talk at dinner” certain nights of the week, or even better, make “dates” with your spouse once a week.

Only go into business with your husband if it is because you have planned to do so and you both want to work together. If you need someone to help you save your business, hire a business consultant or find a mentor. Let your husband be your "knight in shining amour" for other reasons that don't involve your business.

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