7 Commandments for Avoiding Stress When Working with Your Spouse

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]hands-connectingIt sounded like a good idea at the time. You want to be together as much as you can, so why not? Your love will grow and grow and grow.

Maybe not.

I’m talking about working with your spouse – it’s either going to be really good or really bad. Interestingly, family-owned businesses and working with your spouse tends to seem like a good idea at the start, but more often than not, what tends to happen is a five-letter word we try our best to avoid:


That’s right, working with your family and loved ones can be a stressful undertaking. And if you’ve worked with or currently work with your spouse, it can be hard to manage and separate the blurred lines.

I have to be honest, I don’t work with my honey day to day and I decided that doing so was not something I’d be interested in. Why? Because I don’t want to add stress where it doesn’t need to be. Being in a relationship is already work enough, exasperating it may add fuel to an already burning fire.

If you’re like Deaphalis from TX, you may know just what I mean:

“Hi Darnyelle. My question is simple: how do you overcome stress when working with your spouse?”

Success in working with your spouse really boils down to a seven-letter word:

R E S P E C T… respect for who she is and what she brings to the work table; respect for who he is and what he brings to the work table and respect for the fact that your roles at work may not equal your roles at home. Here are my seven commandments for avoiding stress at work with your spouse:

1. Thou shalt get clear. The importance of setting clear expectations and co-creating a vision for your business is essential. Do not miss it, no matter what. You may think that you’ve got it covered because they share your bed, but trust me when I tell you it’s imperative to be crystal clear. After all, it is from clarity that all success springs forth. Take the time to talk through and create an accountability agreement for the role each of you will play in the company.

2. Thou shalt respect each other as important people and key contributors. Each of you has a clear role to play in the business. Respect that. By acknowledging each other’s skillsets and allowing each other the opportunity to manage the part of the business where your strength lies will ensure success.

3. Thou shalt leave work at work; leave home at home. You have to remember that although you live and work together, there is a time and place for everything. Even if you work at home, you’ll have to set clear boundaries of what is designated as work related and what is home/family related. If you allow the lines to be blurred, it will cause tension and stress. For example, if the wife is working on a project where she is the lead and her leadership style is one that leaves the husband to buck at her authority because he is the “head,” this will wreak havoc. By understanding that your roles will shift and change constantly will ease this transition for you. Lead by strengths, not gender. Each of you needs to check your ego at the door in order to be effective in the workplace.

4. Thou shalt work in separate places in the office or home for some autonomy. You may even want to work in different “departments” or “divisions” so that you don’t have to be side by side all day. Being too close can leave you feeling like you’re being micromanaged, which is never a good sign. Be sure that your roles support and compliment one another but aren’t overlap. For instance, one person may be responsible for business development and another for service delivery. In any case, clear roles and separate work areas will reduce stress and give you a “breather” while doing your work.

5. Thou shalt not count work time as date night. This is a big one. Every couple needs dedicated couple time – not time on the couch watching a movie or time discussing the latest family project, but time to be a couple, to laugh, to date, to experience once another. Keep in mind that your marriage comes first, no matter what, and catering to one another is important to the health of it.

6. Thou shalt not despise the importance of staff meetings. Even though the other person is your spouse, at the office he/she has a definitive role and that role needs to be reported about. Use your meetings to offer updates on projects, goals, sales results and other key metrics so that you are clear about the health and vitality of your business. Also, hopefully the office team includes more than just you and your spouse which makes staff meetings even more imperative. In fact, I recommend that minimally, you hire an office assistant or office manager. This person will help to support you administratively and help to offer moral support for your relationship as well.

7. Thou shalt trust one another. This one should go without saying, but trust is so important. Naturally, you bring trust to the workplace because of your marriage so it may make it easier in working together. When you disagree about a process at work, remember that the foundation of your relationship (at home and at work) is trust. Your partner is always for you and never against you.

If you want to check out more tips for working with your spouse, I shared some in a previous episode of Incredible Factor TV which you can check out here (there’s some overlap, but another good reinforcement of the things you need to do if you want to consider working together):

So, now I want to hear from you. What’s your two cents? Do you work with your spouse? What tips do you have to offer to help those who may be working to find their groove at work?

©2016 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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