When people hear that I work with my husband their response is, “how can you do that,” or “poor thing.” Dave and I have no problems working together! We both love our jobs and love our team that we work with. We could not be blessed with a better company to work for. I have worked with my husband, Dave, for over a year now, and aside from some small bumps in the road, we have had no issues. The reason we are so successful is that we have laid down several ground rules. In this article I will spell out how we maintain a healthy balance working as a couple.
One aspect of working with your spouse that becomes difficult is having enough personal space. We drive to work together, we work together during the day, and we come home at night together. Think about it, what do you talk about most with your spouse when you get home from work? You talk about your work days! It is strange to ask each other “what did you do at work today,” or “how was your day” because we already know the answer! When you are constantly together, it can make conversation difficult.
It is extremely important to give each other as much personal space as possible at work. We both go out of our way to leave each other alone as much as possible at work. Sure, we will have the occasional lunch together, or have friendly banter with our team together – but we do go out of our way to give each other space, which is a different interaction than with most co-workers. A positive of us working together, is that we push each other to be better. When my husband and I started working together, we started working harder than we had before.
It is also important, as in any relationship, to have personal space at home. I feel this is intensified if you work with your spouse. One way we give each other personal space is at the gym. We both enjoy exercising regularly, but for the most part we do it separately. It is good to be able to get away.
Keep Outside Issues at the Door
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working with your spouse is not to bring outside issues into the workplace. We have had explosive fights in the car on the way to work and had to come into work with a smile on our faces like nothing is wrong. Having to be around your spouse in a professional manner when you are pissed at them is not an easy task. No matter how mad I am at Dave, as soon as we set foot into the office his role changes from husband to coworker. As soon as we leave for the day and the husband hat goes back on, I can be as pissy with him as I want.
I like to step back and think about my team. How would they react if we argued at work? That would create a REALLY awkward work environment for them. I certainly would not like to work with someone who fought with their spouse at work – therefore I don’t do it. If there is something extremely pressing, we chat about personal matters in a private environment. We will ask each other to come take a walk outside the building if there is something personal that needs to be addressed.
Leave Work at Work
Stop talking about work! Sometimes I find that we are at date night, or simply hanging out together and we talk about work. In the back of my mind I think to myself ‘I am not at work, I don’t want to be talking about this.’ Or ‘I am tired of talking about work!’ My tip, though it is sometimes a struggle, is to not talk about work after work.
It is hard to turn yourself off from working in the first place, but working with your spouse seems to make it much worse. We feed off each others eagerness to work. Dave and I both suffer with ‘one more thing’ syndrome. Sometimes we need to remind each other to take a break and pick up the next day.
At work, you are coworkers- NOTHING ELSE
We are overly conscious to not be affectionate at work. The last thing I would want to see if I was working with a couple is PDA. Work is for work, home is for affection. Treating your spouse just like any other co-worker is important. The best way to know how to treat your spouse at work is to ask yourself “would I do this to another coworker?” If the answer is no, then don’t do it with your spouse. END OF STORY.
A situation that comes up for us a lot is if one of us has to stay late for a meeting. It is easy to be upset with the person that has to stay late. You want to go home and are being hindered by the other person! However, I would never be upset with a co-worker if I had to stay late for them, so I can’t be mad at Dave for it.
It certainly does take work and dedication to work with your spouse. If there is one point I can’t stress enough, is to treat your spouse like a co worker and nothing else in the work place. If you follow the above tips, it should be a breeze.