If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.

~ Benjamin Franklin ~

What It Takes to Work Together

May 28th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 2 secs

We work together.

Funny how so many couples can’t work together. They can live together, pay their bills, raise a family, and share their life. But work together? No way!

Why is this? What is it about working together that makes so much tension and creates so much division? Just mention the potential and many couples flatly refuse to consider it. As if working together to earn a living is somehow a step too far.

Now, obviously, many couples do work together happily in all sorts of situations. From franchises to consultancies, and snack bars to stores, some couples manage to juggle everything. But, anecdotally at least, many married partners regard work together as a form of relationship poison.

Ruth and I always thought it would be good to work together doing something. But we never expected we’d be running a vocational rehabilitation agency for over twenty years (We thought we’d be running a café!). But life unfolded differently and we’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot on the way.

With experience, I believe we can share something relevant. Naturally, every couple is different. So factor that in too. But there are some fundamentals that apply to everyone. I’ve come across pie in the sky stuff from junior journalists seemingly told to write something, to people clearly out to sponge a buck. Mostly they follow the theme of how lovey-dovey working together can be. Their comments are so lame they’re laughable. More realistically, years of working together will knock the rosy fluff off anyone’s imaginings. But, it definitely can be done and, with care, it’s a satisfying thing.  So, if doing work together appeals, here are 8 ways to help you succeed by keeping your relationship in one piece:

  1. Flex. Be organized, you might think much needs to be set in stone. But in practice, few things do. Better to be flexible and adapt to given situations. Because if there is one thing that will undermine your love, it’s a rigid mindset. A “my way or the highway” mentality is destructive.
  2. Develop Some Mutual “Rules.” This might seem a bit quaint to some but, when you are with someone 24/7, it’s essential. Understandings like: not debating in front of clients or staff, agreeing to keep procedures, and owning your own tasks are essential.
  3. Work From Your Strengths. In every relationship one will be faster than the other. Accept the imbalance and work from what each of you can do. If you see how both your strengths can be complimentary, then you sidestep the risk of unhealthy competitiveness (which undermines trust, affection, and respect).
  4. Confidence. When earning your crust together confidence in each other is implicit. If you can’t trust each other to the core, you shouldn’t be working together. More importantly, find out first and foremost what it will take to put more trust into your marriage.
  5. Never in Bed. If there is nowhere you can escape from work, not even in your bed, life all too easily blurs together into one thick, sticky porridge of responsibilities. In the interests of intimacy and togetherness, some things should never be said in bed.
  6. Be Understanding. Nobody is a machine. Meaning, sometimes we work harder than at others. Things are guaranteed to go wrong too. Instead of blaming, accusing, and attacking, couples that work together need tolerance and compassion. Even when both partners are struggling, it’s important to communicate without agendas. Understand that some talk needs to be strictly information based for the sake of making an income. While there must also be room to speak personally as a couple. This can definitely be a high-wire act, requiring practice.
  7. Carry On Regardless. Every work situation has its highs and lows. Often, problems and sheer exhaustion can cloud perspectives in even the best relationships. We can get weary, fed up, upset, and regret. But none of it is final, unless we choose it to be. When you work together, having a carry on regardless attitude is the elixir for everything.
  8. Talk Yourselves Silly. Yes, talk everything over. Your cares, triumphs, and tribulations all deserve to be shared. If a couple can do this, then there’s no telling what they can achieve. Better still, talking together rubs off the sharp edges. By tempering your inevitable misunderstandings, talking is a wonderful way to let get all the stuff of life done and, if we want to, let love come through.






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