MOST COUPLES LACK THE STRONG FOUNDATION NEEDED TO PULL OFF WORKING AND PLAYING TOGETHER, BUT IF YOU CAN DO IT, IT CAN DEEPLY ENRICH BOTH RELATIONSHIPS.
In today’s society, it’s not an uncommon scenario for couples to work together. This may include a primary business, a secondary business or even both. This transcends the notion of a traditional family-run business because it doesn’t bring together more than two personalities and a variety pack of multigenerational beliefs, which can be a recipe for dysfunction.
That doesn’t mean every couple can work together simply because they’ve narrowed the playing field — not by a long shot. It takes a lot of preparation and consciousness for couples to be able to run their business and properly blend their private time to play nice with each other. Many people from different generations think working together is a bad idea. I disagree.
My wife and I work together and do so successfully. I know other couples that do. I also see a lot of couples in my practice with major challenges in front of them — all related to living and working under the same banner.
Here are some great ideas for making it work. Naturally, by not doing them it will create the opposite effect, but let’s focus on the positive!
There is a secret to the success of those couples who can navigate work and play
The most successful couples that work well and play well together have certain traits. One is they know who they are. They don’t need to put on airs about themselves. They have clearly defined their own brand within the larger brand as a couple. When one person knows what he possesses, he is able to see that in his partner. I know who I am. I know who you are. I know and understand who we are as a couple. This starts from the strength of “I” and gets even stronger when it becomes about “we.” In order to blend this working relationship into a play relationship, it must start with respect and dovetail back into love. It’s not because we love each other that we work well together; it comes down to respect: respect for each other’s ideas and shared values.
Couples who can play well together have clearly defined deliverables in both their working and play relationships. They each do what they do best and discuss ahead of time those “other things” that must get done so they never feel they’ve gotten stuck with something. The element that destroys the bridge back to playtime is often resentment. This is a tricky one, since many people either people-please and agree to do something they don’t really want to do or over commit and take on too much. Communicating at each point along the way is what ensures the creation of the two healthy worlds of work and play. Remember, how your partner feels about something you need to say is ultimately not your responsibility — provided you deliver it clean and from a loving, respectful place. Being responsible and not creating yourself as a victim are on your side of the fence.
Another crucial component for couples successfully blending work and play is that they share a common “why,” meaning why they’re doing what they do. The stronger the agreed-upon “why,” the greater likelihood for their success. Perhaps it’s to retire early or to travel the world. It may simply be about financial freedom without too many specifics. When two people share a common goal, and desire the same outcome, they’ve officially duplicated themselves in another person. That means if they work 10 hours, it’s really 20. That means when they play 10 hours, it’s also 20. When you both desire the same outcome, you’ve eliminated the need for competition or putting any obstacles in front of yourself or your partner.
My last thought, and a common trait among successful couples that work and play nice together, is that these couples also create the necessary alone time to rejuvenate their own bodies and minds. They understand that work and play take up the vast majority of the day. Add kids into the mix, and that’s even more of a demand on their time. Yet, gym or exercise time, a warm bath or some quiet time to read, meditate or reflect is highly necessary. They also know how to “turn off” work mode to be with each other and, if applicable, their kids. This means an absence of computer time, taking phone calls or reacting every single time your iPhone or BlackBerry goes off. This is especially crucial when you have kids. In truth, your relationship and your kids require strong doses of attention and you being present!