By Karla Downing
Do you work with your husband? Here are my tips on how to make working together work.
Working Together With My Husband
My husband quit his job to start his own business twenty-eight years ago. I was supportive. He was an incredibly hard-working guy, and I would rather have him work that hard for us than for an employer who didn’t value him enough (in my opinion).
One of the things I didn’t think about was the toll it would take on our relationship. We had a difficult marriage that included problems communicating. My husband could be harsh and demanding, and now I had to deal with those attributes in the business too.
The job was in construction in his specialty that he had worked in since he was a teenager. He needed my help in the office with the books and finances. That wasn’t my specialty. I was a therapist and had never planned on being a secretary and a bookkeeper.
Nevertheless, I made adjustments in my job to help him. I worked part-time in my field instead of full time. Then I filled in with whatever he couldn’t do in the office and home. I was literally his helpmate in every area of our lives.
The Hardest Part of Working Together
The hardest part was differentiating our personal relationship from our work relationship. At first, I looked at everything as personal. That meant when we talked on the phone about work and he was short with me, I was upset when he got home. When he spoke to me in a way that felt like he was giving me orders, I struggled with doing what he asked because I didn’t like his tone.
Then I figured out how to let business be business. I could allow him to be businesslike on the phone and just quickly tell me what he needed, like a boss would do with his secretary. When he was demanding, I recognized the pressure he was under. Instead of taking offense, I did what he needed.
How to Make Working Together Work
Work affected our lives in another way. We needed a house with a bigger yard where he could keep his equipment. We chose a house that wasn’t my favorite that worked for the business. I learned to look at the sky when I walked in the backyard instead of at the tools and machines to keep myself from being irritated.
I had to learn to mind my own business in the areas of the company that weren’t my expertise. I could have strong opinions about how I ran the office and the books but not about how he ran the job in the field.
I don’t regret the decision we made to start the business. We did better financially than we would have had my husband worked for someone else. He knows he was successful in his field and in providing for his family and that is important to him.
No matter what we deal with in our marriages, we can figure out how to make it work.
Wife Step: If you work with your husband in a business or any other joint venture, do you need to make adjustments in how you separate it from your personal relationship? What can you do to support your husband in his work to help him succeed as a provider for your family?
Karla is an author, speaker, teacher, marriage and family therapist and founder of ChangeMyRelationship.com. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from dysfunction and scriptural misunderstanding. Her messages provide practical solutions based on biblical truths that bring balance and clarity to life and relationship issues.