Should I Work with My Spouse?
MAN SEEKING WIFE/BUSINESS PARTNER
Successful businessman seeks life partner to share my entrepreneurial dream. Must believe in me and be supportive of the long hours required of a start-up venture. Nothing is too much for you in that you are comfortable juggling the many demands of an entrepreneur’s wife … household, childcare, social obligations and working late hours at the office to meet deadlines.
Opportunity to develop your own very satisfying career as you help me build my business. Your rewards are financial security, the opportunity to be part of something big, and the chance to work side-by-side with your husband. At work, you are my hard-working right-hand person. At home, you are the loving support that makes the long hours worthwhile.
WOMAN SEEKING HUSBAND/BUSINESS PARTNER
Career-minded, college-educated woman with entrepreneurial spirit, tired of facing the “glass ceiling” of corporate life, seeks like-minded, college-educated man to share love and business partnership in a start-up venture.
Must believe in egalitarian relationships, sharing fully in the household maintenance as well as sharing equally in the ownership, management and responsibility of our joint business venture. Even though you possess creativity and leadership skills that you use to help me create the “American Dream,” your ego is not bruised by my ability to make decisions and take charge.
At work, you are dedicated, aggressive and single-minded in your pursuit of success for our business. At home, you relax and become playful because you are a loving, sensitive, communicative man who adores me and takes the time to get to know our children.
The “personal ads” I have written above are, of course, tongue-in-cheek. Yet they represent a classic problem that entrepreneurial husbands and wives bring to their partnership. Each spouse has a very different concept of what he or she would like in a business and marital partner.
Because their expectations are so radically different, husbands and wives become confused and frustrated with a partner who they love. They wonder why they ever asked the other to work with them. Sometimes they wonder even if they should remain married.
Balancing the Competing Demands of Home and Work
As more and more couples consider entrepreneurship, it becomes painfully apparent that they are unprepared for the stress business collaboration will cause their personal relationship.
Many career-minded husbands and wives have already achieved some success in the work world before embarking on their own venture. Likewise, they may feel that their personal relationship is solid and healthy and capable of taking on the added strain of working together.
And yet, few of these couples discuss the ramifications of working together before starting a new business venture. They are totally unprepared for the blurring of boundaries and turf when a spouse becomes one’s business partner. Clarifying the work and home expectations of each spouse and business partner should be the first thing that any entrepreneurial couple does, even before spending a cent on letterhead or signing the bank loan.
Marshack, K. (2013). Should I Work with My Spouse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 8, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/should-i-work-with-my-spouse/