Six tips on combining work and marriage
It’s not an easy decision, going into business with your partner. After all, we all know how nice it is to get home from work, vent to your other half about what’s been going on in the office and then switch off from the day job until the alarm clock goes again the next day.
Of course, working together brings a whole other level of emotion and pressure into the mix, but it can be really fulfilling – even during lockdown.
When I first started working with my husband, David, it wasn’t just a new experience working together, it was a whole new industry too.
David’s business, Gas Angel, is a gas engineering company, and I hadn’t previously known anything about the sector other than sometimes, I needed my boiler fixing. Funnily enough, it was during a time when I needed my boiler servicing that I first met David on a dating website! Who knew ‘gas engineer’ would be such an exciting proposition for somebody looking for love!
I had worked in the creative agency world for many years and had my own award-winning company that I co-founded with a good friend and colleague, but after having my second child I was feeling jaded with agency life. After months of soul searching, I decided to join David, using my marketing and brand skills to add a new dimension to the business.
When we first started working together it was so exciting. We were completely buzzing, it was a real novelty. We’d stay up late and come up with ideas together and we spent the first couple of months trying to bring those ideas to life – which was great for David because he’s such an ideas person but never had the regular support that encouraged him to focus on the creative and strategic side of the business prior to us joining forces.
However, you can sometimes be a victim of your own success and, as business started to boom, David found he was needed back out on the road again, repairing customers’ boilers, leaving me to work on the strategic and creative side of things.
It was difficult for him leaving this side of work to me, especially as he’d began to really enjoy coming up new ideas and working on the business and not just in it – he just didn’t have the time or capacity to work them up, but I did.
This caused a bit of friction and a good few arguments, so I asked him to trust me to deliver. Life was all consuming, I was so focused on our new baby boy, my then 8-year- old, as well as the business, he felt pushed out of everything. It was really difficult striking that balance.
I was really over-zealous and so focused on the business. But David was more focused on the marriage – he felt that our partnership, our marriage, was the basis for everything working well together – us, the business, our role as parents. I knew then I needed a better balance and he wasn’t keen on me being so work-hungry.
We also found there was a lot of ‘you’re not my boss’ ping-ponging between the two of us. The dynamics were really tricky at first, but we put some rules in place, and started to get into the swing of things.
After just over a year of working together, however, lockdown struck and changed everything. Now, we had the kids at home, we were unable to work from our City Centre office and David spent a lot of time out on the road – leaving me at home with the kids and home-schooling. I became pretty resentful – thinking irrational thoughts like, ‘I didn’t sign up to this’.
Just as David realised that our circumstances before were the resul