How to keep work and play separate
People who are married to their business partner have added difficulty in separating work from home. Business talk and personal talk can blend; both occurring at all hours of the day. For many couples, the main question is when does work stop and the relationship start?
This type of blend in the marriage can have its ups and downs.
I work with a great deal of couples that co-own or co-operate businesses. The relationships with problems often have a common thread … an unbalanced relationship.
Work can be consuming and in high demand, thus creating no time for the relationship. Couples often report that the relationship suffers and “finds it’s way in … when there is time.”
Why not have your cake and eat it, too? You can find a healthy balance where your career and relationship are both successful. Here are some ways to help keep the balance:
- Make your relationship a priority. Keeping your relationship and business successful is quite simple. Put a time frame on work. Set up a few times when you two are “off the clock.” This is the time you will no longer discuss work.Set aside time for the two of you to enjoy one another, to relax and connect. You get to now focus on the relationship and it can be a priority.
- Create strong boundaries. When you are working, find respectful ways to discuss stressful situations. Because you are in a relationship, you might react or respond differently than speaking to a co-worker. Set up boundaries in the relationship. If you are working, make it about work. Don’t take your partner’s stress personal.
- Talk, Talk, Talk. As a relationship therapist, I can’t emphasize enough about the importance of communication. Work requires one type of communication and relationships require another. Communicate with your partner how you feel and what might bother you. Let him in and teach him/her what you need.
- Couples Time. Set up a consistent date time once a week … where work isn’t allowed to come in to the conversation. No matter how bad you want to talk about work, put it aside until you two are “on the clock.”
- Use your resources. Many couples share their work day with their partner. But you don’t have this leisure. He/She already knows. You can’t vent about your co-worker to your partner. Go to a respected friend to talk about your stress and to vent, or get couples counseling to help you two handle the stress.
- Watch for Team Work. Notice how you two work as a team and support one another throughout the day. Provide feedback to your partner and tell him how much you appreciate his hard work. Pay attention to how you two make the business successful.
Still need help coping with your stress? Check out this article on how to decrease stress and anxiety.
Thank you for reading “Married to My Business Partner.” If you have tips on how to handle the dynamic, share your thoughts!
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653