“So…you work with your husband?”

If that’s not a loaded question I don’t know what is. Usually when I tell people I work with my husband they look at me with this half quizzical look on their face – as if they are not sure to be excited or scared for me.

It’s quite comical really.  Usually what comes next is “So….how’s that going?” Taking a slight step backwards as if they don’t quite know what to expect.

And I understand the reaction.  Relationships are tough and marriage takes a ton of work.  Who in their right mind would want to work with their spouse?

Right at this very moment I am over here, hands raised over my head, waving them around like a lunatic. ME. ME. ME.

Over the years, working alongside my husband has become something I really enjoy doing (For the most part, because let’s be honest, there are days we both want to quit.)

However, like any working relationship it has taken time to figure out the best fit and a rhythm to our work and relationship.

Back when we ran our first company together Brian ran the overall company and I strictly worked in the back office, managing and training our office staff and running point on our marketing and HR departments.  It was fairly straightforward. He told me what was needed and I made it happen.

Brian has always been a visionary and High D driven leader and I have always been the detailed part of our relationship. He shares the visions and dreams and I serve to help bring us back to reality with the details that need to be covered first.

And we have thrived that way for a long time. But over the course of a few years, with more life and business experience under my belt, something had shifted and changed in me.  I slowly realized I am not happy just being in the back office anymore.  Leading has gotten into my blood.

When I started my company Bear Creek in June 2016 I was in charge and found I really loved the role of CEO and calling the shots.  However, when we decided to bring Brian on board later that year to run the construction division we found ourselves naturally reverting back to our original roles from our previous company.

Unfortunately it didn’t take long to realize the old way was not going to work anymore and that we needed to make a shift for the sake of our company and for our marriage. Somehow we needed to come to a new understanding of our roles if we were going to make this work.

Here are 3 ways we did that:

  1. Regular meeting times: When you work with your husband it is easy to assume that because your married that you can talk about work at any point and time.  Brian and I set a specific time to meet each week to talk through work related decisions, direction and issues.  This insures that the things we need to work through and decide on get done in a timely manner without getting lost in the shuffle of life.
  2. Clearly defined roles: Taking time to define your individual roles within your business will save a lot of headaches.  Instead of things getting missed or clashing continually over who does what, defined roles allow you to get work done and things to run much more smoothly.
  3. Leave work at work: I’ll be the first to admit that this is not easy but it is possible.  While I love our business, in all honesty, I don’t really want to talk about it ALL of the time.  In particular once we arrive home for the day we both need to be able to unplug from work and be a family.  Both of us have to work to not stay in “work mode” and keep hashing through ideas or issues once we get home.  Our families need us to be present and we need to be present for one another outside of work.

Today we are Co-CEO’s of Bear Creek and have worked to clearly define our roles around the knowledge that in this season we are both leading in our respective areas.  It might be a bit unorthadox but it works for us, allowing us to operate in our own unique gifts and talents in leading this company.

Do you work with your spouse? What ways have you found that allow you to work well together?