Top 3 Rules of Engagement for the Domestic Partner/Work Partner Dream Teams

01/09/2017 12:41 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2017

Top 3 Rules of Engagement for the Domestic Partner/Work Partner Dream Teams

Of all of the titles I have, and hats I wear, the one that gets me most excited each morning is the title “entrepreneur.” I like to create things and grow things. Pouring my passion and energy into my business makes me feel alive. My business lives and breathes because I feed and nurture it while carefully crafting the culture, style, and innovations that have put my company on the map. I love what I do, so to me, doing these things in a partnership with my favorite person (my spouse) seems like a no-brainer!

While owning or running a business with your spouse is not on everybody’s to-do list, it was on my list long before I was married. The power of sharing a life vision and work vision with the same person has always spoken to me. Doing it well is an art, and I will be a lifetime student in perfecting my vision of its possibility. Here are three rules that will ignite harmony if you are doing the double duty dual partnership like we are.

Enjoying Amsterdam on a long weekend
Enjoying Amsterdam on a long weekend

Divide and Conquer

Outlining a clear demarcation in roles and responsibilities determined by each partner’s strengths and talents is a must. Dig deep to figure out what those strengths are, and create a job description for each partner that feeds those strengths. Try to divvy up responsibilities based on who is better equipped to handle them. Find the areas of shared weaknesses, and figure out what resources you need to ensure those weaknesses aren’t a liability. Try to minimize overlap in responsibilities while maximizing areas of the business that each partner can truly own.

Bring Work Home- But Only on Wednesdays

We can’t possibly all agree on the same rules of engagement when it comes to work/life balance, and bringing the lap top to bed at night. For many of us, work IS our passion. If that’s the case, what’s wrong with bringing it home? The key here is to figure out what your collective boundaries are, agree to them with your dual partner, and honor the agreement. In my dual partnership, we minimize work talk at home in the evenings and weekends, but if it comes naturally and we are both happy to talk about work, we do. If one of us doesn’t want to talk about it, we tell the other, and that person backs off, no questions asked. One strategy that has helped us keep a balance is going out to eat every Wednesday night with the goal to discuss what’s going on in the business. Sometimes we have a lot to talk about, and sometimes we don’t, but it’s nice having dedicated time to talk each week in a relaxed atmosphere. By default, there is less work stuff to talk about after hours every other night of the week. Dual partnerships have perks- so why not enjoy some Wednesday night cocktails and business talk followed by pillow talk at home?

Space and Respect

Lets face it, working together and living together limits the space you have from your spouse which can potentially strain a marriage or work relationship. Be conscious of how you spend your time away from each other, and make sure that that time apart is honored. Support what the other chooses to do when you aren’t around. Encourage the boys trip/girls trip, and allow your partner the space they need to pursue aspects of life where you are NOT a partner to them. Do they have a charity they like working with that makes them feel fulfilled? Do what you can to help your partner find time during the week to work with that charity. Do they love traveling around to see their favorite band for a week in the summer? Get the dates on the calendar and buy the tickets for them! Both individuals and the partnership will be better for it.

A harmonious dual partnership can be amazingly fulfilling if you set standards and boundaries that support both individuals while protecting the partnerships. When the dual partnership is at its best, relationships with employees, clients, and vendors thrive. While these techniques might not work for everyone, they do for us! Cheers to the brave men and women engaged in these dynamic relationships! What works for you? How do you navigate your dual partnership?

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