Living and Working Together: 5 Tips for Couples Who Do It!

R & B

So Here’s the disclaimer:  We purchased a Bed and Breakfast Inn Together before Marrying over 24 years ago,  but it hasn’t always been harmonious.  In fact, when we first met, we owned competing Inns in the same Town, Cape May, New Jersey.  Barry would say his inn was better.  I would dispute otherwise.  Over the years, we have owned and operated hotels, restaurants and retail businesses together and have lived to see another day,  in fact, many of them (24 Years Together).  In this article, here are our top 5 tips for couples who work and live together.

  1. State of the Union Marriage Retreat.  Each year on our calendar we schedule an annual, State of our Marriage Retreat.  Objective:  To create an independent and then joint 10, 10 and 10 lists.  (10 things we want to be, have and do).  It’s our way of honouring our individual preferences and supporting joint aspirations and dreams. For example: there’s no way I’m playing bridge and no way Barry will attend every Creativity Retreat. We have also used these retreats to tackle business and life challenges using (Creative Problem Solving) and plan life transitions and next chapters.
  2. Divide and Conquer: It became clear when we purchased our first inn together that we had different ways of doing things.  Our answer was “Divide and Conquer”.  I was in charge for weekend breakfast and Barry was in charge during the weekday.   Regardless of your desire to do everything together, our theory is there has to be one person on point with independent responsibility or you trip over each other.
  3. Have a Code Word: Staff and clients pick up on conflict.  Have a polite code-word that you can use when others are around (staff or employees) to indicate a need for a side conversation when you disagree.  I heard today of one couple,  who simply apply the salutation Mrs. or Mr. where there might be some disagreement on stated protocol.  Barry and I use “Mr. Bucky”. Our beloved, 4 legged friend as a sign for a needed sidebar.
  4. You are each other’s most important customer. This is the tough one Consider each other as your most important customer or executive. If truly you consider your partnership/marriage a priority, treating each other with TISP (Trusted, Important, Special and Pleased) will serve you and your business well.
  5. Remember your Because:  Literally, the very reasons you decided to both work and live together can get lost in the sauce of day to day business and life challenges. Remember your Because of both living and working together.

Rosemary Rein, is an Author and YPO/ Meeting and Leadership/Innovation Facilitator based out of San Francisco, California and Cuenca, Ecuador.  YPO Retreats and Rosemary Rein




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