Working with Your Spouse: How Close Is Too Close?
If one goes by conventional wisdom, then working with your spouse in the same organisation is not a good idea. Every relationship requires breathing time and being together 24*7 is considered a little too close for comfort. However, this trend seems to be changing. In light of 21st century relationships getting affected by erratic work timings, most often a couple that follows a similar work routine survives into ripe old age. Even though some companies or sectors do not allow couples to work within the same departments, some others like healthcare, education, media and IT, are increasingly encouraging couple co-workers. But how fine a line can a couple stay away from and what does working together do to the relationship? Let's take a closer look.
A few benefits of sharing office life:
- A heightened sense of accomplishment when the couple works together.
- If he or she is your business partner, then it becomes easy to trust him or her implicitly in business.
- It also becomes easier to handle children emergencies. For example, if you and your spouse work in the same organisation, then it becomes easier to figure out who is supposed to handle the emergency phonecall at school.
- Working together may keep you well motivated on the track, by bringing the best in both of you. It is often seen that people tend to find work more motivating when their partner encourages their work actions. Another benefit arises due to this - the partners understand each other's work pressure. This enables them to fight less, and have more realistic expectations from each other's time and attention.
However, a couple that works together is not without challenges. For instance, the dinner time conversations may be about work, work and more work. If the couple doesn't draw a line that separates the can-discuss to the must-never-discuss points, then this could lead to gray areas in the relationship that cause fights often. Further, the couple must be mature enough to deal with situations such as only one of the two getting a promotion, only on of the two being selected for an important project, and so on. Professional competitiveness can be handled in an efficient way only if both the partners are mature enough to handle the aspect of working in the same organisation.
Thus, it becomes important to set the rules straight.
- Do not treat the decision to work together lightly. Join the same company, or start the same business only if both of you have planned it mutually and not because other options didn’t work out in your favour.
- Make sure that you understand that there will be competition. If you or your partner will respond to competitiveness with jealousy, then you're in for a hard time.
- Never get stuck in gender roles if you are working with your spouse. Be it office or home, start with a clean sheet of paper.
- Never involve professional feelings in your personal life and vice versa. Schedule long weekends with zero work talk.
- Decide priorities between work and personal life.
- Meet a relationship counsellor if you think you need somebody to remind you that your marriage is a priority.
To wrap it all in brief, we strongly believe that work is just another vehicle en route to bigger things. In actuality, a healthy mind-life balance is about being a better and more aware individual. This balance can only be gained through careful sizing up of your personal and professional preferences. Once you achieve a clear line of thought, you will find it easier to participate in a mature relationship, which is not harmed by too much proximity to your loved one.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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