Here is some advice about working with your spouse in your small business venture. I am sure that you can find a zillion more of these tips on the internet.  But here is advice that my wife Michele and I have created for other married business partner couples.  We have been learning how to be good marriage partners and business partners for the last 28 years – and will continue to learn for the rest of our life. We consider the following advice to be very important to our successful business and marriage. We hope you find it useful too.

Complementary opposites within a greater whole, constantly interacting, depending on each other, and working toward a common goal.
Complementary opposites within a greater whole, constantly interacting, depending on each other, and working toward a common goal.

1. Each Spouse Should Have Their Duties Spelled Out In Detail
Each spouse must know exactly what is expected of them. When working together for so many years, each learns what the strengths and weaknesses of the other is. If a situation comes up that one spouse doesn’t know how to handle, or is uncomfortable dealing with, they must have enough trust in the other spouse to speak up, get help, and work it out together – without hesitation, without harsh judgment, and without criticizing each other.

2. You Must Be Able To Let The Other Spouse Do Their Job
But at the same time, each spouse must realize that it is in their own best interest to help each other do a great job. This is especially true with a family business. Each person brings their special ability to the business. Helping each other find that special ability is also one of the joys of owning a business with your spouse. Helping each other flourish in that job makes the business and relationship grow peacefully, happily, and successfully.

3. Each Spouse Must Strive To Be The Best That They Can Be In Their Duty  Or Function
They must have the desire to be the best they can be – because the family is depending on them to do this. For example, the person that manages all of the websites must constantly show that every effort is being made to make the websites as good as possible, as profitable as possible, as popular as possible, etc. They prove this by staying up-to-date on everything involving website design, taking classes, writing articles, talking to website consultants, keeping track of the website statistics, etc.

4. Major Decisions About The Business Cannot Be Made Without Consulting With The Other Spouse
Even many of the smaller decisions should be discussed or mentioned to the partner.  Each spouse must be made to feel that they are part of the business, and that their thoughts, ideas, and feelings are important. And because we care about each other, the other spouse’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings are important to each of us.

5. Any Disagreements Must Be Ended Quickly
Any heated discussions or disagreements that arise should be considered to be ended after a few minutes. Never go to bed angry over something without discussing it and defusing it. Most disagreements and arguments are not worth all the effort and time that gets wasted on them.

6. Family Time And Business Time Are Compatible
Many of these relationship advice lists that you can find on the internet tell you to keep your family responsibilities completely separate from your business responsibilities. In our case we can’t do that. We don’t want to do that. Our business is our life. Our business mission is our life mission. We also have bills to pay, and mouths to feed. We are able to seamlessly combine our business responsibilities and family responsibilities. We take all of these responsibilities very seriously. In our case the cell phone, the computer, the internet, and our reliance on each other makes this possible.

7. A Business Partnership Is The Same Thing As A Marriage
Finally, the most important thing to remember is that a business partnership is the same thing as a marriage. In order for it to survive and thrive, it needs trust, compromise, honesty, respect, and diplomacy. A sense-of-humor and a bit of playfulness don’t hurt either.

Read more: ‘Married’ to Their Work: How Spouses Take the Business Plunge Together