Working with (and not killing) your Spouse
Business | 19 June 2012

Working with (and not killing) your Spouse

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When I started freelancing in 2005, never could I have imagined that seven years later I would not only be married to Andy McGowan but that we would be partners running this lil’ design studio. I have technically known Andy since I was in high school, so hopefully that explains the whole “wouldn’t have imagined I’d be married to him” part. (Note: For those of you Northeast Philadelphians out there, you can also imagine my dismay… what a cliché we are! A “Judge guy” married to a “Hubert’s girl!”)

Andy and I decided in October 2011 (only weeks before our upcoming nuptials) that we should give it a try and make this thing legit! We have had our share of interesting and tumultuous moments throughout the past seven months of this live/work/love setup. I have previously posted about working from home, but now I thought I would share some important rules I have created for working with your spouse.

Beth Blinebury & Andy McGowan of Beth Blinebury Design - image by Readyluck

Image Copyright Jacqueline Schlossman/Readyluck

#1 Get separate offices

I can’t stress this one enough! When we started working together, Andy and I were still in our apartment and shared one big office. We also shared the space with 110 lb. Buckus the Bulldog. It was a nice big room, but any working married (or livin’-in-sin) team needs two separate spaces. Our biggest issue was always a disagreement about what music to listen to in the office. Oh and how the fights would ensue… mostly because Andy (being in charge of the speakers) would play Man Man or Ween! To be fair, I enjoy listening to the same few albums over and over again while I am working (which I guess is annoying too).

In January when we began looking for a house, finding a three-bedroom was an absolute must! Now that we are in our new digs, we can “go to work” in the morning in our respective offices, and even close the door as if to say to the other, “Leave me alone because right now I want to kill you.”

And that leads me to the second rule…

#2 Be nice

You wouldn’t think this one would be so tough, but it really is. Your spouse isn’t some annoying coworker you are going to get away from at five or six o’clock. No, he or she might be the person making you dinner in a few hours, so you’ve gotta be nice! I think this is so important since our work space is also our living space. Neither Andy nor I want our home tainted by arguments about our business.

If you need help with this rule, just watch one of my favorite clips from Casino. In this clip, imagine that you are Ace Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) and your subconscious is Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci). Warning: The f-bomb will be dropped.

#3 Stop expecting your spouse to be different “at the office”

I am often overheard saying that people don’t change. I think there is some fundamental truth to that concept, but it doesn’t mean that you are ever going to stop wanting your spouse or partner to do things differently. The key is letting go of the idea that your “at the office” spouse is going to be a different person. You will need to realize that what works for you is probably not going to work for your spouse (and that you can’t be mad at them for that even if you want to be).

#4 Leave

Okay, I’m not suggesting you should pack a bag and go. I’m just sayin’ that you should take a walk (with an adorable bulldog perhaps) or go shopping or go to the gym. Do something on your own out of your home/office so that you can return appreciative that you have not only a great life partner but also a wonderful business partner.

And if you’re lucky like me, you’ll return to a home-cooked meal as well!

Note: Andy proofead this post for me!

(P.S. Beth misspelled proofread. -Ed.)

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