A sight to behold
We’ve all seen these couples working together at cafes, boutiques, small or big shops, or even in boardrooms. They act like a well-oiled machine. They don’t seem to be talking too much, both are usually doing different activities but they seem to be running the whole show.
This could, in a few cases in India, be running a social foundation together. Or it could be running one of the thousands of startups that we see cropping up across the nation. Couples who work together are a sight to behold, no matter what the business.
Does it work?
Yet, we also see people advising against couples working together. The main argument is that the familiarity breeds contempt in a relationship. The work starts to take precedence over the relationship and it is harmful in the long run. There isn’t a clear winner when it comes to this debate though, and more and more couples are taking on work together. Here are a few things these couples might relate to.
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The extra time you get together
On an average, if you take a regular 8 hours of work every day, people spend about one-third of their lives at work. If you run your own business, this time is going to be much more. If you and your partner work together, however, you don’t miss out that one third. You may not work the same hours or do the same tasks in the office, but working together provides you with a lot of extra time together that most couples don’t get.
Conquering the careers together
Like Claire and Francis Underwood in House of Cards (the off-camera criminal behaviour aside), if you and your partner want to conquer something together, working together might just be the best idea for you two. Couples tend to lose sight of each other’s career goals, or often don’t understand each other’s career goals when they are so far removed from each other’s careers. Working together makes this lack of knowledge disappear. You both know what you want your company or the company that you work for to do, and where you want it to reach. This helps you in avoiding a lot of unnecessary conflict at home.
Couples on a mission
For couples who are on a social mission together, and are trying to run an NGO or an organisation of that sort together, working together is a no-brainer. Their passion for a certain cause and their want for change makes them work together to get things done. Take for example the newly minted Padma Shri Dr Rani Bang and her husband Dr Abhay Bang. The Bangs’ work in public health in the Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra has reduced the infant mortality rates in the area. They have been working together in the field for decades and those who’ve observed them at work have said that they’re possessed by their mission, they work as a unit and you can’t say who did more, because when it comes to work, their contributions are as a unit.
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Many couples who have built businesses together talk about how they felt parental towards the business. For them, if they already had kids, the business was one of the children. Some didn’t have kids but felt fulfilled by the business. For these couples, the efforts that they put in building an empire, the care with which they curate every aspect of it, and the way they felt protective about it’s present and future match the feelings of being a parent.
Humans reproduce not just for the species’ survival, but also the survival of their legacy. For these couples, the business, or the work, the research, the movement is going to be their legacy, and thus they work at it and attach as much importance to it as they would to bringing up a child.
An ally at the workplace
The workplace is an odd construct if you look it sociologically. It’s a group of people who spend almost one third of their lives together, to make money, to find purpose, to crunch numbers, to make a living. Who, in most cases, don’t really know each other for any other reason but because they find themselves getting their pay cheques from the same place. However, because group dynamics and peer behaviour work in different ways, we also find a sense of hostility and competition in the workplace. For couples, having each other running a business means that they instantly have a natural partner at work. Someone who knows their behaviour better than anyone in the office. Someone who will not only work with them more intuitively but who will understand their style without having to go through the ‘getting to know each other’ period.
Keep your eye on the goal and respect each other
Working together can lead to tensions at home at times. Humans aren’t particularly good at compartmentalising and work does spill into private life most of the times. However, the comfort of working with your partner makes the working process even smoother. If you know your work and life boundaries well and keep in mind that your aim is to make the company successful, and respect each other, the entire experience is extremely rewarding.