I am supposed to write a little something about marriage. How do I know this?
My wife told me to.
That’s not the setup for any kind of joke, nor is it a complaint. I am actually blessed to be married to Ann, the Senior Editor for Well Planned Gal’s print and web publications. In a sense, when it comes to writing for this blog, she’s my boss.
Where we find ourselves is not uncommon in many home educating families. Along the way, the family has seen the need for more income or seen an opportunity come their way to develop a business, and suddenly, here they are. Work, school, and family all happen in the same space, among the same people. It can be a trap, and it can be a pleasure.
Sometimes, it’s both.
4 Keys to Work & Marriage
So, what are some of the keys to working with your spouse, whether inside or outside the home?
First: Your marriage is more important than any of the rest of it.
Get that in your head. Whatever businesses you are trying to do as a family, whatever educational efforts you are making as a family, your marriage comes first. That includes whatever efforts your family takes on to strengthen your local church as well. Guard your hearts and attitudes toward your spouse: you did not vow to love, honor, cherish, and make a profit.
Second: Understand each other’s working style.
My beloved is a structured worker. She will put together a schedule, follow it, and get work done. It’s absolutely amazing. I, on the other hand, am as chaotic as a cat in a fish farm. While I definitely need to develop a better structure and discipline myself to follow it, I can produce twice as much in half the time. As long as the mood strikes. If we tried to either work in each other’s style, or tried to force one another to work in our own, we would have strife. Strife that would endanger point one. And if your business requires that one of you constantly be out-of-sync with your work? Maybe you shouldn’t be in that part of life together.
Third: Understand each other’s working responsibilities.
Guess what we have as writers for this blog? Deadlines. While she is supportive of me and my sometime lack of organization, guess what one of her responsibilities to the job is? Helping make sure deadlines are met. When she reminds me to get my work done, I recognize that this is part of her work responsibility. While your husband/wife/family responsibilities shift and adjust with the times, and are often unwritten, you need to clearly define the work responsibilities. It will save you many tears and keep you in mind of point one.
Fourth: Understand each other’s working schedule.
Time. Work always takes time, and so does family. You should start with the assumption that you need family time that is not working-together time, because that’s true. Work out a schedule together about when work happens and when it does not happen. At the end of the work day, clock out, and be a married couple instead of business associates. Leave work at the office, even if the office is the dining room table.
In all, finding a way to work together as a married couple, to work together as a family, in all things can be joyous. It takes planning and understanding, though, and recognizing that our work roles may pull us out of our normal comfort zones as a family.