5 tips for working with your spouse

5 tips for working with your spouse

Many of you will already know that I am a newlywed.  I married on 25th August 2018 and without sounding like a total cliché, it was the best day of my life.

Hubby and I jetted off to Thailand the following morning for a 2 week honeymoon in Khao Sok, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan (recommendation alert – you must go!).

We arrived home on Sunday 9th September after spending near enough 3 weeks together. We spent the whole time quite literally in our ‘honeymoon period’, exploring new places and discovering a completely different culture. I enjoyed every minute of it and felt we spent some quality time together as husband and wife.

After a 27 hour journey home consisting of 1 ferry and 3 flights, it’s safe to say going back to work on Monday 10th September was rather daunting, especially given I work with (and manage) my new husband…

Hubby (AKA Gregg Crawford) is one of seven Financial Planners within the firm. Since my promotion to Business Development Manager back in June, it means I now manage this team. The role involves regular analysis of performance, regular contact and assisting the Financial Planners with any future business opportunities. A hands on role in any sense, but I certainly took a risk knowing how this could have an impact on my marriage.

Time has passed and I am settling into my role well. I am also surprised to find that Gregg and I have naturally identified small tactics that really help to control our situation. Statistics show that 15%-20% of couples meet at work (you spend most of your time with colleagues after all!) so take a look at some of our tips which might help anyone in a similar position:

Tips

Contrary to popular belief, you can talk work at home. So many people tell us ‘keep work at work and you’ll be fine’, but we found the opposite actually helps. No matter how much you love your job, there will always be the occasional rubbish day. I’ve found going home and chatting to Hubby really helps me, he understands exactly and can always provide me with advice that works. The same applies when I’ve had a good day, I love telling him about my achievements and successes, he knows exactly how hard I work and helps me celebrate. The biggest tip here is to control how long you talk work. A catch up over dinner is fine, but don’t let it take over your whole evening.

In contrast to the first point, we find it more fitting when people tell us to ‘keep home at home’. In our household, deciding what we’re having for tea can sometimes take hours, so this can be really counter-productive whilst in the office. Of course general chat will occur, but when it comes to making decisions regarding our personal life, we try and do this after 5pm.

Understand that each other will have secrets. Okay, not the type of secrets that can ruin marriages, but if you work in a senior position within a firm, you will often be subject to private and confidential information. Gregg and I made an agreement to never probe or ask intrusive questions, that way we will never put one another in an awkward situation.

Wear your imaginary different hats. Yep, it may sound crazy but it actually works. When I have a performance review with Gregg, it can sometimes include some difficult conversations. Before each meeting, I always tell Gregg to ‘put on his hat’ and ‘I’ll put on mine’. It makes it clear that at that point we’re not a married couple, we’re two co-workers having a pro-active meeting, we don’t take things personal and don’t involve our personal life.

It’s okay if you occasionally find yourself talking about work when you shouldn’t. As long as one of you identifies this and reminds the other that it’s family time, it’s okay to make the occasional mistake. When you marry a co-worker, you both take on the responsibility and you both need to work together.

So there you have it, my top tips (I didn’t even use Google for inspiration – it all came from experience!). I’m interested to see how other people manage this situation, so if you have any other tips please send them to j.crawford@informedfinancialplanning.co.uk.