In January 2016 he resigned his last job and began working with me in the coaching and consulting company I have run for the past 13 years. It was a big step, one that we had noodled on and off for a long time and then happened very suddenly when he came home one day announcing he had tendered his resignation.
Our life now looks completely different than it did before: we’ve essentially switched roles. Where I used to be the primary caretaker for the kids at home, now that role falls to my husband with me in a support role. He has a very full life, because he also runs the operational side of our coaching and consulting business. When a kid is sick from school, he works from home. Otherwise, we work side-by-side in our lovely office 15 min from home in our small town’s bustling commercial district.
Sure, there is a lot of risk involved. I would be lying if I told you I did not feel increased pressure now, since the company needs to provide for our whole livelihood. That feels weighty.
Over the past year, the upside of this lifestyle has been so worth it that we are incredibly invested in making it viable for us on a continual basis. I often find myself saying that this has to work out, because I can’t imagine a better lifestyle for us and our children than this. Having time with their daddy, who used to be at his 24×7 job most of their waking time, is priceless for my kids. I see them flourishing, and though they test us at every turn as all kids do, we are more equipped to deal with whatever comes our way than ever before. We’re a team, in every sense of the word.
This transition actually began a few years ago, when we contemplated a move to Southern California for a job my husband was pursuing. At the time, it was an exciting possibility to think of re-inventing ourselves and our lives in a new place. However, after visiting the city and trying to imagine ourselves living there, it became clear that I was more invested in my career and business where it stood than he was in his career.
Though we could have made the move, and I originally went into coaching thinking that it would be a mobile career that I could take with me if we ever chose to move to support my husband’s career, it became clear that my business would be impacted by a move and that we were not up for that…not to mention the impact the move would have on the kids leaving a school and town they loved.
It was a trying time as we navigated my husband’s career transition; in fact, it took another job for my husband and another year and a half before we finally decided to start working together. I have great respect for my husband for going through the process he did to determine that he would be willing to support his wife in her business. Now, the business is truly ours; we talk about “our company” and “our office” and “our team.” Looking at our website, I’m realizing an update is needed to reflect t these important semantic and energetic changes.
Before his arrival, I had gotten to a point that continuing to run the company by myself felt daunting. I considered throwing in the towel in the months and weeks before he decided to join me. Although I love coaching, the administration of a multi-practitioner business is not for the faint of heart. I was burned out and exhausted, and yet still had an unshakable sense that this work was what I was meant for. It was a confusing time, until my husband decided to step in.
Last summer, about six months into working with my husband, one of my friends who sees me twice a year said that I was glowing, and seemed so happy. It made me step back and think. Yes, I am happy, in a way that I haven’t been before. I feel like a knot that has been tied for a long time has finally been unraveled. That is because of my partnership with my husband, both at work and at home.
Working with your spouse is not for everyone. For us, it works well. I have had other people work with me in my office before, and working with my husband is by far the best.
Why? Several reasons:
If you are considering working with your spouse, here are a few guidelines to increase your chances of it being a successful endeavor based on what we’ve learned:
We are in the process of making some strategic moves in our business to grow the impact of our work, and to serve more people so that we can help people build and enjoy thriving careers. I feel incredibly grateful to have my husband by my side as we do this.