I Now Pronounce You, Husband and Wife and Co-Workers
I think it’s safe to say that Bryan and I are on the same team. When we got married three years ago in a little white chapel, we both agreed on a few terms: “to have and to hold for richer and poorer, through sickness and health, till death do us part.” But as far as I can recall, “through small business partnership” was not a part of those vows. Until now.
Over the years, we moved too many times, burnt too many meals and lived in an embarrassing number of rental properties. We’ve also had our fair share of fights — over important things and unimportant things. He’s won, I’ve won. And more often than not, we’ve both lost.
When we started talking about our business together a few years back, we would instantly began to fight. This would lead to me turning into a 13-year old teenager who likes to slam doors and both of us would end up walking away from the idea of business altogether. But why would we fight? Didn’t we have the same goal in mind? Didn’t we both want to start a photography business? Yes of course. But you see, I was right. All of the time and Bryan just couldn’t handle this truth. So he would remind me that he was right. The nerve of that man! (As you can see, the fighting was very mature and productive.)
For the first time ever in our marriage, we were not on the same page. We both had separate visions and neither one of use were keen on negotiation. Until we both realized that this is what we were meant to do, no matter who was right or who was wrong.Â We started figuring out that our vision could be shared. That if one of us was wrong, then we were both wrong. It didn’t matter if I was right, it mattered if what we were doing for our business was right. Our fights were no longer a breaking point of the business, but at times a starting point. We slowly figured out that as long as we were fighting we were fighting for our business, not just the title of being right.
Figuring out how to own a business has been comparable to marriage therapy for us. It has taken us about 6 months now to get on the same page. We don’t fight about the business any longer, no insults are issued, no daggers thrown. Instead of fighting, we discuss. Instead of insulting, we encourage. Instead of throwing daggers, we offer suggestions. And guess what we found out? We work together very well. So well that you might not even know that we were husband and wife.