The Invisible Partnership survey, conducted by Louise Woodbury and William de Ora as research for their book The Invisible Partnership: How to Work with Your Spouse Without Getting Divorced, found that 82 percent of couples working together discuss most of their business issues in the car either going to or coming home from work. A further 71 percent admitted that they had discussed work during meal times and over half said they held these during their holidays. Over one third admitted they allowed business talks to happen while they were in bed.
This amount of crossover is not always such a bad thing, according to Ms Woodbury.
“People are commonly advised to keep home and work life separate. From our perspective this doesn’t work. You each end up suppressing your feelings, never resolving issues, like a volcano waiting to erupt, and this then becomes your “normal” way of operating,” Ms Woodbury said.
“One of easiest traps to fall into is wrongly believing that the rules for marriage will work for the business, and vice versa. Most life partners get this mixed up. Something else life partners working together should keep in mind is that the “seven year reality check” often becomes a three year reality check, simply because of the amount of time spent together, it’s a 24/7, joined-at-the-hip relationship,” added Ms Woodbury.
While researching for their book, Woodbury and de Ora found that women working with their partner were not working to their strengths. Instead they are expected to be anything from the glorified secretary to the ‘”Jill of All Trades”.
Too much domination or compromise by a single party is harmful to future relationships, both professional and personal, says Mr de Ora.
“In this situation, not only does the working relationship suffer, but so too does the success of the business. It can only lead to frustration and resentment.”