How Do Couples Working Together, Keep It Together?

by Emon Hassan on May 3, 2008

I’ve always thought it was a bad idea. There’s a good chance you might do something that could hurt both work and personal relationship. Can’t jeopardize the two things you love the most, can you? But what do I know. In a recent ‘Best Advice I Ever Got’ feature on Fortune Magazine, Zhang Xin, CEO of SOHO China, said:

The worst advice I ever got was, “Don’t work with your husband [Pan Shiyi]. Marriage and business don’t mix.” You can’t imagine how many people told me this. But it’s such a narrow view of relationships. In our case I think our [real estate] business success springs from our friendship.

If the business fails, well, that puts a strain on the marriage. But what if it succeeds? That can enhance the marriage.

Never thought of it that way. I still think the point I’d made about couples growing outside of a relationship to have a healthy one is valid. But BC’s comment on that post, while she agrees with my view, resonated with me. She said:

Mr BC and I do quite a lot of stuff together but we are very different so there’s acres of ground to see things differently or discuss alternative viewpoints.

Profound! While we both agree that growing separately is important, she sheds light on the fact that growth can also happen in sharing the same passion but having alternative viewpoints. I can’t, however, imagine myself in that kind of relationship because I have issues.

So how have others done it and continue to do it?

Dr. Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry have done it and so have these people.

Would love to know your thoughts. What one thing keeps it together for you?

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