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Why Running a Business With Your Spouse Can Be Tough

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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

Marriage is a wave of ups and downs. Some days are great, and you feel nothing but genuine love for your spouse. Other days, you just want to be left alone. 

Marriage is a wave of ups and downs. Some days are great, and you feel nothing but genuine love for your spouse. Other days, you just want to be left alone. 

If you and your spouse decide to start a business together, it adds a complex layer to your business and marriage, and sometimes, for the worse. 

If you’re not entirely sure what challenges come from running a business with your spouse, take a look at several of the reasons below on why running a business with your spouse can be tough.

Ownership

When you’re married, there’s a certain expectation that most things you own will be a co-ownership between you and your spouse. This can be things like a car, house, a pet, or your business. As long as you stay married, there isn’t too much of an issue. 

However, should you ever get a divorce, ownership can get murky. For starters, you may want to change your surname back to your original one. Normally, this isn’t too much of a hassle, but it could mean having to adjust some of the legal documents you signed when you started your business. Not the end of the world, but should you forget, it can cause some problems. 

For example, if your business is in your old name, you may lose some legal ownership rights. You have to take careful precautions to ensure your business is in your legal name to avoid this scenario.

Another aspect of business ownership is what to do with the business should you separate. It can be a nightmare to try and keep it going, so you may want to sell it or try to buy out your ex-spouse’s share.

Duties

Dividing the work and defining specific roles can feel awkward. In a more traditional business setting, you have a clear hierarchy of who is the boss and your specific job title. If it’s a joint partnership with your spouse, it’s not always clear who does what or gets to make final decisions.

For example, when deciding on buying new equipment for your business, and you and your spouse can’t agree on a vendor, who gets to make the final call? If no decision is made, that can hurt your business. 

Trust plays a crucial role in dividing up duties. Sure, you may trust your spouse in your everyday lives, but trust takes on a different meaning in business. You have to trust your spouse will carry out the responsibilities you agreed to keep the business going. 

If someone makes a decision without the other’s consent and things don’t turn out well, that could hurt your business and your relationship. You lose that sense of trust, which has devastating consequences.

It’s best to define you and your spouse’s specific roles and duties early on. Assign duties based on your skill sets. When it comes to making important decisions, do them together. Be reasonable and find common ground if you disagree on something. 

Separating business from pleasure

You may remember a time when you thought it would be a good idea to have a class with all of your best friends because it would be a blast. Unfortunately, what you may not have realized is how unfocused you’d be and how often you would waste time. 

Running a business with your spouse can feel like that at times. You may want to spend more time hanging out and enjoying each other’s company than doing work. This approach is a problem because nothing will get done.

Another problem arises when your work bleeds into your home life. Generally, you’re probably used to not seeing coworkers 24/7, so you get a break from them. This isn’t the case when your coworker is your spouse. 

The best course of action you can take is to set business hours and agree to not talk about business during your off-hours. Couples should also spend some time apart every now and then. 

Being married can be tough. Running a business can be tough. All in all, it’s a tough situation to be in. 

Should you run a business with your spouse, always remember the love between the two of you. Remember that your love is far more important than the business.