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As an individual who experienced both parents working together, I understand the struggle and the rewards of such a dynamic.  In the literature this dynamic is termed – Copreneurs, this simply means two individuals who are both in a romantic and business relationship.

The copreneurial couple may benefit from such a relationship. For example the couple; will be spending more time together, can understand each other’s work related, have the potential to also grow together in which the perseverance experienced through the business would help them develop in becoming closer on a relational level.

Despite this, shortcomings exist within this dynamic such as; anxiety or depression due to lack of an adequate business plan, in which as a contingency of this the business would be hanging on a thread.       A factor to consider are the arguments, these occur in any relationship. However imagine if you had to work with your spouse/partner. Unless adequately prepared, the couple can find themselves facing a never ending battle over business and every-day life issues which families face both at work and within the household. This would inevitable cause distress on the couple and the children who have the tendency to also have a role within their parents’ business. So the relationship becomes complicated in which there are many factors colluding with each other; business, pleasure, household affairs, romance, children and individual ego amongst others.

Another factor which can arise within such relationships is the confusion of roles which copreneurs take within their business and household. Is the CEO of the business also the CEO of the household? Is there a shift in role or is it a constant role? This could be a cause for concern as there is a possibility that this could create a fertile ground for further arguments and negative emotional escalations within the relationship.

From research which I undertook a few pointers stemmed from the research, which might be useful for copreneurial couples to take into consideration:

  • Take care of your work life balance. Individuals within such a dynamic should try to create and maintain the decision to take a break from the business in order to focus on the family. This benefits both – the business and the family. As time off from work provides individuals a chance to de-stress, recharge one’s energy and one’s creativity.
  • Before engaging in such a dynamic have specific roles for each individual in order for both members to have specific roles and maintain responsibility of the tasks which the entail the role. For example; one partner would be the Manager whilst the other partner would be in charge of Marketing. This also reduces conflict, as this minimizes issues of power regarding an important decision over a particular sector of the business.
  • Once these roles are figured out, set the appropriate time to wear the ‘role’ within work. However one would benefit to disengage with that role once at home in order to de-stress from work and focus on the important people within one’s life – The Family Members. Don’t forget it’s a system, without the family members the business doesn’t work. Thus it would make sense to take care of the core team of the business by being empathic, creating meaningful quality time and enjoying time with each other.

 

– Karl Grech is a counsellor.  He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness.  He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt.