Over the years JP & I have ended many date nights with a pint of Publix ice cream & two soup spoons from the deli, on top of one Greenville’s many wonderful parking garages; dreaming about our family & business. (I’m so glad JP’s a cheap date!) JP & I are on a mission together; a mission to become the people & family whom we are called to be. Our marriage, family, & business are all part of this beautiful mission.
So many people have asked us how we mix family & business, but plainly, we don’t think they are two separate things to mix! We believe that in marriage you are already in business together – we have plans to make, resources to manage, dreams to pursue – a business for yourselves. A business for others is simply more of the same! (& since we love marriage, being in business together is just more goodness!)
The truth is that both marriage & business are a lot of WORK! So it’s WORK which we try to separate from rest, not marriage from business! This doesn’t mean that it’s been natural & easy & that we have no boundaries though. No, no, no! Working together is hard & we have to do it intentionally!
What Does It Take?
Trust! Being in business together for someone else has taught us that we have to work together, which comes with deep trust & individual humility. For us this means that we trust each other with the leadership of different parts of our business. Yes, I may have an opinion about social media, but JP has point on that part of our business, so ultimately, I leave the decision to her. But we can’t ignore each others opinions, which is where truth comes in.
Truth! We both care deeply about our business & our clients so if one of us has a strong opinion about something we can’t ignore that! On top of this, we constantly want to be growing & becoming stronger together so we have to reflect with honesty about the good, bad, & ugly! This would be a disaster without love & humility…
Love & Humility! Criticism can hurt, BAD, but ultimately I know that JP is giving me critical feedback in love so that we can grow stronger together. JP needs to speak truth in love to me, & I need to listen with humility, eager to grow from her feedback.
How Do We Do It?
Communicate! Geesh, how often do we hear this one? It takes everything above to keep clear & productive communication open. Without communication we would never grow! There is no silver bullet for perfect communication though, so this has to come with a lot of grace! But one of the best things you can do is not leave communication to chance. We’ve worked hard to create a structure for it!
Structure! Everyone & especially every team needs structure to thrive. Without structure & communication expectations aren’t clear, which nearly always leads to frustration & disappointment. The fundamental piece of our structure is a routine which creates time & space for communicating, making plans, & reflecting on progress. But our routine isn’t only for our business, it’s for our marriage too – for our work.
Boundaries! We don’t see business & marriage as two inseparable things. Since they both affect us they are both always with us. And truly, both are a lot of WORK! So it’s work which we try to separate from rest, not marriage from business. But by setting boundaries on work & rest we dedicate time to pick work up & put it down (physically & hopefully, mentally). Consistent & expected boundaries for work & rest are crucial!
So how do we mix marriage & business? We don’t! We believe they are inseparably mixed & are both HARD & GOOD work!
The good work of both requires trust, truth, love & humility, with strong communication, supporting structure, and clear boundaries. What we DO work very hard to NOT mix is work & rest since both are good, hard, & absolutely worth pursuing together. This truth is a real key to perpetual growth together!