As the dream team behind Ashley & Malone, a boutique agency specializing in branding and website design for wedding professionals and creative entrepreneurs, my husband Dallas and I know a thing or two about taking a great relationship from home to office. We started our little business just over two years ago, but have actually been working together since the day we met in college.
The most exciting (and challenging!) thing about working with the love of my life is the yin and yang quality of our partnership. I’m a total type-A, detail-oriented creative; Dallas is an analytical, easy-going soul. While we don’t always strike the perfect balance, we’ve developed a few go-to tricks for keeping our marriage, home and work life running smoothly – while still having fun together. After years of being asked how we do it, we thought it was time to spread the love!
Here are our top tips for making your relationship work from home to office.
1. Know your strengths (and respect theirs): This statement is as true for a marriage as it is for a business partnership. My obsessive attention to perfection in every detail (I seriously notice when one pixel is out of place on a website) doesn’t always mesh with Dallas’s more holistic and relaxed approach. After some early disagreements, we took the time to sit down and get to the root of the problem – we were stepping on one another’s toes. We decided to play to our strengths and embrace the contrasts that brought us together. For us that meant hiring an assistant for website projects. Instead of me looking over Dallas’s shoulder as he fixes each tiny pixel, now he gets to focus on the big-picture stuff he loves while our awesome assistant lets me be the meticulous stylist our clients deserve. Thank you, marriage gods
2. Space is gold: Just as white space is essential for great design, personal space is crucial for success in both work and love. It’s not typical to spend 24/7 with the same person. Though that kind of closeness can be amazing sometimes, on the regular we’ve found that making time for solo extracurriculars or one-on-one time with friends makes us better partners and better spouses. Whether it’s basketball or mani-pedis, find something that’s completely yours and own it.
3. Make a plan: Sticking to a schedule keeps Dallas and me on the same page. At work, our client calendars are mapped out each week so we both know what’s coming down the pipe. This helps to clarify individual responsibilities, and eliminates the needless conflicts that result from miscommunication. Being the uber-organizer that I am, I also like to have our meals planned out, so that when we come home from work we can enjoy a totally stress-free dinner. Not worrying about what to cook at the end of the day lets us relax and enjoy our precious quality time, off the clock.
4. Break the plan: Adaptability is part of what makes us humans so lovely. Plans change: client deadlines get pushed back and what was supposed to be a smooth ride ends up getting a little bumpy. So even though we try to plan ahead, we’re always ready to sit down, chat things through and come up with a new strategy.
5. Be kind and work hard: We all have good days and bad days, but if we’re both working hard and being nice to one another the awesome always outweighs the meh. Plus kindness and commitment don’t just make us better business partners – they make our marriage stronger. It’s easy to be tough on your partner when you’re having a hard time. But we try to resist the urge to take negative feelings out on one another, and always make sure to treat each other with respect. The occasional Tiffany & Co. box doesn’t hurt, either. 😉
Like all great relationships, marriages and business partnerships take work. Dallas and I are still discovering the joys and challenges of running an expanding business while young and in love. But at the end of the day, I feel crazy lucky that my husband is not just my best friend, but also my partner in crime in a career we both adore! I would love to hear any tips that work for you?
Here’s to love, marriage and gorgeous websites!