October 3, 2017

I have a very special surprise for you today, my very first guest blogger! One of my favorite bloggers, Audrey from Life as Louise,ย contacted me a while ago to ask if I wanted to do a collaboration with her about marriage. We have so many things in common – from our love of Harry Potter and reading to even the length of time we have been married.

But we are also so different! Audrey recently made the decision to work with her husband at his company. They are together 24/7. By contrast, I am not allowed to know what Nick does all day. I go months without seeing or sometimes even talking to Nick. This past year has been hard for us because we have not seen each other a lot. But I know that Audrey has her own struggles owning a business with her husband.

So, we each interviewed each other to find out what makes our marriage work and to see what it’s like to live such a different life from our on. That’s one thing I love about blogging – the ability to learn from people who are so differeny from me. Check out what she has to say about living and working with her spouse:

Hello Finding Ithaka readers!
My name is Audrey and I lead a totally different life than our beloved Carolann! From location (she’s a Pacific princess and I’m a Midwest maiden) to occupation (freelance writer vs. marketing & sales director), we are extremely polar! Today we thought it’d be fun to answer some questions about our unique marriages!

I’ve been married for four years. I started dating Kyle 10 years ago (this month!) and he’s been with me through school graduations and long trips abroad. Similarly, I’ve seen him through many big life moments, including starting a company in 2012. When I graduated college I entered the work force as an administrative assistant, then went to work for an appraisal company as a writer for 3 years. At the beginning of 2017 Kyle offered me a marketing/sales job at the company he founded & obviously I accepted!

So now we work together and see each other all day long. This career change has dramatically affected our marriage. Carolann threw some questions my way about our marriage and relationship.

I feel like I am always reinventing myself, and taking the leap to work with your husband was a huge change for you, too. So in that way, I feel like I can relate to you.ย How has your relationship changed/grown since you started working together? What do you like about working with your husband?
When we started working together I expected there to be a shift in our relationship. My husband has put so much work into his company and I’ve been a front row witness to his stress and success- but being a part of it is so special. After a few months of working together I admitted to Kyle that I now understood the stress he’s taken on day in and out. Finally I’m able to shoulder a little of that for him. He does a lot of the networking and elbow rubbing and designing and I handle the sales and finances and marketing. We work together a lot and I loving seeing a project come to fruition- especially when we’ve both had a major hand in it.

How do you balance work and home life? Do you leave work at work? Nick can’t talk about what he does at work, so I am intrigued by someone who sees what their husband does all day.
I wish we could leave work at work, ha. It follows us home, keeps us tied down on the weekends, and even goes on vacation with us. Owning a business is tough. We technically have an “off season”, but there’s always something to do. It’s very difficult for both of us to unplug. That said, the fact that we carry the same (professional) burden has actually brought us closer together.

How do you balance each other out at work and home? Are there certain things that you do and certain things that he does?
Kyle and I are total opposites. I am the organized one and he is the creatively distracted one. I ensure we have time with friends, food in the fridge, and scheduled doctor appointments (semi-)regularly while he reminds me that downtime is my friend, our home is our haven, and sometimes money needs to be spent on frivolous things. Seriously, guys- Total. Opposites.
At work I am able to produce an old invoice from 15 months ago in a matter of seconds and Kyle can talk down a frustrated/confused/overwhelmed customer in a short phone call. Chances are the other spouse would fail miserably at these tasks.

Carolann and I wanted to tackle a few of the same questions, too. Since we both have different lives and men whom we love, some of our answers came out pretty differently! That said, we agreed on a few things, too!

When you’re together, how do you and your husband intentionally spend quality time with one another?
This has been the topic of a few arguments. My #1 love language is quality time and I do not see the time spent at work as “quality.” Kyle, on the other hand, does. We’ve had to work on balance with this one. We usually eat together at the table, talk about our day outside of work, and then he goes off to wind down with some TV and I crack open a book or do some cleaning. On the weekend we like to wake up at our own pace, go out for brunch or breakfast, and spend a nice afternoon driving around on backroads!

What are your favorite qualities about your husband and how do those qualities contribute to your unique relationship?
Hands down, my favorite quality about Kyle is his confidence. He really enjoys being good at things, haha! Failure is something that motivates him professionally and personally. I think it pushes him to be the best he can be with his customers AND with his wife. He does his best to try new creative approaches, zero in on issues, and correct the problem. He does this at work and at home.

What’s the best marriage advice you can offer? What’s the worst marriage advice you’ve ever been given?
My best marriage advice is: Choose one another every single day. I honestly believe we’ve given the choice at least once a day in some way, shape, or form. Also, have dinner together at the table (without phones!) as often as possible.
Worst advice? Don’t go to bed angry. I feel like people either love or hate this advice. We see each other 24/7 and sometimes one of us (or both) isn’t in the mood to reconcile at 11:34pm. You can’t live in harmony all the time and forced feelings (or forgiveness) is not going to solve your core problem.

Thank you so much Carolann for doing this blog swap with me!! And be sure to check out Life as Louise today to read my interview with Carolann!

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21 responses to “Guest Post from Life as Louise: On Combining Married Life & Work Life”

  1. This was so much fun to read! I honestly can’t imagine spending every waking moment with my husband both at work and home, so I really admire those that though. I love that Louise and her husband both make a conscious effort to have dinner together at a table without phones. It’s amazing how distracted we get as soon as some electronic device comes out!

    • Audrey says:

      We’ve had to work at the 24/7 seeing each other thing. We know that we can’t be afraid to say (or hear), “I love you very much, but I’d like to spend the next hour/afternoon/day alone.” ๐Ÿ™‚ We definitely pay attention to the need for silence and isolation. Haha!

  2. Amanda says:

    Love the advice! We do go to bed angry sometimes. I think most people do, honestly. I think it would be hard to work 24/7 with jordan, but you guys seem to balance each other really well!

    • Audrey says:

      Thanks, Amanda! ๐Ÿ™‚ Working together has had its challenges, but mostly we’ve just gotten better at communicating our needs like, “I need to be alone for the afternoon” or “I need to not talk about work right now.” We also made the agreement from the start that if things didn’t work, I’d go find a new job because our marriage comes first ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Loved this! I’ve always been so intrigued by your business and how you work together, so thanks for sharing!

    You and I are so alike and Jerry and Kyle are so alike too, it seems. I’m the organized one who keeps our household running. I am a little high strung, while Jerry is the one who has to remind me to relax and spend money on fun things instead of worrying and stressing all the time.

    • Audrey says:

      I told K that my description of us makes it sound like he’s the introvert and I’m the extrovert, but it’s actually the opposite. Hahaha! But yes- I try SO hard to schedule all our time and Kyle has to tell me to chill ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Carly says:

    This was a really fun prompt to read! I’ve always said I wish my husband and I could work together, so it was interesting to hear how it works out for people who actually do work together!

    • Audrey says:

      Thanks, Carly! My grandparents were a husband-wife team and when I announced my career change at the start of the year they were the only ones 100% supportive and not worried at all. Even I was a little nervous ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kyle and I couldn’t have worked together 8 years ago- our personalities wouldn’t have worked. After much dating and 4 years of marriage we’ve learned how to be a better team ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. YESSSS to the don’t go to bed angry advice…Everything is better after some good sleep! And who wants to talk about big issues at midnight?

    • Audrey says:

      It used to REALLY bother me that Kyle could fall asleep right after an argument. Now I’m glad we do it. Everything is just better and clearer for us in the morning light!

  6. I think it is healthy for our relationship to have some time that is not together, but I do definitely miss my husband a lot during the day. I love days that he is working from home.

    • Audrey says:

      I completely agree with you, Sara! In an 8 hour day we’re typically together about 5 hours between the errands and different work areas. And we’re both very appreciative of having alone time in the evenings when we need it ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Nadine says:

    My husband and I have worked on some side stuff together and we have butt heads a few times, so I don’t think working together 24/7 would be the best thing for our relationship. I think it is awesome that you guys make it work though!!! I think it would be really cool to have the same passion for the career aspect of your lives. Everything you do for work is done together with the same goal. I feel like anytime I do something for work, it takes away from family. Chris and I do very, very different things that take completely different mind sets. I completely agree with the don’t go to bed angry advice. There are many times I am so irritated with something that was said or done…and when i wake up many hours later…I don’t understand why I was so mad before. It was no big deal.

    • Audrey says:

      We worked together a bit when we were younger and it 100% didn’t work out. I’m a stubborn asshole so I’ve had to tame that down a bit and not sass-off when I get a task I hate, lol. It’s taken some practice ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Rachel G says:

    When Angel works as a nurse, I don’t know much about his work at all and can’t relate to the 12-hours he’d spend in a day on the hospital floor. We also couldn’t contact each other during the work day. When we lived in China, we worked at the same school and had desks back-to-back in the office, and it was SO fun. I think the simple fact that we got to work together was one of the coolest things about living in China. Now we’re actually working towards hopefully being able to work together again in our own business, since we already learned how much we like the lifestyle.

    • Audrey says:

      Oooh, I hope you guys get to work together again soon, Rachel! That’s awesome!
      We worked together when I was in my teens and K was in his early twenties and it did NOT got well for us. Kyle has since learned how to manage properly and I’ve become better at being a team player ๐Ÿ™‚ Lol

  9. Sarah says:

    Ooh this was really fun to read and a lovely intro to a new blog! I totally agree on that final bit of advice on going to bed angry – people definitely seem to be in either one camp or the other with it, but I agree with you Louise!

    • Audrey says:

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m curious to be a fly on the wall for couples that choose to work it out before falling asleep- I would just get so so fed up and grumpy!

  10. Julie Hood says:

    Dinner at the table without phones is KEYYY. And these are such fun answers, Audrey! I would have had the same dilemma as you since I love quality time (and work wouldn’t count in my book) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Audrey says:

      I love having dinner around the table even though we eat lunch together, too! Ha! I like to think that we’re practicing for being empty-nesters someday in the very distant future. Hahaha ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Chelsea says:

    awww yay loved hearing more insight about how it’s working with working together, audrey!

    that sounds hard about not feeling the same ‘quality of time’ definition while at work but glad you are aware of it and making it work.

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