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Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

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Marriage Counseling
Entrepreneurial Couples

Married couples who share ownership, management and responsibility for a business are known as co-entrepreneurial couples or "copreneurs." Co-entrepreneurial ventures are among the fastest growing segment of small business in the United States. This growth is probably due to the fact that couples are looking for ways to promote their career development and yet maintain balance and harmony in their families. It is hard to have two full time absorbing careers in a marriage, and still attend to the marital relationship. One way to build both a career and a marriage is to combine the two.

Some copreneurs start a business together. Others meet each other on the job and begin working together. In still other cases one partner is working for a family business, and when he or she marries, they bring their spouse into the business. In any case working with the one you love can be rewarding and challenging, and requires a special kind of patience and thoughtfulness to make both the marriage and the business successful.

The typical kinds of problems that copreneurs face are those that arise because there are no boundaries between home and work. For example, if the couple has had a particularly trying morning and had an argument before leaving for work, the tension will still be there when they are at the office and handing out work assignments to employees. And on the other end, couples may find that they can talk of nothing but work, even when they are home, and therefore have no time for intimacy or the children. If these problems grow, couples feel they have no privacy at work or at home.


While working together offers the opportunity to get to know your partner better, and a chance to complement each other's strengths, it also presents the couples with problems such as the boundaries between work and home, love and business. Those couples who have successfully maneuvered through these problems use a variety of techniques to keep the conflicts at a minimum. For example, some couples drive to work in separate cars to create the illusion that they are starting fresh when they greet each other at the office. Others, keep work conversations off limits at home, or if they work at home, work conversations cease at 6:00 p.m. Some couples freely involve their children in the family business, even when the children are small, so that the family has more time together, and so that the children become familiar with the family business. Most successful copreneurs take romantic weekends away together, as well as weekends a part. As important as it is to attend to the intimacies of a relationship, it is equally important to attend to personal rejuvenation.

Most importantly, successful copreneurs are good communicators. They talk with each other frequently about any problems that arise. In the intense and emotional environment of a couple owned business, good communication and conflict resolution skills are a must. Couples who need to learn these skills can get help for Family Business Consultants. These are professionals, such as psychologists, who are trained in marriage and family therapy, and who also have a special expertise in working with those issues that rise in a couple-owned or family-owned business. Often problems that have a couple stuck, can be unraveled with professional help.

Dr. Kathy Marshack can help you. She is accepting new clients and has two office locations for your convenience. If you live in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area (or can drive to these locations) please call to set up your first appointment. See Therapy FAQs for more information. Please give us a call at (360) 256-0448 or (503) 222-6678 or email us at info@kmarshack.com.