10 Questions to Enrich the Career Conversation with your Spouse

Enrich the Career Conversation with your Spouse - Maroon Oak
Sometimes a simple conversation can lead to deeper discussions. Get started with this short, fun Exercise to put your career relationship in perspective.Returning to a Career after a break takes skills, preparation, info, but it also needs the mindset first. As Husbands and Partners, the mantle to help women find their way to the workplace lies on your shoulders as much.A place in Every Woman's heart and career.

The most important career decision you’ll make is who your life partner is.

Sheryl Sandberg

As Life partners, the men in our life definitely have a pivotal role to play in our careers. A good supportive spouse tides you through the tough times, watches your back, chips in with the house responsibilities and applauds at your big or small achievements.

In the morning rush, as you part ways heading off to your respective jobs, there are shared responsibilities, frantic texts, unfinished conversations and oftentimes maybe no interaction.

In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to come back to a clean home, well fed kids and an offer of a back massage. Nevertheless, the few hours apart do give partners a breather to reconnect on new terms.

But what happens when you don’t go your separate ways and instead head off to work together?  

When there is a clear need for division of roles and responsibilities and understanding who’s the boss. And when you don’t get a breather from temperaments because you both bring work tensions home on the same day?

For a lot of women in business with their husbands, this is a reality.

Sure, working together has its fabulous plus points – shared trust and responsibilities, the joy of building something together, achieving common goals and prioritizing family when needed.

Being in business with your spouse is honestly the best way to truly appreciate your partner’s skills and a positive outcome depends on how you approach the endeavor.

So what is it that makes some men great work partners?

We asked several career women to share a fun way that their husband is a great partner to work with and what they wish he could change.

Enjoy their fun, yet heartfelt responses followed by a Career Partnership Quiz for you to attempt along with your spouse to enrich the career conversation at home.

A great sense of humour

There are some clear benefits to running a business with my husband. I know I can trust him and there is someone else in the company that is always looking out for not only the best interests of the company but our family. He tends to make serious situations manageable and definitely keeps things light around the office.

We make a great team- I keep everything organized and the business running. He focuses on expansion, making connections and marketing. We have very different responsibilities but the company honestly wouldn’t function without the both of us.

He jokes that his job is to make my job harder and I’m not always sure that it’s actually a joke.  He has an idea or wants to launch a new product and then when the execution come along I have the pleasure of filling out the paperwork schedule the staff ordering the product and about 100 other things required before the idea becomes a reality.

It would be great if he could take his head out of the clouds here and there to give a hand with the day to day but he’s amazing at what he does and if I have to tow the line when it comes to office work I’m okay with it. He may be a disorganized mess with the attention span of a gold fish but his Ideas and the connections he has made is what has turned our little idea in our home kitchen into a company with 4 retail stores and the ability to ship our products to customers in over 25 states.

Brieanna West

Founder What A Crock Meals

Visibility connects and collaborations for entrepreneurs

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A Head for Numbers

He’s awesome at the finances, (which I suck at). I just wish he could explain them in a way that made more sense to me!

Jacque Lacina

Founder Jackie of All Trades Interactive


A Personal Cheerleader

“My husband and I have been in business now for 6 years. Without sounding like a cliche, he’s amazing! He’s always been my cheerleader and biggest supporter, while still giving sound advice and telling me the truth. He’s fun to work with because he gets me and my personality and is able to read my emotional state, so it’s an added bonus to our working relationship that makes us stronger together. That’s something that normal partners and co-workers don’t experience so intimately.

If I could change anything, I’d give him more hours in the day to work on his passion projects. Oftentimes, life gets in the way and we don’t get to accomplish all that we dream about creating together.”

Lilah Higgins

Owner & Executive Designer at The Higgins Creative


An Idea Bank

Paul is an awesome partner to work with in my business because he is absolutely the idea guy. I tend to be more structured and have trouble thinking outside the box and he is always thinking outside the box. When I get stuck on a problem or aren’t sure where to take something next, he always gets me unstuck and gets the wheels turning again!! He is so imaginative and creative and that is so necessary when it comes to running your own business!

On the other hand, this can also sometimes get in the way. There might be too many ideas or ideas that he is really passionate about that realistically aren’t possible. So sometimes I have to reign him in…but in reality that’s what makes us a great team!

Cinnamon Ruvolo Wolfe

Photographer/Educator at CinnamonWolfe


A Creative/ Resourceful  Mind

I love working with him on our businesses because we get to collaborate and use our creativity separately and also as a team. He always has outside the box thinking, he’s always wanting to move forward and is never content in just settling for what is, if there’s something better out there – one of the reasons I knew I should marry him

One thing I wish I could change is sometimes he goes to fast and doesn’t have a lot of time to support.

Amy Johnson

Owner The Johnson Jingle


A Forward Thinker

I think the most fun/important part of working with my husband is that he shares the dream and the vision of my business with me.  He is all in with me and the best part about that is that through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and building a business, as an “outsider” he is able to see the business in a different way than I do. He is able to see the big picture rather than the day to day workings so when things seem like they aren’t going right he is always able to talk it over with me and show me a perspective that I wasn’t seeing. So having 2 sets of eyes on everything really helps keep everything balanced.  He truly is my best friend, we laugh a lot together, and I couldn’t think of anything better than building our vision of a dream life together. It truly is a team vision that we work on and visualize together.  

As far as something I would change, well that’s an easy one. I am more of an introvert and I work better when it’s quiet, so sometimes I wish I had a bit more quiet time and alone time to recharge.  Being a mom to 3 young boys and working from home generally means very little quiet time.  I do find ways to balance that when needed but I do wish it was a bit more frequent.

Amanda Wittenborn

Owner Amanda Creation


These wonderful , heartfelt answers give us a good picture of what makes a husband a great partner at work. What is not covered here though, is the  degree of shared responsibility that is needed on the personal front.

Research indicates that what counts most towards a woman’s career well being is tangible support from her partner, and not just emotional.

Work together or apart, there are plenty of women who count on support, help and advice from the men in their lives. The lucky ones can share how their men are making a positive impact on their career path, or at least enabling it by helping with housework.

Sometimes a simple conversation can lead to deeper discussions.

Get started with this short, fun Exercise to put your career relationship in perspective. Use this as a starting point to open up the discussion with your partner. Even better, offer your partner a copy of their own.

Maroon Oak’s Career Partnership Quiz

1. My partner ___________________( has a clear idea of, does not get, completely supports, does not support) my professional aspirations.


2. We ________________ ( seldom, often, never) talk work or careers.


3. I ___________________( completely, not really, not at all, somewhat) understand what my partner does.


4. I am able to do __________ because my partner helps with ___________ & ____________ at home.


5. My partner’s share in household responsibilities is ____________ (> = <) mine. He does _______(> = <) of _____________ while I do _______(> = <) of _____________.


6. The two household chores I would happily outsource to my partner are ________________ & ___________________.


7. When I achieve a milestone, my partner (reacts like this)______________________________.


8. When I take or get time off from work, I prefer to ___________ while my partner prefers to _________.


9. The best thing my partner has done for my work and career is __________________.


10. For me, success in my business (or work) is _____________________.


With this as a start, you or your husband might start  __________________ and offer to do___________________.

When work, family and housework consumes us, it is easy to overlook that our spouses have work pressures of their own. Just a simple act of initiating, understanding and acknowledging each other’s personal ambitions and hindrances , can go a long way.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pepsico, Indira Nooyi, shares the shortest and sweetest route to success for married career women:

“Pick the right husband. I did. And here I am.”

So don’t wait. Whether you work together or not, team up with your partner in ways that count, to make both your careers a success!

Contributor-Aditi Tandon
Aditi Tandon

You can’t use up creativity. The more you create, the more you have.

A Designer , Entrepreneur and US Patent Holder Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.

A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.

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  1. dee 7 years ago

    interesting post, I work with my spouse and its important to be able to seperate the two worlds. Marriage and business can easliy create drama

  2. I am not married, but I have worked with a significant other before and have found the experience very pleasant. On my darkest or gloomiest days, he would always do something to lift my spirits. He was an awesome guy.

  3. Ant 7 years ago

    A personal cheerleader is what I’ve found in my spouse. I love him so much.

  4. Tasha 7 years ago

    I love the input from the ladies working with their husbands. I run my own VA business but I also support my husband in his business. It’s definitely tricky to navigate sometimes but I think patience is also a valuable asset to have for both parties. I also love love love your Quiz and I’m seriously considering going over this with my hubby! Much thanks!

  5. Tara 7 years ago

    interesting read. personally my career is my place of being for the day and we are completely different people when it comes to our “gift” but this is a great post!

  6. Alexandria 7 years ago

    This is so important! I’ll have to take a second look at the questionnaire about my partner!

  7. Colleen 7 years ago

    I never really thought about this type of married partnership, I have never worked with a spouse but I can imagine it could be both, stressful and awesome. Excellent article.

  8. jhilmil 7 years ago

    Interesting quiz, but to me working with my spouse can be really difficult since we have very different ideologies! We support each other fully but its good to be in different ventures!

  9. Lisa 7 years ago

    This is very interesting. I love your perspective on this. Definitely a great read.


  10. I’m not sure if I could work with my husband.. but that said we do balance eachother nicely in terms of I suck at what he’s strong at which would help.

  11. Christie Moeller 7 years ago

    Great questions! A checklist everyone should look at!

    xoxo Christie

  12. 7 years ago

    Love your perspective! There’s two sides to every coin! I honestly cannot clearly define what my husband does.

  13. Lacee 7 years ago

    My husband and I are both teachers, but we work in different buildings. We also work alongside each other in ministry at church. I loved this post. So many negative posts about spouses these days. This was so uplifting!


  14. Vivian 7 years ago

    This is such a lovely post, it’s so important to support and respect your SO!

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE


  15. Marina 7 years ago

    Awesome questionnaire! It is so important to have a partner who supports and encourages you in all aspects of life, career included! I

    • Pooja Krishna Author
      Pooja Krishna 7 years ago

      Thanks Marina! Yes, a pertner who understands your aspirations is key to career success!

  16. I don’t think I could work with my partner although he is my own cheerleader when it comes to my career 🙂

    Hannah @ The Northern Writes | http://www.thenorthernwrites.co.uk

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