Q: My spouse does my business' bookkeeping but isn't involved in the business' daily operations or overall direction. This causes her to second-guess many of my decisions, which creates friction at work and at home. How can we alleviate this?
A: Often, when spouses work together and one spouse is doing the books (and perhaps the laundry, housekeeping, office cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping as well) there is a tendency for the spouse working in the field to assume that the other knows everything that's going on in the business. Yet, the spouse who is less involved in daily operations is told nothing about what is happening inside the business or why certain decisions are being made. Who can blame them for questioning why things are being done the way they are?
There are ways to get you and your spouse on the same page:
First, stop assuming. Others don't know what you're thinking; don't assume that you know what someone is thinking or how they will react — even if you have been living with that person for 25 years.
Second, take the time to communicate clearly and completely. Communicate from the heart and give your spouse the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions. Explain the direction the business is taking and how this will serve you, your spouse, and your business overall. Then ask your spouse about their viewpoint and any questions they may have — and really listen to what they say. Open communication is the only way your spouse will have the information they need to be comfortable in their role as your partner in life and in business.
Finally, be aware of the tendency we all have to be toughest on those we love most. Sustaining a happy relationship is difficult enough — even when spouses don't work together. Stay present to your love and appreciation for what your spouse provides in all aspects of your life. This alone will go a long way toward helping ease the friction between you and your spouse both at home and at work.