He’s an iconic rapper, music mogul and tech entrepreneur. She’s Beyoncé. Together they’re recording tracks, touring and raising a family.
Juggling work and a relationship can be a challenge for any couple, even if you aren’t Jay-Z and Queen Bey. The challenge can be even greater when both partners have successful, high-paying careers that demand long hours and making sacrifices — including foregoing time with loved ones. Learn the secrets of six power couples who balance their careers with their relationships. These people might not be touring the globe, but they’ve still figured out how to make their busy lives work.
Support Each Other’s Careers
In a marriage where both spouses are driven to succeed, there might be a tendency for them to put their careers first. But Catherine Alford, who owns two six-figure businesses, and her husband, who is an obstetrician-gynecologist, said they balance their relationship and careers by being supportive of each other.
“I avoid resentment by focusing on our joint goals and remembering that he has always been incredibly supportive of my career,” said Alford, who is a family finance expert at CatherineAlford.com and co-founder of Maple Medical Marketing. Her husband didn’t stop her from investing in courses and coaches to help her grow as an entrepreneur, and Alford said she didn’t question her husband when he borrowed thousands of dollars in student loans to go to medical school. “We both believe in investing in ourselves and having similar values,” she said.
Although they do everything they can to support each other, Alford said she and her husband make their relationship work by being independent. “I don’t wait on him, and he doesn’t wait on me,” she said. “If I have plans to take my kids to a movie and he’s supposed to be there but can’t because of an emergency C-section, I just go anyway.”
Outsource Household Tasks
With her husband working 80 hours a week and Alford juggling two businesses and two kids, something had to give. “When we couldn’t stop arguing about the chores, we hired a housekeeper,” Alford said. They also have groceries delivered, and Alford has set up automatic shipments of almost all of their household items such as toilet paper so the couple can make better use of their time.
“The way we live is unique, but it works because we’re both extremely driven,” Alford said. “It wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works really well for us.”
Have a Life Plan With Shared Goals
Balancing work and home life can be a challenge for Danny Ray and Lisamarie Monaco because they work from home together running their business, PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists. “At times, it can be tricky since we both work 16-plus hour days,” Monaco said. However, one of the keys they’ve found to make it work as a power couple is getting clear on what they want to achieve together.
“Writing down our goals and our life plan and then following up with action is our process,” Monaco said. “It helps when you and your partner or spouse are wanting the same exact things out of life.”
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
For their personal and business relationship to succeed, Monaco said she and her husband made a vow long ago to cut out any outside noise that would create drama or deter them from their goals. “My biggest tip for power couples and how to make it work is don’t sweat the small stuff,” she said. Don’t let little disagreements create tension or resentment — move forward, she said.
Laughter has been one of the keys to a good relationship for Monaco and Ray. “We love to laugh,” Monaco said. “Even on a bad day, we will never fight, but we will discuss an issue and then laugh it out. Honestly, if you don’t have laughter in a relationship when you work so closely together, then you have nothing.”
Keep Work and Home Life Separate
Cory and Delilah Chapman both have thriving careers running the financial planning firm they started in 2003, EFC Wealth Management Firm. “A lot of our friends tell us they don’t know how we can work together and go home together,” Cory said. The key has been separating the workplace from home, he said.
They do this by communicating effectively, Delilah said. “For example, when we are at work, I say ‘Babe, I’m wearing my partner hat’ so he knows how to receive the message,” she said. “If we are in the office and need to address a personal issue, he might say, ‘I’m wearing my husband hat.’ This allows us to know exactly where the other one is coming from.”
Understand Your Spouse's Love Language
When you’re a busy power couple, making little gestures to show your spouse how much you appreciate him or her can go a long way, Delilah said. “If they love receiving gifts, find something special they might like. If they prefer quality time, carve out some time in your day to spend with them.”
Take Time To Say, ‘I Love You’
Although they work together, Cory said that he and Delilah can go a whole day without seeing each other. But they’ve figured out how to stay connected despite their busy schedules. “Take time out of your day to let the person know you are thinking about them,” he said. “Reaching out with a small gesture can help make the other person feel appreciated.”
Flexibility has been the key to balancing the demands of Tina Willis’ career as a personal injury attorney, her husband’s commercial HVAC contracting business and their relationship. “We have both created businesses that have flexible schedules — by intentional design — then we are flexible with each other,” said Willis, who is the owner of Tina Willis Law.
The couple talk daily with each other about the demands of their businesses. “So we each feel the pressure when either one of us is facing a difficult time with any particular project, client or goal,” Willis said. “I think that deep understanding of each other’s challenges naturally leads to empathy and understanding when one of us needs to spend more time on any particular project.”
Prioritize Making Time for Each Other
Despite the demands of their work, Willis and her husband make spending time with each other a priority every day. “We exercise together, and do fun things together on weekends,” she said.
Although Willis and her husband do talk about each other’s businesses and help each other make decisions, they make a point to have plenty of time when they aren’t discussing work. “Either one of us can say, ‘I’d rather not talk about work right now,’ and we will both honor that request,” she said.
Play to Each Partner’s Strengths
To keep their household running smoothly, Willis said she and her husband play to their own strengths when tackling chores. “We plan financial decisions together, like whether and how much to invest, major spending decisions and that sort of thing,” Willis said. “But my husband handles all of the finances himself — like depositing money in our accounts, moving money between accounts, paying bills, etc. I just hate that stuff!”
Willis, on the other hand, does the grocery shopping, plans the couple’s meals, organizes their social events and stays in contact with their friends. “We have never — not even once — discussed whether one person is doing too much work,” she said. “We don’t even think of our lives that way. We are a team 100%.”
Choose Not To Fight
Glenn Phillips is the CEO of one of the fastest growing, multi-state real estate companies in the U.S., Lake Homes Realty. His wife, Doris, is the chief operating officer of the company. You’d think that working and living together could lead to tension and arguments, but the couple doesn’t fight because they’ve chosen not to, Glenn said.
“When we are not on the same page about something, we both take our time,” he said. “We can call a pause. We are patient and listen, even if we don’t agree. The priority is us, not a momentary win — which becomes a long-term loss.”
Share the Bills
Although the Phillips’ don’t have a joint bank account, they share the household bills. When they first married and money was tight, they each paid the bills they could afford out of their own accounts, Glenn said. “Over time, we each just kept paying a subset of the bills,” he said.
Glenn covers the mortgage, while Doris pays for the utilities, insurance and groceries. They pay for their own automobiles, clothes and hobbies. “Overall, it is pretty balanced,” Glenn said. “We didn’t really plan that, but we both are very sensitive to not take advantage of the other — which we see couples do, and that seems to always create resentment for them over time.”
Communication is key for any relationship. But Glenn said the key to making his personal and professional relationship with his wife work is communicating candidly.
“We have people comment, including new staff in our office, about how very direct we are with each other,” he said. “We can be direct because we trust each other to not jump to an emotional response.” This is a skill that they didn’t have earlier in life, but developed from lessons learned from their previous marriages and personal growth.
Make Decisions Together
Denise and Dennis Brown have been married for almost 31 years and have five children. During most of their marriage, Denise stayed home to take care of the kids and Dennis ran the billion-dollar insurance marketing agency he owns, M&O Marketing. In the past year, though, Denise joined M&O Marketing as its chief administrative officer. What’s made their new business relationship as successful as their marriage has been their commitment to making all big decisions together.
Throughout their marriage, the couple has always consulted with each other before making any big purchases. “We carried what was at home into the office,” Denise said. That is, nothing happens at work without the other knowing about it. “We like to bounce everything off each other because if we make a mistake, no one person is to blame,” she said.
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About the Author
Cameron Huddleston is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years of experience writing about personal finance. Her work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, MSN, USA Today and many more print and online publications. She also is the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances.
U.S. News & World Report named her one of the top personal finance experts to follow on Twitter, and AOL Daily Finance named her one of the top 20 personal finance influencers to follow on Twitter. She has appeared on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and “Fox & Friends” and has been a guest on ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, NPR, WTOP in Washington, D.C., KGO in San Francisco and other personal finance radio shows nationwide. She also has been interviewed and quoted as an expert in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch and more.
She has an MA in economic journalism from American University and BA in journalism and Russian studies from Washington & Lee University.