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How To Work And Live With Your Lover

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My husband is an incredible musician. Some of his work includes Little Lover, Take Me Down, Bones and The One. They’re all highly conscious, heartfelt works of art with deep meaning… check them out if you haven’t already, and make sure the volume is loud and the video full screen (for a more dramatic effect, of course!)… But I digress!

Not only is making music his purpose here on earth, he also works in my business… he plays a sort of CEO mash-up role (very well, I might add). And we have both chosen to work from home. This, of course, means that we spend a LOT of time together and a question I get asked often is how do you live and work with your lover?

Before we dive in, I want to mention that we have both had the fancy-schmancy office before. We employed staff, decorated up a storm, and then realised that it was not what we truly desired. I realised I am a ‘work from home in your sweaty yoga gear from that morning’ type of gal (don’t judge me!). I really like being able to throw on a load of washing, eat my healthy organic delicious food, and go for a quick dip in the ocean after lunch — all perks of owning your own biz and working from home.

However, living and working together can sometimes be… well, let’s say ‘interesting’! And unless you set some clear boundaries, you may end up biting each other's head off.

Today I want to share with you what we have done to make things work. Like everything, this is a work in progress and we are always editing and adapting to what feels good in our bones at that time. I think it’s important that when either of you feel icky, you pivot — and pivot fast. Practicing crystal clear communication (a.k.a. ‘CCC’ — one of my fave relationship tools) is imperative if you are going to both live and work from home, so make that your number one priority.

Create boundaries

The first thing you need to do is come up with a list of boundaries and put them somewhere you can see them (for example, your fridge) and make sure you stick to them. Here are some of ours…

  • We’re only allowed to talk about work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Phones and computers are turned off after 5 p.m. (if possible)
  • During our workdays, everything we want to talk about (whether it’s work related or personal) must go in our Google document — no sending emails or text messages. (We try to respect each other’s inbox and not overload it with things that don’t need to be in there.)
  • Before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. is lovers’/family time — meaning no work talk!
  • Sundays are a social media free day — no phone or computer, that’s the aim.

Work in separate rooms and close the door

We have a rule that if the door is closed, it means please do not come in. Every time you interrupt each other, you’re breaking each other’s flow. I know us ladies want to talk all the words and have loads of things we want to say all day long, but that is not conducive to productivity.

To combat that issue, we have our (aforementioned) Google document for both work and personal stuff, that we keep open on our respective computers. Throughout the day, when things pop up, we add them to the document. Then each day, we have a ‘power meeting’ (usually for about 10 minutes) to talk about all the things in the document.

Right now, in our Sydney home, we don’t have two offices. So I work at Leo’s desk in his room during the day, and Nick works from his home music studio/office, which is in our lounge room. (You’ve gotta make do with what you got, sista!)

Understand the masculine and feminine energy

When I speak of the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, I am not only talking about men and women. I am referring to your nature, and the expression of your own personal inner masculine and feminine creative energy that exists within you. We all possess both energies, and understanding the role and importance of each is imperative for harmonious relationships with yourself and others.

For me personally, when I am head-down, bum-up in work mode, I know I am more in my masculine energy. I need to call more on that side of myself in order to get shiz done, especially when I am knee-deep in balance sheets and profit and loss statements. I am then consciously aware of the times when I need to soften back into my feminine side. For example, when I am writing back to a heartfelt email or message, or when my bestie calls me in tears, when I am giving a talk or when I am playing step-muma and wifey. Both energies are needed, but understanding when you are required to step more into one or the other is imperative for your relationship.

Change the energy

When I am in ‘work mode’ I am in my more masculine ‘doing’ energy, so when the clock strikes 5 p.m. and I want to slide into my more feminine side, I need to shift my energy. Tony Robbins calls this ‘changing your state’. I do this by diving in the ocean, having a goddess bath, taking a shower, meditating or having a dance off in my lounge room with the volume up loud. For me, this is the quickest and easiest way to slip out of yang mode and slide deliciously into my true goddess self.

Keep it separate

When you and your lover both work from home, it’s easy to feel like you are morphing into one. But I don’t believe this is healthy for either of you. Us ladies need our own space (especially when we are on our moon cycle). So make sure you create space for you. Go for walks, workout with your bestie and do yoga alone. You don’t have to do everything together, so don’t feel guilty for carving out some space for you.

Get out of the house

When you love what you do, it’s easy to want to work all the time, but this can actually lead to you being more unmotivated and unproductive... Not to mention make you go a little cray-cray! Make sure you get outside — get some fresh air, go for a swim or take a walk each day. Not only will your productivity and creativity sky rocket, but your relationship will be better off too.

Create your own office hours

Last week on my live call with my Business Bootcamp Mastermind babes, I was asked how I stay motivated whilst working from home. For me, motivation has never been an issue. I freaking LOVE what I do, so my ‘issue’ has been how to ensure that I switch off. Honestly, I could keep going and going, and if I didn’t create my own office hours I probably would. Now, my schedule does change, but right now I ‘work’ (and I still pinch myself that what I do is called ‘work’) from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with laser focus. I then make a delicious healthy lunch — and hopefully eat it in the sun — followed by a quick dip in the ocean… heaven! I then go back into the ‘office’ from around 1:30/2ish and then (depending on if we have Leo that week) I do the school pick-up, errands, and make dinner etc. Our intention is to switch off by 5 p.m. for our afternoon meditation, dinner and family time.

Headphone rule

We both have Bose noise cancelling headphones which we wear on aeroplanes, but we have started a new rule that when we have our headphones on in the house, it means ‘do not disturb’ because we are in a flow state.

This doesn’t matter so much if I’m working in Leo’s room because the door is closed, but Nick’s ‘office’ is in our lounge room and it’s all too easy for Leo and I to ask him a quick question when it pops up, but this is actually unfair as it’s breaking his flow state. So Leo understands that if Daddy has headphones on, we have to ‘pretend’ he isn’t there. Ideally we would have a separate office and music studio, but right now we don’t so we have to make do with what’s in front of us.

Make ‘lovers time’

When you work with your lover all day every day, life can morph into one big grey area. So even if you have set boundaries, you still have to consciously set aside ‘lovers’ time’. My suggestion? Schedule a date night, leave your phones at home, and make it happen. It’s one of our favourite things to do.

Love always comes first

If you have tried all of the above and you realise that maybe working and living together isn’t your cup of herbal tea, then don’t rush and get a divorce. Try something different — maybe one of you could work from the local library or health food cafe, maybe you could sign up for a part-time desk in a co-working space, or you could call your bestie and see if you can work from her place one day a week to mix it up. Always remember that no matter what is going on with work, your marriage and love always comes first.

So there you have it sweetheart! Right now these are the strategies that work for us. This could — and most likely will — change, and when we feel the pull, we’ll pivot accordingly.

Now I’m curious to know… do you and your lover both work from home? If yes, do you have any ‘rules’ that are conducive to productivity? I would love to hear them in the comments below.

Remember, your tip could not only inspire someone but could save a marriage, so open that beautiful heart of yours and share away.

Comments (18)

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    • March 30, 2017

      I get asked this question all the time now that hubby and I are both working from home. People seem surprised we haven't divorced or at the very least had a massive fight. I grew up around couples that worked together so it wasn't a thing for us. Plus we travelled in Europe for 8weeks together and came out the other end more in love than the start so I was pretty confident we could do this :)

      We've only been doing this a few months and I think we've both realised we need more time outside our apartment. We are such homebodies but if we don't have a time out from the place you can work 10 days straight without realising what we've done. More random adventures to museums or sneaky Tuesday afternoon movies for us I think (or at the very least me).

    • Claire Foster
      March 30, 2017

      I love his post ! My partner and i live together and work mostly from home and sometimes at our seperate office spaces.
      It is still new for us so we haven't set up rules as yet although we are starting to create a lovely natural routine.
      We are big fans of clear communication and also make sure when we have ear phones on that we aren't disturbing each others work flow.
      If i notice he is having a stressful work moment i like to quietly place a glass of water or piece of fruit next to him and give him a kiss on the cheek to show my love and support and that i believe in him. He doesn't the same for me - no words needed just a soft gesture to fuel our work fire xx

    • Shalee Moschetti
      March 30, 2017

      Great article, thank-you so much for writing it!

    • Nat
      March 30, 2017

      I love this article, resonates so much! I've been recovering from adrenal fatigue and altho I have a corporate job, I'm able to work from home when I need to (rather than sick days). I save so much time/energy by not having to commute/pack/dress/all that jazz :) and I can balance my energy and work load which is just perfect for now. I almost feel like I found this job for my recovery years ... what a relief!
      And working in comfy clothes ... bliss! xx

    • March 30, 2017

      Melissa, my husband and I work separate but both from home as of recently and it has proven to be quite the challenge with masculine/feminine and with boundaries. This was so helpful to me! Thank you! <3

    • March 30, 2017

      Great tips Mel! I also work from home with a similar schedule, but am lucky Chen works in his office. I am a massive introvert and I adore having a few days at home alone to charge through my work, and take time to recharge too, so good. and those noise cancelling headphones are amazing aren't they! Just wanted to say hey and give you props for the new website too. It looks amazing!

    • Narelle
      March 31, 2017

      I have lived, worked and home schooled our 5 kids with my husband for the last 25 years......and we are still happily married. The boundaries are a great idea, wish I had of known that 20 years ago : )
      My suggestion to all beautiful women working with their life partner is to do exactly that work at it. Everything is in a constant state of change - flow with it - and remain beautiful, graceful and mindful in every moment...... and when your head rotates and spews forth green stuff - have a cup of herbal tea and meditate - even if the only place you can find quiet is the chook pen!
      x

    • Belinda
      April 3, 2017

      Ahhh thankyou for this!!
      My husband and I both work together (in my family business.. with the rest of my sisters and bro inlaws!!) And then we both live with his sister.. so we are CONSTANTLY surrounded by each others families and each other.
      We are lucky we work in different locations most days - but it is so hard to not talk about work when we are home. We both vent to each other and it makes it hard on our relationship.
      I like the idea of setting boundaries - will definitely try and implement this at home! THANKYOU! xx

    • Em
      April 3, 2017

      Hi Melissa, I have been loving your book, blog posts and podcasts and I was wondering if you could do one with the focus on overcoming jealousy within relationships.
      I am in a conscious & loving partnership, and I have always identified myself with not being controlling or jealous within the relationship. My partner has lots of female (and male) friends and I have always loved that about him -it has never been an issue in our 3 years together.
      But there is someone new that has come into his life and I have great jealousy issues when they are together -I’m feeling all those feels I told myself I would never have. Looks like the ‘crazy girlfriend' can pop up in all of us.
      I would love to hear from you on how to overcome jealousy and move forward with grace.

      • April 4, 2017

        Hey Em,

        Great idea! I will add it to my list.

        Remember when you are full and confident within yourself you don't have to feel jealous. Jealousy comes from fear and love is your truth! Does that make sense honey?

    • April 5, 2017

      Hi Melissa, thank you for this article. Me and my husband have both business and we're working from home as well. For me it's important to have a ''Me'' time in a form of morning routine and quite often also evening meditation. When we work, we try to not disturb each other and after the working time (usually until 4pm) we go for a walk then eat and have some nice program together. We also have a rule that no work on Sundays and we don't talk about our businesses too much outside of the working hours.
      It's very important to keep in mind that business is just one (although an important) part of life. It's good to have some sort of balance and have also hobbies, sports, and things to do and ways how to relax.

    • Laura
      April 7, 2017

      Hi Melissa, I was really pleased to find and read this article. My partner and I met years ago in our workplace and have had a very happy relationship whilst living and working together. I have always felt so lucky to work within the same space as him, to watch him succeed and do something he's incredibly passionate about. We inspire and learn from each other everyday, he's also the best colleague to grab a coffee with if I'm having a bad day :)

    • Erin O'Connell
      April 12, 2017

      We use the head phone technique in our home. My darling has his office at home and I work out. So when I come home he has shifted to no work mode and has his favorite show on the tv. I am usually decompressing still and crave quite/calm music... so on go the head phones!!!! They are perfect to create some head space....
      I can start cooking, read mail, short meditation... and then when my energy is balanced with our house space I can take off my headphones and join my partner. One note...I do have to respect his space and be aware that when I sing with headphones on it is not the most enjoyable sound for others...I think I sound amazing but apparently it's not my best moment!! LOL
      Thanks Melissa
      Grateful
      Erin

      • April 12, 2017

        hehehe I bet you sound amazing ;)

        I love this idea honey. Thanks for sharing.

        xx

    • May 14, 2017

      Amazing. Thank you for sharing. Easy and practical tips to follow. I like how you explained it as possibly being one large grey area, and how to set clear boundaries with love and respect. With love, Emily.

    • Andrea Stuart
      June 4, 2017

      Amen, sista! My husband and I have both been working from home together for the last three years. The first year was so HARD! He retired from his career as a mechanic and decided to get into the wine biz while helping me with my business. I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to develop a new routine. I had been in a productive groove working from my quiet home for years. Then all of a sudden my routine was disrupted. Setting boundaries was the key to saving the marriage, my company, and our sanity.

      1. The first thing I had to do was accept that a new routine was in motion. I had to let my ego take a backseat so I could embrace the new opportunities presented, such as taking midday walks with my honey and going to lunch together. After all, we went from seeing each other for a couple hours a day when he commuted to seeing each other all day every day (which I actually prefer).

      2. We set hours for working, agreeing to "log out" every day at the agreed time (I used to be terrible about this). I also use headphones to block out what isn't on my work agenda when I need to concentrate more fully.

      3. We have "hug-o-clock" throughout the day (thank you "Trolls" movie for giving us a fun name for it!), which is invigorating and is a beautiful way to stay connected to each other throughout the day even when we're wearing our "business socks." One of us just walks up to the other and says, "Hug-o-clock!" and we embrace for a minute and then go our separate ways. No talking, just an unadulterated moment of love.

      4. I typically get up earlier than my hubby, which I love because it allows me to do my morning routine, which involved Reiki, meditation, yoga, drinking tea, and harnessing my creative side, which is the strongest first thing in the morning.

      5. We are flexible! I can't say it enough; flexibility makes us stronger. Allowing each day to unfold naturally increases my productivity. Yes, we have our to-do lists; we know what we have to do now and what can be put off, and we embrace it. For instance, I may have a meeting and article deadlines, plus some prepping to do for a class or retreat. I prioritize the items so that when other things come up, such as a surprise lunch invite, another meeting, or even fatigue, I can honor my commitments while also honoring changes that need to be made (resting included).

      My honey and I are much happier and even enjoy working together now.

      Oh, I almost forgot. One of our favorite "rules" is to celebrate the end of each day. We do this by either cooking dinner together, watching a movie, playing a game, or having some kind of fun time together! It gives us something to look forward to and when we celebrate our productivity, we are energized and excited to do it all over again.

      • June 6, 2017

        Love love love these honey. I am going to add them into my life especially the hug-o-clock. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing angel.

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