The Perks and Challenges of Coworking with Your Spouse

Like many of you, I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It’s been an interesting change! There are certainly perks, but there are struggles, too. In my situation, I work from my home by myself all day. My husband leaves for work around 6:00am and usually returns around 3:30pm unless there are errands to run. I get a majority of my workday to be productive in whatever environment I want to create. Need to do some heads-down work? Great, I make a cup of tea and sit down at my desk. Need to crank out some paperwork? Perfect, I find that new podcast episode and play it while I check tasks off my to-do list. Need to jump on a spontaneous video call with a few coworkers? Easy, just hop on the call, no need to silence the house or notify anyone so they don’t accidentally make a background cameo. I fully realize how easy I have it when it comes to working from home, but I also know many of you don’t have much wiggle room to accommodate your work-from-home needs.  

Working from home with kids, whether they are distance learning or not, comes with a great deal of challenges – we hear people sharing their struggles with this firsthand and on social media. And while I can’t relate to those struggles, I try to empathize and give grace to those I know who are pushing through while in that exact situation.

But one scenario that I don’t see many people talking about, is working from home with your spouse. Specifically, those couples who were thrown into this reality and had to instantly learn how to co-work with their partner every day (not the couples who literally work for the same company together and sort of chose their own destiny).

What are the challenges and unexpected perks of co-working with someone you’re also married to?

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Staying Curious

Let’s call it what it is, life is tough right now.  We’re still trying to learn our new normal, adjust to working from home, figure out virtual visits, and experiencing a lot of change to our daily routine.  On top of all of that, we are trying to keep our relationships steady and maybe spending more time in our pajamas together.

I have to say, I am personally spending a large amount of time with my partner during the pandemic.  It’s hard to get together with friends or see family, outside of virtual visits.  Since nothing is open, we have been enjoying more movie nights or making dinner together.

With that being said, we are spending so much time together that I cannot lie, he is getting under my skin!

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How to Fill Your Free Time (Without a Fight)

When the world slowed down for a few months, many of us got a taste of what it was like to have more free time, albeit free time stuck at home. We learned how to bake new treats (banana bread? sourdough?), organized every drawer and cabinet, and maybe even took on some home improvement projects. But by now, we’re all itching to do the things we postponed or longed for during our days at home. On top of that anticipation, it’s also summer, which usually brings long weekends, vacations, and lots of get-togethers. What were previously “normal” decisions might now be met with a new sense of unease or anxiousness about being with and around others. Combine these factors with the urge to make up for the adventures we would’ve had this spring, and you have a situation that could lead to some heated discussions with your partner about where and how you’ll spend your precious free time.

Suffice it to say, this summer brings some new challenges for your relationship.

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Navigating the Pandemic as Newlyweds

I was talking to a friend last week, sharing stories about our weekend. She and her husband had celebrated their first anniversary as a married couple, in true quarantine style, with homemade pasta and a bottle of chilled wine that had been left on their front porch by a dear friend. She made a comment that struck me as interesting – “Our first year of marriage was certainly not what I imagined.”

In that first year, they both had major changes with their careers, bought a home together, and most unplanned of all: weathered 3 months (and counting) of a global pandemic. While many of those events were welcome and brought joy to their relationship, she delved deeper in her reflection that it was more the amount of change, challenge, and cooperation between the two of them that she didn’t anticipate. She, like many newlyweds, thought that the first year would be a breeze, a blissful journey together living life. I can relate. I myself just celebrated nine months married to my husband – also qualifying us as newlyweds navigating a different first chapter of marriage than we envisioned.

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Things to Take With You From Quarantine

Our exact timelines will vary, but we’ve all been in this for a while now. Quarantine, lockdown, shelter-in-place, or whatever you want to call the new normal we’ve been living. Depending on where you live, you could be pivoting towards opening up and going back to something resembling life “before.” For some of us, life will continue to unfold in restricted, socially-distant reality. We hope that over the last weeks and months, you’ve been able use some of your time at home to invest in your relationship. As you prepare to step back into the hustle and bustle of life, we encourage you to reflect on the things you want to take with you and carry on from this time. Yes, we know there are probably many things you’d like to leave behind, but there has been some good that has come out of staying home and slowing down your pace of life.

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