As the Houston relationship counselor, I deal a lot more with interpersonal matters than business topics, but all of that goes out the window when I counsel clients who combine the two. What am I talking about? People who go into business with their significant other.

Some of you are probably already shaking your heads, thinking that’s the craziest idea ever, but for others, it can really work well. The bond couples form when they work together goes beyond the relationship and encompasses the entirety of their life, allowing them to experience sides of each other they otherwise wouldn’t have known and truly binding them together. They tend to share more than other couples, and when something goes right in the business, it’s also a shared high in the relationship.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that coin is that literally and figuratively, all of your fortunes are tied together, and when something goes wrong in one area, it can affect every part of your lives together. When I see these people in marriage therapy, it’s just as likely that we will be discussing anger over lost clients or disagreements in the direction of the business as it is fights over a lack of communication or the loss of romance.

Houston Relationship Counselor: Questions to Ask Before Partnering in Business

Since there are potential benefits and drawbacks when going into business with a spouse, if you’re considering it the question isn’t really ‘should you or shouldn’t you,’ but how would you make it work and avoid having to go to marriage therapy? It’s important to ask yourself the hard questions before you really dive in or you might be surprised by the answers if you ever reach that point. Things like:

Who’s the boss? Is one of you willing to defer to the other? On everything or just in certain areas? If it’s going to be 50/50, how can you ensure that it stays that way?

How do you turn it off? One of the hardest things to do when you work together and have a relationship is shut off your business brain when it’s time to focus on the relationship. Will you have specific rules? Will you forgive each other for the inevitable slip-ups?

Which relationship is more important? Hopefully you won’t ever need to really answer this question in real life, but it’s not completely crazy to think about. What happens if you have a personal crisis that’s tanking the business? Do you put it aside to focus on work? What if one of you wants to do this and the other doesn’t?

The skills you learn talking with the Houston relationship counselor can really help you to navigate the rough waters of starting a business with your spouse.