When your Spouse becomes your Boss

November 19, 2018 /

when your spouse becomes your bossEvery couple gets that prying question at some point in their marriage. The one that is usually personal and answered with tweaked versions of the real occurrence to appear more appropriate for the scenario they find themselves in. “Where did you two meet?”

While some answers may be more embarrassing than others many couples today can say they met “at work”. Workplace romance, though sometimes frowned upon, is not uncommon. Roughly 10% of all couples in the United Statesmet at their place of employment. Working with your spouse has its benefits for both the relationship and the workplace. Productivity increases as the couple has a better connection to their organization when working together, and the shared understanding of the spouses’ job builds a stronger relationship.

But all of this changes when the spouse receives a promotion, going from your co-worker to a title you can’t prepare for. Your boss! Even the most supportive of spouses find this change to be a hurdle to overcome. But with a few guidelines it can go much smoother than expected.

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The First Reaction

The opportunity for your spouse to advance in their career, to make a little (or a lot) more money, and be happier by feeling accomplished and appreciated is something we all want for the one we love. It is not so hard to be supportive of something that will help your family and create a happier spouse. Though the work dynamics should change a little, and that idea is a little scary.

The situations that were normal yesterday will seem inappropriate the day after promotion. Lunches together, goodbye hugs/kiss as you arrive to work and head to your separate offices/duties, smiles and small flirtations that no one notices before. Those things will not go unnoticed now that one of you is Boss.

Your companion’s new position now creates a little tension, knowing they will be responsible for critiquing your productivity and treating you equally compared to other employees. For some, pride may be wounded and you might feel left behind by your life partner, possibly making you feel less important. Even though, possibly uncomfortable at first, there are suave ways to handle this transition to make sure your relationship isn’t hindered.


How to Deal With Being Their Subordinate

As odd as it may appear, the first essential task is to treat your “new boss” like you would a new supervisor you’ve never met. Sitting down with your spouse before hand and establishing clear expectations of working together needs to be done early on. Your preexisting relationship can’t be ignored, and there are going to be eyes on you for any sign of favoritism or bias towards you from the new boss. Though your new job is pretending like you are just another one of the employees will allow others around you to feel more comfortable and less threatened.

You must accept that work will not be the same. When your spouse if your boss, there shouldn’t be couples lunches alone to get away from the office, or eating in each other’s offices.

The boss will need to establish social distance from all of their subordinates in order to more effectively do the job of assessing each of you. It isn’t comfortable knowing your husband or wife is evaluating you, but still, you can’t take it personally. This is easier said than done.

If you already know their style of working, you know their expectations. This is an advantage you have over the other employees. Treat them with the respect you would treat another boss. No. Even more respect. Insubordination or disagreeing with rules or guidelines of the boss can humiliate and demean your boss, putting them in a difficult situation. This will no doubt be the topic of argument during the drive home if it happens. Put yourself in their shoes and try to figure out what will help them be successful with their new position.

Avoid using too much PDA at all costs. A light touch on the back as you pass by them, a peck on the cheek, and using pet names are in no way acceptable since the job titles changed. This is not a negative mission! It will most likely add to the sexual tension throughout the day by not being allowed to touch or flirt, improving your quality of romance at home.

When the two of you aren’t at work, pull the plug on the work talk. It’s okay to talk about what happened at work that day, but when “quitting time” strikes, try to make time for yourselves. You don’t want the new work positions, and added stress from them, to ruin your marriage. Instead, discuss hobbies, weekend plans, future vacations, kids, etc. But as little work talk as possible.

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It Can Work With Respect

Working for your spouse can be the best thing that ever happened to your relationship or your business, if you are both open about what you need from each other in this situation. Showing respect and gratitude toward each other will allow you both to feel more confident in your jobs and in your marriage.

Call us at 1-800-945-6802 or find our closest location at The Mediation and Family Counseling Group  to help if you feel you need help determining if you are in the wrong marriage or we can help save a marriage.

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Dana and Don

Divorce Mediatiors and Marriage Experts


Divorce Mediators, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Divorce Coach, Divorce Preparation, Marriage Experts


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