Advice For Couples Who Work Together

I love working together with my husband. In fact, we talked about working together while we were dating, enthusiastic at the thought of it. We started out working together doing international missions, later we started a photography business together, and now we work together on the Marriage After God Podcast which has been an incredible experience! But working together is not always easy, even and maybe especially when its your spouse! We often face conflict as we work together, but we are quick to reconcile because we know the value and ministry in working together.

There are many different ways a husband and wife work together. Whether it is in a job/career, raising their children, or doing things around the house, we need to know how to work together efficiently and joyfully. In this episode of Marriage After God we discuss how a husband and wife can work together with hearts aligned, intentional in the way they interact, for the purpose of God’s will to be done through them. We hope this encourages you today!

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– Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, with Marriage After God.

– Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

– And today we’re gonna share some advice for couples who work together. Hey, thanks for joining us this week. As always wanna invite you to subscribe to our channel so that you get notified every time we upload a new episode.

– We also wanna encourage you to share this episode with your married couple friends. If you have friends that also work together this would be a great episode to just share with them so that they can be encouraged as well.

– So, let’s start off with a question. What’s one of your favorite things about working with me?

– Yeah, I was actually really excited about doing this episode because we’ve been working together for our whole relationship I feel like.

– Well, yeah, we got married and went straight to the mission field and lived in a tent with each other for four months.

– Yeah, so we did ministry work together and then along the way have transitioned from work to like actual jobs together, to you working and me being at home with the kids and.

– Being in a photography business together.

– Yeah, now we’re back in ministry together. And so, we’ve had a lotta different seasons of different types of working together and I would say that my favorite thing about working together with you is the time that we get to spend collaborating and sharing ideas and then executing them and seeing how they unfold as we pursue them. What would you say is one of your favorite things about working with me?

– Well, first of all, I love that it was pretty much my only request. I said, when we, you know, when we got married, when I asked you to be my wife, was you know, whatever we do I wanna do it together and we have been doing that. We’ve been, yeah there were seasons where we worked at separate jobs, but even in those seasons we did things together, we had you know our photography business together. We did missions work together and so, I just, I love that that we said we’re gonna do whatever it is we’re gonna do and we’re gonna do it together and we’ve been doing that. The second thing is you know, the fact that we do everything together, it’s awesome because whatever it is we’re doing it’s ours.

– Yep.

– It’s not mine and you get to participate. It’s not yours and I get to participate. It’s ours. What we build, we build together and we build it for our family and it’s ours and we get to put our name on it and I just think that’s awesome.

– I love that, too. So, along the way, through all of our experiences, you’ve had a lot with me, what is something that you would say has been a hangup or something that’s been hard as we pursue working together?

– Definitely our different personality traits that we’ve had to like live with and learn about and grow in over the years. Like, those have been things that you know, go against us at times, not as much as I think it could have, but it definitely has a times.

– I think we’ve gotten better too over the years.

– And then, definitely, expectations.

– That’s what I was gonna say, if you had asked me, that’s what I was gonna say.

– Have incorrect expectations or false expectations.

– Or high expectations.

– Or too high of expectations.

– ‘Cause I feel like I do that. I feel like I put some of my expectations way up here when in reality there’s, it’s not necessary, like I don’t need to do that.

– The other problem is uncommunicated expectations.

– Yeah, I do that too.

– So, I’m expecting something to go this way, this way and this way and you have no clue I’m expecting that.

– Yeah, and I’m over here expecting things that I haven’t communicated to you and that’s usually when we experience problems.

– We butt heads and what we’re trying to do doesn’t work and we’re like, why is this not working? So, I would say unmet expectations, uncommunicated expectations and wrong expectations.

– That’s all really good.

– Those are the hard things.

– I would agree.

– A tip, to start off with is communicate your expectations well and have real expectations, realistic ones, that you guys are on the same page with because it’s just gonna only hurt you, it’s gonna hurt your spouse if you’re expecting one thing and they are expecting another and you guys are going for those at the same time and it’s like, what? You should have known. And, it’s impossible ’cause we don’t read minds.

– That can be really hard, so I love that you brought up expectations right off the bat ’cause that’s really important.

– Yeah, I remember we used to, we, when we would have arguments about this, I would tell you ’cause Jennifer would have an expectation about something and would assume that I knew what the expectation was and I’m like, I cannot read your mind. You’re like, well, you should be able to read my mind. So, it just, that’s the nature is we can’t read each other’s minds and so, we just have to use our mouths, or write it down and say what we’re expecting and then there can actually be a discussion about it like, well actually that expectation’s not gonna work because of this or this, or that expectation’s too low. Actually why don’t we go you know, even beyond that?

– Okay, so you’ve touched on communication and so I just wanna dig a little bit deeper into this, so communication is so important. When a husband and wife are working together because one, to weed out these high expectations or false expectations or uncommunicated expectations, but there’s also a whole bunch of other reasons why communication is important and I would say the biggest thing is just as you practice good, clear, transparent communication you actually get better over time, wouldn’t you say?

– Yeah, you know, I always think of the Tower of Babel, the story in the Old Testament and it’s this crazy story, it’s after the flood and the whole world is like working together and they all speak one language and God says something pretty remarkable. He says, you know, there’s nothing that they won’t accomplish. And so, what he does is he scatters them, he confuses their languages and he separates them and you know, that’s where we believe that we get all these, you know, the continents and people groups and different languages, but what was amazing is that God said that there was nothing that they couldn’t accomplish because they were all working together in one language and they can communicate so well. And so, take that same power.

– Put it in context to marriage.

– Yeah, put it in context to marriage, under the control of the Holy Spirit, of course. How much more can you get done in your life, in your business, in your parenting, in your work, whatever it is, if the communication channels are just so open and clear and what happens is you slowly more and more get on the same page and you think the same, as the Bible tells us to do as a church. It tells us to be in one mind, one spirit, one heart. Now you know, as a representation of the church, you know, Christ and the church in our marriage, the same thing happens. One mind, one spirit, one heart, moving in the same direction for the same purpose.

– That’s so good. Okay, so as you’re talking about unity and there’s power in unity, why don’t you read the verse that we have for today?

– Yeah so, in Ecclesiastes, Chapter Four, it’s actually a verse that I had inscribed on the inside of your first wedding ring that I got for you.

– And when he, real quick, when he says first wedding ring it’s because it didn’t have a really good fit and so I ended up having another one on our three year anniversary and then another one on our 10, so the one that I have now is my wedding ring.

– Yeah, I actually did the brave thing and I picked out a wedding ring without ever asking Jennifer.

– And it was really precious. It was a beautiful ring. It just, it was a tension setting and it was kind of thick and it hurt my finger, so I don’t use that one any more.

– But, you still have it.

– I still have it.

– And so, this is what is inscribed on the inside. So, we’re gonna start in verse nine and then I’ll get to the verse that we have inscribed on the inside of your ring. And it says, two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him, a threefold cord is not quickly broken. So, on the inside of the ring it says, a three fold cord is not quickly broken. And, the reason I put that in there is because like I said, I want whatever we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do together.

– And for God.

– And for God. And, God was gonna be the third cord, our creator, our master, our Lord and he’s gonna bind us together into a strong cord that’s used for his glory, his goodness and his will and it was gonna hold us together. And so, the power that is in the unity, you know, just like we talked about in the Tower of Babel, the power that was in their unity, it still exists when a people come together. You know, and the Bible, the Bible over and over again tells the body of Christ to be in one mind and one spirit and in unity and oneness because there’s power and authority in that, especially when it’s being controlled and run by the Holy Spirit, right. And so, that’s what our marriage is supposed to be. And so, when we come together, whatever it is we’re doing, you know, our jobs, our writing, you know, our parenting, the more unified we are, the more one we are, the more strong we are and the more safe we are from the dangers of the world and from our enemy, so.

– It’s really good and when I think about it I think of how this plays out with teams. So, like sports teams or any sort of teammanship, yeah so, actually I was gonna ask you to share a little bit about that of how important it is to be on the same team and you’ve shared this in other episodes before where you have said so many times to me and I’ve been able to encourage the same with you is reminding each other, hey, we’re on the same team.

– Yeah, so with any sport, any team sport it’s always the same. The teams that work the best together, that everyone’s playing their role, they’re doing what they’re being told to do, you know, they’re following the plan and everyone’s working together and not working against each other, that’s usually when the teams win. Usually teams lose when there’s a breakdown in the team. You know, someone went off and did their own thing, someone didn’t follow their.

– There’s the ball hog, no one’s communicating or.

– So, that’s when there’s a breakdown and that’s when you find losses and injuries and you know, things don’t go the right way. So, you know, we use the word team in our marriage is recognizing that we’re a team and you know, so many times there’s been times where we you know, we get into an argument and we’re just frustrated with each other, you know, one of us says, remember we’re on the same team and what it does is it quickly takes us out of this like, oh you’re my enemy right now, and makes us remember like, oh wait, you’re not my enemy. I know you even say that sometimes, I’m not your enemy.

– Yeah, I know that phrase that we’re on the same team has helped me in a lot of ways because so often I think even if I was trying to achieve something for us and it’s not going the way that I planned or wanted it to go, it affects me and it frustrates me, but the moment you say, we’re on the same team, I remember who it’s for. It’s not for me, it’s for us, and so, even if that, that goal is sitting there or you know, that thing that we wanna try and achieve and I’m going after it, but not next to you, it doesn’t matter, it’s like.

– Well, you recognize, I recognize quickly that we’re doing it on our own only ad we’re leaving our partner behind, you know, our teammate behind and you know, it pulls us back in, be like wait, wait, we’re on a team, like I’m not chasing my own dream, we’re chasing our dream or our business or whatever it is.

– So, just to encourage those listening, like even if you guys are working together no matter in what facet, like you said, whether it’s parenting or home projects or a career, you’re supporting one another, if you are working together as a husband and wife, the work itself is not more important than your marriage relationship. The goal of what you’re trying to achieve is never more of a priority than what it takes to get there together.

– And, this makes me actually think about when a husband and wife aren’t on the same team and you actually see this a lot in parenting. You know, the wife and the mother is raising the children a certain way and the husband’s gone all day or something and then he comes in and what happens is because they’re not on a team, they’re not communicating, the mom might see the father, the husband as a enemy to what she’s doing.

– ‘Cause he does it a different way.

– He’s gonna, no, you’re coming into my zone. This is my zone, I’m trying to accomplish this and all you’re doing is getting in the way and it’s amazing how fast things change when you actually recognize you’re on a team because then, even if the, your spouse, it’s the husband in this scenario, is doing something different, then the communication starts. Like hey, actually all day today I was doing this. This is what I’ve been trying to accomplish with this and then, the husband’s like, oh, let me support in this way, when I come home I’ll be like, how was that today? So, if you’re not on the same team then almost anything your spouse does when they’re not on your team with you is almost gonna seem like they’re coming against your goals. So, get on the same team, get on the same page and ask God to give you the same goals.

– That’s good.

– You know, and communicate about ’em.

– So, we’re talking about being on the same team and I think an important aspect of this is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. So, you know, you have your own set of strengths and weaknesses and I have my own set and I think it’s important as a couple to know and understand both of each others in order to work together efficiently and effectively.

– Yeah, in business specifically, we can talk about our business. I have always been much more apt at technology you know, the formatting of the books, the creativity, the marketing, the web development stuff, all of the technical stuff and you’re like, I have no interest in any of that. It would actually go against our goals if I, if I was like playing this fairness game and saying, I’m always designing and coding the websites.

– You do some. I’d be like, I don’t even know where to start.

– Yeah, she would okay, and we wouldn’t get anywhere.

– It would take me five times longer, yes.

– We would lose.

– We would lose.

– So, recognizing that, that there is differences in our abilities, but also like so if there is stuff that I might be able to accomplish that you might be good at, recognizing that because I am good and do all of the heavy lifting on other things that there can be a balance. I mean, like oh, I’m not gonna expect you to just take on my roles just because I know you can because you do have these roles, unless there is a season that that needs to happen, but that there’s communication that happens before then.

– I was just gonna say communication is so important there.

– So, both of you you know, recognizing what you’re strong at and playing hard into those giftings.

– Yeah, and the more that you study each other and understand each others strengths and weaknesses you can actually prepare and plan around those. Like, you can kinda like what you were saying, going in and out of seasons of saying and communicating hey, this is what needs to get done. How do you feel about taking that on? Or, I think I should take this on because you know, XYZ, and I think that when you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses you play to them for the benefit of the marriage.

– Yeah, and when both spouses are operating in their giftings together in unity, but they’re just like, I’m gonna do my best at this, then you start seeing like huge victories and you see huge unity and just momentum and things look like they’re working well, go ahead.

– No, you go ahead.

– I was gonna say, the other thing to think about with this is, to not be in a mindset of no, that’s your thing and I’m not gonna ever do it, unless they absolutely can’t. Like you wouldn’t be able to go in and just start coding stuff, but over the years you’ve learned a lot.

– I have learned a lot.

– Just from being willing and watching over my shoulder or me teaching you something and you’ve been able to do a lot of stuff that you weren’t able to do before because you were not shut off like no, I’m not gonna touch that. That’s your thing, I’m not gonna do that.

– No, that’s a really cool testament to when we do play to our strengths and weaknesses we grow in them and.

– We grow in our weaknesses also.

– Right, I was just gonna say we have opportunities where we experience growth so that years down the line we can see that growth and be encouraged by it and that’s really cool. So, when I almost interrupted you earlier, one thing that I was just gonna say is, when you do you know, work to your positions and what you’re good at and you experience those victories it’s really encouraging to your heart and because your heart is in the right place you end up serving each other. Wouldn’t you say that we’ve, we’ve served each other along the way just amidst all the work that we’ve been doing because our hearts have been in the right place.

– Well, a good example of this is, so you’re, I would say you’re the biggest writer in our relationship. So, in our business you do heavy lifting on the writing side of things, but I also know that you need uninterrupted quiet time to just really get into writing. You flourish the best when you’re just like, all I’m gonna do right now is sit down and write, no one’s gonna bother me. And so, what I’ll do is I’ll say I’m gonna take the kids, I’m gonna go, you have three hours, four hours and call me when you’re done. I mean, and sometimes it even goes beyond that or other times I’m like hey, I need to get you early, but you know knowing how we work.

– Knowing what we need.

– And what we need to be the most efficient because again I’m thinking team. Yeah, this is gonna be hard for me because I’m not used to this, but I can do it and by me doing this is gonna amplify what you’re able to accomplish.

– That’s good. That’s a really good point and you know, earlier you mentioned the conditions of our hearts and if we are kind of going at it alone, like solo, like I’m just chasing this thing over here, my heart’s not gonna be willing to serve you in any of that because it’s gonna be self serving ’cause it’s all about what I have to get done or what I need versus how can we do this together as a team and thereby serving each other. So, I think one aspect of working together that I really love is just that by nature we end up serving each other.

– So, you know, the last tip I wanna bring out in this idea of working together is not necessarily about the thing that we’re doing, so there’s a plethora of things that you know, these couples are doing together you know, work wise or parenting or whatever it is, but the, it’s this idea is not about what they’re doing, but it’s about why they’re doing it and how they’re doing it and you know, at the end of the day we always bring this up, we’re a marriage after God. Our whole purpose in life is to be a witness in this world. And so, there’s something powerful to the outside world, to unbelievers, when they see a husband and wife working well together, in whatever it is they’re doing. When they see us and they’re like how do they do that ’cause that’s not normal, that’s not, it’s not common in the secular world for a husband and wife to be at so much peace and power together and working together so well. It does happen, but it’s not common. And, you know seeing a couple you know, working with each other’s strengths and encouraging each other, lifting each other up and building something amazing together and working for the same goal for the same purpose with the same heart, right, in the same direction. And so, I just wanted to bring up this idea that how you work with your spouse and how you interact with them is being a witness in the world.

– That’s so good.

– You know, when people see how you guys are pulling it off and then, not just in the one area, but in everything like parenting and your work and you know life, you know home life. You know, we want it to be a message to the world. They wanna be an example.

– Also, it makes that process of, like you said, how you’re doing it and what it takes to get there so much more important than the actual work that gets accomplished at the end.

– Exactly, because it could be easy to have the mask and like all they see is the fruit of the work, but they don’t see the fruit of how you work. And so, all of a sudden when they see how you work and they’re like oh, I don’t like that. Or, they can say like wow, not only is what they’re creating good, but they also, like it’s amazing how they work together. It’s a pretty incredible testimony. So, we just wanna encourage you, if you’re working with your spouse, if you’re building something, a business or if it’s just parenting or if it’s your home life or whatever it is, be in unity, be in one mind, be in one spirit and do it for God’s glory. There’s a scripture that we’re gonna read in Colossians that just highlights this perfectly.

– So, in Colossians Three, verse 23 through 24, it says, whatever you do work heartily as for the Lord and not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

– Yeah, so this is in context of you know, it was talking about bond servants that are working for a master and you know in today’s language it might be like your boss ’cause we don’t have bond servants anymore you know, so, but it’s still like universal in that in the way we are called to work at whatever we do. It says, whatever you do, do it for the Lord. And, to recognize that we’re doing it to please him.

– I was gonna say it’s like God saying, hey remember, you and me, we’re on the same team. Remember you, me and your spouse, we’re all on the same team.

– A cord of three strings is not quickly broken. And so, just recognizing that as a ministry in the world and in your marriage and in your family, that the way you work together, the way you communicate, the way you accomplish the tasks and the things that God’s placed in your life is a witness and it pleases God when we do it for him and we don’t do it for ourselves and I don’t say like, oh, this is only working as long as you serve me and make it work for me. No, I say, I’m gonna work hard because I wanna please my Father in heaven. So, we just hope this encouraged you today. If you are like us and you work with your spouse I just pray that you consider these things. Open up the Bible, read some scriptures about this, about working hard, about good integrity and how to walk with your spouse in this life and just remember as a marriage after God, we’re doing it for him and whatever we do we’re working for him. And so, we hope you enjoyed this and we pray that you would share this with someone that could use this and we’ll see you next time.

– [Announcer] Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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