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Under Pressure

Will your marriage survive both of you working at home? Yes, if you work on your communication skills, too.
June 1, 2003

Q: In a few weeks, my husband will begin working at home full time, just like I do. We will have separate offices, but they will be next to each other. Can you provide us with a list of "rules to work by" to avoid conflict between us? Pretending the other is not there is my first idea.

Name withheld

A: Pretending your spouse is not next door will be difficult at best and will lead to major discord at worst. The chances are overwhelming you will sometimes hear one another on the phone, or one of you will want something from the other, while the other wants to be undisturbed. The potential problems you identify now can help you develop a practical plan to guard against things like noise and to decide how you're going to handle the housecleaning, meals and child care (if applicable). Here are some guidelines to start with:

Remember, love keeps you together. Don't dissolve it with acid remarks. Keep the bond strong with kindness toward one another.

Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is Why Aren't You Your Own Boss? Leaping Over the Obstacles That Stand Between You and Your Dream. Send them your start-up questions at www.workingfromhome.comor in care of Entrepreneur.