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For Better or Worse

Look no further for a business partner. You may already have a perfect match--your spouse.

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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Meeting someone special, falling in love, getting engaged, planning a wedding, living the everyday reality of a marriage. Millions of Americans have taken the plunge until death do us part. In fact, according to Census data, there were 57 million married couple households in 2003. These couples said vows promising to love, honor and cherish. But for some of these couples, there has been one additional wedding caveat: They've decided to start a business with their spouse.

And while it is often said that marriage is hard work, what happens when you decide to combine the work of your marriage with the work of starting a new business? First, "[Don't assume], 'Oh, we get along well in our family life, so we'll get along well in our business together,'" says Bob Murray, who, along with his wife, Alicia Fortinberry, runs Fortinberry-Murray Consulting, a coaching business that specializes in helping people build solid relationships within a business setting. "Running a business together and being a family are two different things," he says.

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