Get All Access for $5/mo

The Pros and Cons of Working With Your Spouse Sharing a home, a bed and a business can be great. Or it can be challenging.

By Lisa Evans Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hanna and Mark Lim

Work with your spouse? Some say, "No way. We'd kill each other." Others say they wouldn't want any other business partner than the person with whom they share their life.

No matter which camp you fall into, mixing business and pleasure comes with many positives - and some negatives as well.

Hanna and Mark Lim are the owners of Lollaland, a line of children's products. The couple appeared on ABC's Shark Tank and shocked the Sharks when they said they'd been a couple since they were 13 years old and still wanted to be in business together.

These elementary-school sweethearts are now in their fifth year of business and say being business partners has challenged them in new ways but their relationship remains strong.

Working together, they admit has its pros and cons.

Pro: Both Partners Share the Same Goals and Values

"When you're husband and wife, you know intimately your partner's priorities," says Mark. When Mark leaves work early to coach his girls' soccer game, for example, Hanna doesn't begrudge having to stay behind to finish something because they're both working towards the same goals of raising a family and running a business. Any other business partner may not be so understanding of their partner taking on family responsibilities during business hours.

Con: Pressure on the Home Front

While Hanna was a stay-at-home mom before launching Lollaland, Mark already had experience as an entrepreneur and knew the challenges that would lie ahead if he came on board to help Hanna run the company.

"I told her, you really need to think this through. We're going to have a lot of pressure. There are going to be times when we're going to be in full disagreement. Are you going to be able to put aside the day's stresses when it's time to be husband and wife or mom and dad?" recalls Mark, who says he grilled his wife for a week straight about how the business could possibly bring out the worst in them both.

Although Mark and Hanna worried about the pressure working together could place on their relationship, the couple knew their relationship was strong enough to withstand any business pressures. Couples who lack this strong foundation could find the business tears the relationship apart.

Related: How to Keep Your Business Together When Your Marriage Is Coming Apart

Pro: Celebrating Successes Together

While many couples will celebrate each other's successes – a new promotion, or landing a new account – Hanna says working with her life partner day in and day out towards the same goals means she celebrates her husband's successes as though they were her own because, well, they are!

Con: Stress Comes Home

"When things are stressful at work; like Mark is bugging me about whether I got that press kit done and I haven't, it's difficult to come home and have that not carry over when we're running around doing baths and fixing dinner," says Hanna. No matter how much they try to keep work stress at work, Hanna and Mark admit stress does sometimes come into their home.

Pro: Deep Understanding

Couples who run businesses together have a deeper understanding of each other's emotions, strengths and weaknesses than business partners who don't also share a bed. "We understand each other's signs," says Hanna.

Building the kind of synergy Hanna and Mark have takes time although Mark says, running a business together has taught them even more about each other. "I'm still learning things about Hanna and we've been together since we were in middle school," he says.

Related: How to Make It Work When You're Married to Your Co-Founder

Lisa Evans is a health and lifestyle freelance journalist from Toronto.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not.

Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

Money & Finance

Day Traders Often Ignore This One Topic At Their Peril

Boring things — like taxes — can sometimes be highly profitable.


Want to Be More Productive Than Ever? Treat Your Personal Life Like a Work Project.

It pays to emphasize efficiency and efficacy when managing personal time.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.