DON’T DO IT.
That’s my initial gut reaction whenever someone asks me whether it’s wise to work with a spouse or family member.
My wife and I have been running our startup together for the past five years; don’t get me wrong, we love it! We enjoy the challenge of building a business together and appreciate the unique value that each of us brings to our work. Our work life is a huge source of joy in our marriage.
But here’s the truth: you can truly love someone as a person, but still be incompatible with him or her as a professional.
Not being able to work with someone you love says absolutely nothing about the strength of your relationship to that person. Personal complementarity does not correlate directly with professional complementarity. When conflicts arise with your spouse in a professional setting, you risk having those issues bleed into your personal life as well. For that reason, I believe that it’s generally too risky to work with a loved one because the cost of failure could be the failure of your relationship (how much is that worth to you?).
Nevertheless, if you still want to see whether you and your spouse can make it as a startup team, consider the following scenarios to test your professional complementarity.