Working With the One You Love

By Susan Arden, author of Tempted by Trouble

Tempted by TroubleThe other night I was watching a program about the number one voted comedy program. Can you guess which one won?

I Love Lucy. Lucy was interviewed, and she said there almost wasn’t a Desi. She held firm, wanting to work with her husband, and look what happened: years later we still rave about I Love Lucy, a show featuring a real-life married couple.

Not so far from fiction is my own life. My husband has his own business and guess who also helps out? That’s right. Yours truly. Within an environmental engineering company and what did I know about this field ten years ago? Not much. As a teacher, I had a leg up about the application of environmental protocols having taught biology. I had no knowledge of the business end. Since my husband has a degree in engineering, I took up the office occupation(s) learning how to do bookkeeping, answer client questions, schedule appointments, and type up his reports. In the beginning, I actually helped him on projects involving crawlspaces (boy, I’ve been in some real scary places with all sorts of critters!), rooftops, office buildings, attics, up on ladders, you name it.

I hold to a strong set of principles but I’m flexible in moving through chores. My husband possesses a very firm set of engineering beliefs but is also flexible in how he handles his jobs. So put us together and you can believe when belief systems are at odds sparks do fly. But the good thing is we tend to come at the business with an open attitude of getting the job done, willing to pick up and do what is needed, which is super helpful in a small family owned business.

I love that he and I talk about jobs. I think this keeps us very connected. There are moments because he’s the boss, he gets the glory and is affirmed. I no longer teach, and if I didn’t have my writing, I might wonder about my (somewhat invisible) position in our company.

Within my romance stories, there is a common theme of a working pair. The hero and heroine featured are working together as in Tempted by Trouble. Carolina is a large animal vet hired to help Matthew McLemore, a rancher to diagnosis and treat a cattle disease plaguing his herds. In other stories, the pair is part of an office romance. Do the hero and heroine butt heads? Yes. Why? In Tempted, Carolina seeks the expertise of a vet she once dated. Matt and Carolina must come to terms with their new romance and how to incorporate past relationships. That happens in real life and can be one of the cons of working together with the one you love. It all boils down to crossing personal boundaries and how to maintain a professional relationship when afterhours the relationship reverts back to oh-so-personal.

It takes balance and a keen desire for success as well as respecting your significant other because come five o’clock you’re both ending up at the same stop. Working together can be challenging, but I believe the rewards are so sweet.

Have you had a romantic relationship with someone you work with? Are there office romances that you know about that have worked out well? Let us know.

10 thoughts on “Working With the One You Love

  1. elleyarden

    Hi, Susan! I’ve never been involved in an office romance, and the ones I’ve heard about were always seedy (usually involving infidelity). I can’t imagine working with my husband. We approach things from opposite sides of the spectrum, and I think it would get old day after day. 🙂 Good luck with your release! Elley

    1. Susan Arden

      Hi Elley,
      Oh the places that man has taken me, you just couldn’t believe. But, he’s absolutely a prize. Things might stagnate if the work was routine. Luckily, each day is a different adventure. Thank you for stopping by.
      Susan

  2. Christine S. Feldman

    Sounds like you and your husband have an interesting backstory of your own (I don’t think my husband could EVER talk me into going in to a crawlspace; I have too vivid an imagination about what might lurk there…) So do you think a little bit of you and your sweetie may have trickled into your characters?

  3. Susan Arden

    Christine,
    Believe it or not, I started crawling into strange places long ago. I’ve owned all sorts of reptiles and amphibians as a science teacher and don’t fear animals. And you’ve outed me! Yes I believe an author’s life trickles (sometimes in a torrent) into the story and characters. Thank you for your keen question.
    Susan

  4. synithiaw

    Another environmental person! Yay!

    But on your point, I met my hubby at work. We no long work for the same company, but we made it work by trying to keep the personal stuff out of the office. I miss working with him bc I lost my carpool partner. I think office romances can work if boundaries are established and it doesn’t involve infidelity, as someone mentioned earlier.

  5. RCross

    Hi Susan!
    Never had an “office romance” but I know plenty of people who met through work. My husband is working for me now and building a website with his mad computer skills. We have our share of left brain vs. right brain conflicts but its mostly smooth sailing.

  6. Susan Arden

    Hey Synithia,
    Yep. We’re all about the environment. Glad to know you are too. LOL about the carpool. I’m lucky my husband is the salt of the Earth. Yes to boundaries. And yes to personalities that mesh. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Susan Arden

      Hi RCRoss,
      Sounds like there’s humor in what you say and that is a great advantage…to be able to laugh. Either in the moment, or hindsight. The memories, the chanllenging moments that define, are the glue in our relationship. Maybe not perfect, but we met those difficulties together. I believe everyone in a marriage understands the value of a solid foundation. Good luck in website creation, to building the moment both now and in the futiure!

  7. knoxlibrarian

    Just wanted to contribute my 2 cents on work relationships. In general, I believe that it is not a good idea to go looking for romance in the workplace. BUT my husband and I actually worked together in the same school before we were married. We had been dating for about 5 years by the time we were offered the opportunity to teach English in South Korea for a year. With few prospects at home, and wanderlust burning in our souls, we simply could not refuse. Our work relationship was great because our coworkers were supportive of our relationship. At that point most of the trivial neuroses involved with “dating” was gone, we were engaged, and we knew how to handle ourselves in public. Our workplace romance was definitely sweet and not spicy.

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