How We Work Together & Stay Happily Married Part 1

Ever since we met, Craig and I had the same employer.  If you read our story on a previous post, you know that we used to work at Victory World Church.  That’s where we met and that’s where we worked.  We got married there too!  He was the videographer and I was the youth pastor’s admin assistant.  After we got married, we drove to work and back everyday, ate lunch almost everyday together, had the same friends, did the same thing ALL.THE.TIME. The dynamics were a bit different then compared to now in that we were in different departments at our church, so we didn’t see each other ALL day and we worked on different things.  But NOW?  After we went full time just with our business, we officially became folks who “work from home.”  Now, we see each other 24/7.  Well, most of the time anyways… We do EVERYTHING together.  When we don’t have shoots, we stay home in our PJ’s doing our own things for the business, our kids, our home, etc… (Stay tuned for another blog post on the details of what our roles are in our business!).

We love working together.  We truly, sincerely, TOTALLY love it.  We can’t imagine working in any other way.  We are BEST friends… And no, I don’t get sick of him.  In fact, even though we pretty much see each other all the time, when he’s out for a meeting or a shoot, I do, really do miss him and can’t wait til he gets home.  I tend to get lazy when he’s not around… the motivation is just not there.  That’s a good thing… But, as you know, there are pros and cons to everything… because we are around each other all the time, the probability or the tendency to argue is higher than an average couple.  I mean, mathematically, it totally makes sense, right?  Yes, we argue, guys.  Like a lot!  We argue ALL THE TIME.  Craig’s personality is on the extreme of one side and I’m on the extreme of the other side.  We are COMPLETE opposites.  Oh yes, I agree with you that opposites attract and we definitely balance each other out, but we do have differences that can cause some friction at times when we work together.

To me, a healthy married couple is not one that doesn’t argue.  C’mon… we are human beings and we will have conflicts, but knowing how to resolve those conflicts and come out of that argument a better person than when you entered it is what makes a healthy marriage.  So, we decided to go more personal today because our marriage is a big part of our business and many ask about it.  I can’t write about everything in one blog post, but here’s a list of boundaries that we keep to protect our marriage and keep it healthy.  Before you read this, please know that we don’t keep these boundaries perfectly.  Nothing is perfect in our lives… but, with these guidelines in place, we know that when one of us slip out of it, we have this to get back us on track.  So, here we go…

1. We respect each other’s differences

Do you know your spouse’s personality?  Do you understand it?  Appreciate it?  Do you know their love language?  This is KEY to knowing HOW to love your spouse. I know that we have to “love one another”, but HOW?  For me, this is a great practical tool to use on a daily basis to intentionally remind myself to respect the way God designed my husband and that I’m designed in a different way and that there’s a purpose in those differences for us to become a team. You can’t become a team with someone who is the same as you. So, over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate our differences and learn to allow those differences to empower our marriage and business.

For example, when Craig works, he has music on, a movie on, his phone on, his iPad on, his watch on all the while editing.  Me?  I need dead silence. When I have to get something done, I need to be in a quiet room, alone and I won’t leave there until I’m completely finished.  That’s the way I focus.  Let me tell you… we have argued about this many times.  Because for someone like me, when I see someone work like the way Craig does, all I can think is that he’s not getting anything done.  Because how can you?  How can you focus in all that chaos?  But, that’s my perspective.  He’s thinking the same way about me… How can she work when there is no noise? Until… we went to a marriage retreat over 2 years ago.  There, Zach and Jody were speaking on work environments and when they described their differences, our jaws just dropped.  Zach was JUST like Craig and Jody was just like me and they had the same problem.  My mind was blown.  I literally could not believe that another person on this earth got work done like the way my husband did.  I didn’t know that other people like that existed.  It was like having a revelation, you guys… This changed our lives!  Our marriage!  I literally said to my husband, “I’m so sorry for doubting you all these years…. you really are getting work done.” His response…. he just nodded his head.

So… what we learned and changed from this was… When Craig knows I’m working, he knows that he can’t bother me unless there’s no option. I can NOT multitask.  I focus on one thing, get it done, and go on to my next goal for the day.  When Craig is working, I no longer criticize the ‘environment’ that he needs.  He closes the door to our office, blast his music, watches a movie, and edits all at the same time.  I know… don’t ask…  I just know that that works for him, so let the man be.   I have to respect it.  That’s the way God created him… I have to understand that we’re all different and need different working environments.  You may be asking, “Where is your office?”  Oh, our dream is to have separate offices one day only because of what we just talked about.  But, because we just have one right now, so when I’m in the office too, he puts head phones on to block the sound for me.  And, my desk is facing the opposite way of his so that I don’t get distracted from all the monitors. But even then, sometimes, that’s distracting for me, so if there are certain things I need to get serious about, I just go to our room with my laptop and type away.  It’s funny because while we are working, there are many things we have to run by each other.  So, we constantly text each other on our laptop using iMessage to get questions answered.  Sometimes we do of course have face to face meetings, but when we both have tasks, that is the most efficient way for us.

2. We give each other space

Ok, so when you work from home, you can easily get this disease called, “cabin fever.”  I get it worse than Craig because he still goes out often to shoots and meetings, whereas for me, I just go to a handful of those because of our kiddos.  But even for Craig when he’s out, it’s still work… My point is… sometimes, my man needs man time.  Especially during peak seasons like this where he’s just in front of the monitor for HOURS editing, your eyes start feeling like they can’t function anymore, the man needs some space, you know?  So, if he needs a little break here and there playing a video game or whatever, I let him.  If a friend wants to watch a movie, I happily let the man go.  But likewise, if I want to have lunch with a friend or if I just need some Korean food (yes, this is a serious need for me… hehe) for lunch that day, he does that for me. But, he does it happily… We respect the guy time he needs and the girl time I need and that’s always been very healthy in our marriage.


3. We agree to disagree until the time is right

You may ask, “What if you guys argue at a wedding while shooting together?”  Trust me, we have pushed the wrong button on each other at weddings before, but that’s one of the places where we have to just “hold that thought” until we are in an appropriate place to continue the discussion.  We are and have to be professionals.  We have to control our emotions.  I believe that behavior is a choice that you make and you have control over that.  We literally say to each other, “Ok, we will talk about it later”, move on and continue to perform well and with excellence while we are shooting.  No one would ever know that anything happened.  Because again, we are professionals.  Can you imagine if we didn’t do this?  We would for sure be on youtube looking like fools on a viral video over a very shameful behavior.  And, I do not ever want to become famous that way.    Now, when that “later” comes, trust me, we go at it.  We do that until it is resolved.  Until we both understand where each other is coming from.  Until we are at a point where we can BOTH say “I’m sorry”.  Until we can both forgive one another.  We can then move on… We believe in the verse, “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath” and that if you do not do this, you will have a hardened and bitter heart.  And, I don’t want to go there… I do not want my heart to be at that state.  God gives us commands for a reason and they are for our own good and this is something we take seriously.

(Just in case you’re wondering, we dressed as Casey and Candice Neistat for Halloween above.)

(Just in case you’re wondering, we dressed as Casey and Candice Neistat for Halloween above.)

4.  We forgive each other

Hey, we all screw up.  It’s not a big deal… so, forgive and forget and move on.  That’s all I gotta say about that. 

5.  We take a day off

This… THIS!  We learned this the hard way…. This has not been a part of our lives until about 3 years ago.  I am so thankful to have had amazing church leaders who have taught us the truth so honestly in a loving way.  When we learned about taking a sabbath and why and what God has to say about it, it blew my mind!  I used to be so proud of myself for working ALL THE TIME because I saw myself as someone who “works hard” and is someone who “goes after her dreams.”  Um no… Yes, work hard and do your best, but we are not called to be workaholics (which we have been in different seasons) nor are we slaves to our business.  I don’t want to work like a busy bee and then die.  So… we take one day off every week.  Number 1 reason for that is because it’s one of God’s commands.  Even Jesus took a day off!  At first, it was surprising as to how hard it was to ‘not work’.  It took some time to get used to it. More than ‘physically’ not working, it was hard for us to stop working in our minds.  You know what I mean?  Our minds are constantly running with our to do list and ideas.  Did I email this person back or did I blog this or wait… when are taxes due again?  Or did I post that on IG today?  I mean, the list goes on and on and on…. it just never ends!  But, we had to learn to ‘turn things off’.  So, for example, Craig doesn’t edit that day.  I don’t schedule any meetings or shoots for him that day.  I don’t post on social media, I don’t check my emails.  We do NOTHING that’s related to work.  We focus on each other, have some time with the Lord and then our kids.   We realized that we can’t allow our business to control us.  We have to control it.

Here’s the deal.  When your business partner is your spouse, guess what?  You can’t fire them.  Firing them would end up in divorce which is a big no, no and that is not an option in our household.  Working together and running a business together adds on a whole new dynamic to your marriage that is unlike other marriages. You have to be that much more intentional with every action you take with your spouse.  It’s hard like anything else in life, but it’s fun too!  I hope that this blog post didn’t just focus on the bad and difficult parts of our lives or anything like that because we really do love the lifestyle that we’ve been blessed to have and love what we do.  Our intention was to show that our job isn’t as glamorous as people may think.  We don’t “just take pictures” for a living.  It’s a business just like any other business and it’s a lot of work.  We want to set realistic views on what’s it’s really like being a “husband and wife with 3 children” wedding photographers.  This blog only covered our marriage part so what goes on with our children on top of all this and everything else in life can be quite overwhelming at times. But, because we work together as a team with Jesus as the center, He strengthens us to conquer it all and well.  As I was writing this blog, it actually became so long that we are going to have a part 2 so that I don’t lose your attention.    So, come back for part 2 next week!  Thx so much you guys and see you on FacebookInstagram and IG Stories.  We love you all and hope that this has helped especially for those who are thinking of running a photography business as a married couple.

(Photo Credit:  David Schumann Photography)