HomeEditorial CommentWhy it is not advisable for couples to work together

Why it is not advisable for couples to work together

The new thinking is that spouses should not work together. A man and his wife should work separately so that each one of them enjoys his/her independence. There are dangers associated with working together as husband and wife. 

The Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

They can work together just for a while, or as one of them looks for work elsewhere. There is need to work in different fields so that you have the freedom of working with workmates without your relationship getting in the way. While working together brings the two of you together, co-workers may find it difficult to relate to the two of you in your official capacities and as a couple.

It is workable in some instances, for example in teaching. A couple can be at one school and find it easy to work together and have fun. They can share accommodation and other amenities. The profession offers the convenience of staying and working together. It makes bonding easy. That arrangement gives comfort and looking after children is made easy. The family feels safe together.  Problems may arise when one gets promoted. If the woman gets the promotion, it is notch higher for the family, but this can be very demeaning to the husband who might not be able to come to terms with his wife’s new status. 

With or without the challenges of promotion, the couple is required to maintain a professional relationship at work.  This is very tough, but it can be done.  There is no need for one to shy away from the other because of a promotion.  As long as the promotion is on merit, there shouldn’t be any problems both in the family and at work.

Work in the health sector also allows couples to live together and work separately, say in a hospital.  Suppose you are working in the same place and one of you gets promoted, you can accept the new post yet opt to remain in your allocated house. This gives the impression that you are humble, if you choose to remain in the same house you lived in when you got promoted. 

Some couples work in the industrial sites and may happen to do the same job. They travel to work together. Such couples must respect boundaries and not encroach onto each other’s work space.

A typical example is what happened recently to the former first lady Grace Mugabe. She wanted to compete with her husband, Robert Mugabe. While there is nothing wrong in aspiring to do what your husband is doing, you have to be very strong to convince people that you have the capacity.

The end result was no one wanted to support the wife because of her actions. People just turned into spectators and there was no sympathy for what befell Grace. Now both the husband and wife have been retired to their home because they failed to negotiate their way as the wife sought power.  It was clear she was fighting to be where the husband was, but she lacked the tact and decorum to weave her way to the throne.

So many women have brought down their husbands because they do not look at the hazards of trying to work together. Grace wanted the husband to leave the post for her even if it meant creating a dynasty.  She took a lot of things for granted as she pushed and shoved people to land the coveted prize.

There is much to it than just working together. Everybody is working to succeed in his or her career. It must come as a shock to find out the one vying for your post is your spouse.  If your spouse wants your post, it is very difficult to work at cross purposes with your husband or your wife.  The load is more damning if it’s the wife who wants to grab the post. 

To be safe, work as far apart from each other as possible, otherwise you pay heavily for working together in this world of competition.  Let your own prowess take you to the greater heights of growth. We are where we are not because someone backed us, but because we worked for it without anyone pushing us.  So, no man or woman should be given what they do not deserve because they are in it because of their partner.  Work towards your own goal without compromising those that are close to you.

There is no need to grab power by taking advantage of proximity to it. Grace should have worked her way up without being backed by the husband, mindful of the fact that she was eventually going to be by herself after the husband retired. She had to prove her acumen and political shrewdness without being unnecessarily disrespectful. Now people use her as an example of how a wife can bring down a husband if both of them are not careful.

Let those with ears hear.

l Levee Kadenge is a theologian based at United Theological College.  He can be contacted at leveekadenge@gmail.com.

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