Doren Gabriel, who owns London based photography firm DG Corporate, hired his girlfriend Diana Cizkova as studio manager just months after they started dating – and now the pair are sharing their advice on how other couples who work together can balance their professional and personal lives.
Among the tips that the couple recommend for working partners are making arguments worthwhile, keeping your personal lives interesting, and clearly defining both of your professional goals.
Here are Doren and Diana’s six top tips for couples who live and work together.
1. Laughter is the best medicine
It’s important when working with your partner that the pair of you have a good sense of humour, and are able to laugh off any issues that occur.
There will be problems that test your working relationship, and laughing them off is the best way to keep tensions from boiling over.
2. Keep your personal lives interesting
Spending all your professional and personal lives together means you’ll need to be more adventurous with what you do as couple once the working day is over.
“Date nights have a place and if you’re going to do them then leave the house,” they say. “Do not Netflix and chill. Planning fun experiences will create memories that last a lifetime, like boxing together or bike riding, tree top adventures, archery, boat trips, hiking or even sky diving.”
3. Clearly define both of your goals
Set out from the start what you both hope to achieve from your working relationship. This way, you’ll both have a clear understanding of each other’s goals and aspirations, and will be better prepared to work towards them.
Diana: “Success for me looks like love, security, family.”
Doren continues: ‘When you have that as your goal, those little bickering moments don’t matter. You have to take a step back and go ‘this is b******t’, you know, talking about what colour font this is or how social media needs to be addressed, when the bigger picture is more important than the little bickery stuff. And that rebalances the relationship.”
4. When you argue, make it worthwhile
The couple say: “If you’re going to have battles of the mind, then there is nothing more rewarding than a creative debate. Working through an argument means your relationship can survive anything.
“Your relationship will never be boring if you’re constantly challenging each other. If you think arguing is going to break you, think again, it may just be the bond that keeps you together.”
5. Give each other some space
“It is very important to have that freedom,” Diana says. “When I know I need to have my own time I go out with my girlfriends. I give him a breather as well when he wants to do work or go out with his friends. It’s especially important because we spend 99 per cent of our time together, at work, at home, on holiday.”
6. Blow off some steam
The couple go to boxing classes near their home in north east London, as a way of allowing each of them to realise any pent up frustrations they have about each other.
Diana says: “We signed up for boxing lessons together as one of our ways of letting off steam and after a particularly stressful day it’s been a great way to unwind and take out your frustration.”
Doren adds: “There are times at work when I want to kill her. She will challenge me when others back down and she will usually be right…
“If Diana doesn’t agree with something, she definitely hits me harder. Boxing is a great leveller and the best way we’ve found to get rid of any issues.”