As wedding season is upon us, I am thinking about the many weddings Schaffer has catered these past 11 years in business. I always hope that each of these marriages succeed and wish the couples strength and resilience. Many couples we have celebrated with over the years have remained strong and we love hearing from them.
I am always concerned about the couples that say, “I don’t think I could ever work with my spouse”, when I tell them my husband and I are business partners. This seems like a light and funny thing to say at a wedding tasting, but it is a harbinger for a bigger issue: a couple’s grit. Do you have what it takes to survive life’s challenges? A couple’s strength, stamina and true partnership will define their future.
My husband and I have built a life and business and I have never (well almost never) regretted it. We have experienced our fair share of ups and downs, and have weathered many storms, but we chose this life and we feel very lucky to be here together. When we first decided to open our business, it was the same year our son was born and we both left the security of our full-time chef positions. We were heading into uncharted territory and excited and scared as we signed our first commercial lease. Many mornings we would arrive at our 1000 square foot kitchen in Venice and sit in silence with only the clock ticking. When I think about those days, I am so grateful we took the plunge, but I do not miss that time. The stakes were high and our stress levels were through the roof - this was our one shot at being self-employed and changing our career paths. We often talk about that time and wonder how we endured and how we remained married? All of our success or failure was ours alone and we put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to make it.
It wasn’t easy negotiating our roles in the business and relationship. There were many arguments and power struggles early on. We had to seek professional help to define what we were both responsible for at work and home. We learned that the greatest tool was planning and being able to calendar each week in advance so the work load was distributed equally. We also plan our self-care and other interests outside of work to further support each other. Once we figured that out, we were less competitive with one another and became better teammates.
Playing on each other’s strengths and forming an alliance was the only way to survive. As our business grew, our roles kept reshaping, and we allowed one another to redefine our positions. We now have clear roles within our organization and we try to “stay in our lane.” This divide and conquer strategy has served both our family and our business. As we look ahead to our professional and personal challenges, we are united and continue to support each other and hold each other accountable.
Our company and marriage have grown exponentially and I am grateful for our grit and fortitude. The fact that we still get to work together, is really a bonus. We continue to grow as individuals, and we are stronger united on the same team.
If you are currently engaged, ask yourself “Could I work with my fiancé?” It should shed some light on your future together. I hope your answer is, “YES!”.