There is something supremely satisfying about finding the missing piece to a puzzle. The picture just isn’t complete without it. There is a vague feeling that something is not quite right.
And when two pieces that seem so different actually fit together, it can be a surprising find.
Often the people who talk in our Twitter streams seem like imaginary friends who live in our typewriter. They have gotten to know us, though they have never met us in real time. And sometimes they don’t see the connections between us and other people they may know.
This morning a tweet passed through that made me smile. Andrea Whitmer, a web designer, said:
— Andrea Whitmer (@nutsandbolts) February 1, 2013
This from someone who mentioned my social media diet blog post after seeing Bob tweet about it. Somewhere in the process, she put the puzzle pieces together and connected Bob Dunn to Judy Lee Dunn.
She knew us both. Separately.
It never occurred to either of us that she didn’t know we were a couple.
For years, in real-time settings—Chamber of Commerce lunches, our in-person workshops, meetings in our marketing clients’ offices—everyone knew.
But then we took our business online. Now, with most of our presence being in the world of Twitter, on Facebook and on Google+, we have separate identities and, often, distinct communities. Although there is some overlap, Bob hangs more with designers, developers and biz owners and I talk more with writers.
For the first 10 years, we worked apart. Bob was in the restaurant business and I was a teacher, and later, a manager at an international nonprofit with projects in 125 countries. Then we started working together (still do sometimes), with our marketing and design business and our workshops for bloggers.
Can couples work together without killing each other?
It got me thinking. Living under the same roof for close to 30 years, 20 of them while working together in some way or another, is something that Bob and I have taken for granted.
It’s not a big deal.
We don’t even think about it anymore.
Until someone says (I get this a lot), “Oh, I could never work with my husband. We would kill each other.”
Or, “By dinner time we would be sick of each other and there would just be silence.”
Yes, it can be challenging and sometimes personal and work spill over each other. (“What are we having for dinner? Did you take the lasagna out of the freezer?” “Oops.”
Or “Hold that thought or write it down. I finally found the perfect line of dialogue.”).
But over time, we fine tuned the process.
It’s about knowing when to leave each other alone
We are sensitive to each other’s space and instinctively know when to back off.
Bob is particularly brilliant at picking up on my body language.:
Silence punctuated by deep sighs.
Translation: I’m struggling to find the right word.
Glazed eyes and near stupor while staring out the office window.
Translation: I’m in my character’s world right now.
The crinkling of a Twizzlers wrapper.
Translation: Stress overload caused by problems with a scene transition.
It works the other way, too. I have learned not to talk to Bob when he has his headphones on or he’s fiddling with the custom code on someone’s website or he’s mumbling to himself and scribbling notes with all kinds of numbers on them.
The upside: Bob has provided me with a lot of material for my book
Warning: Think twice about marrying a memoirist. Because you will at some point or another find yourself a character in her book.
As most of you know, I am writing a memoir called Out Tonight. The title is a play on words, referring to both the coming out of my daughter and to the recurring role she had on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, playing Monica Lewinski during the Clinton scandal years.
The danger in writing memoir is that family and friends can feel that they have become targets. But since Bob has been a calming influence in my life (he plays Sheriff Andy to my female Barney Fife), he is somewhat safe in this book.
But that isn’t always the case.
On the topic of writing something that your parents or siblings or spouse won’t like, here is one of my favorite quotes. (Not sure of the source; some people have attributed it to writer Anne Lamott):
“If the people in your life didn’t want you to write about them, they shouldn’t have behaved so poorly.”
(@bobWP does not fall into this category. Well, maybe sometimes.)
What about you?
Have you ever been in a business partnership with your spouse?
Would you ever consider it?