I recently interviewed Rasheeda of VH1’s 'Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta,' and we chatted a little about what she felt she brought to the show as well as how she managed to work with her husband Kirk (who is her manager), while keeping the romance in the relationship. In regards to the latter, she admitted that was it’s hard to have a professional relationship with her spouse, but that they have been getting better at managing both unions.
Obviously, some time has passed from that interview and from the taping of the show, but Monday night’s episode was disturbing. For those who aren’t familiar, Rasheeda is a rapper who has been through a couple of major label deals that didn’t work out, so her husband of over 10 years stepped in to manage her career as an independent artist. It seems that she hasn’t been happy with how he’s been handling her career; on the last episode she went behind his back to meet with new management. It’s not yet clear whether she will fire her husband or not but if he stays on board, he might be working with an outside team. That didn’t sit well with Kirk because he said that he had already warned her what being an independent artist would be like and insists that she’s being impatient and making the demands of a major label artist, which isn’t fair to him. In an emotional exchange between the couple, which you can watch here, Kirk tearfully tried to reason with her about how her actions were hurtful and I agree with him on one hand but on the flip side, if severing ties as business partners can save their marriage, I think that’s the best thing to do.
I like the idea of working with a spouse if and only if it’s progressive. Mr. Rocque and I dabble with it sometimes as writers (hence this column), but watching Rasheeda and her Kirk in action showed me that not everyone can do it successfully. I believe there are some problems in their communication style that led have them to a place where they are not a unified front. Working with family is never easy and I am no expert, but here’s what I’ve learned about how to make working with a spouse run smoothly, as inspired by the reality TV couple's situation:
Effective Communication is Key
Mr. Rocque and I are big on communicating properly, as we’ve pointed out in past blogs. If a point needs to be communicated, then you must speak rationally. Yelling, using hurtful language or condescending tones is only going the make the other person shut down and not listen. Thus, nothing gets communicated and you’re setting yourself up for the same cycle of failure. I noticed that when Rasheeda is upset about something, she blows up or sabotages the operation at hand. There was an episode where she was late to a video shoot because she had to pick up clothing since they didn’t have a stylist. When she finally showed up, Kirk questioned her about where she had been, and she blew up at him and blamed him for their lack of a budget. Not only was that unprofessional, but while Rasheeda was dwelling on what they didn’t have and what her hubby should be doing, her hubby was trying to calm her down so that she could have a good shoot and not really focusing on his other duties while on set. This also hindered a productive conversation about what could have been a simple solution—getting an intern. The point is, be calm, be specific, don’t be passive aggressive and be thorough when communicating desires.
If you’re not happy about your spouse’s work and are considering severing ties, don’t go behind their back. Man/woman up and tell them what you plan to do. They will likely be hurt, but eventually they’ll appreciate you more for giving it to them straight. Respect also ties into the communication factor. Again, no one is going to listen to you if you don’t speak like a rational adult. Watch your tone and use proper intention with your words.
Know When to Call it Quits
Chances are, if you can’t work together or talk to each other without erupting into a huge argument over something small, then you should close up shop for the sake of the relationship.
Have you ever had a falling out with your spouse over business? Worked successfully with your lover? Weigh in!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.