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Are You Two Riding in Tandem?

We have some dear friends who are also very skilled at riding in “Tandem” –and not just on a bike– but in LIFE! Robert and Kay-Lee are Business-Marriage coaches for entrepreneurs and small business owners. They have helped couples all over the world gain success in business AND in love, marriage and family. The best part is they LIVE out their message. They love God, and they love helping other couples gain God’s best plan and path for work and relationships. Below is an excerpt from their new book, Tandem:

We are passionate about helping the married entrepreneur thrive at home and work because we’ve witnessed the struggles firsthand, from childhood to present. Also, small businesses drive our nation’s economy, so the work we do is important, both financially and relationally.

Almost all—99.9 percent—of the businesses in the United States are small businesses, defined as those with fewer than five hundred employees, according to 2019 US Small Business Administration statistics.

We are committed to helping American businesses succeed. Many of them need guidance in various aspects of business operation, from market analysis to increasing efficiency in operations to managing cash flow.

Most entrepreneurs start their businesses because they’re good at what they do and can charge money for that service.

However, few entrepreneurs have formal business training; they tend to learn as they go. The result is that they often struggle to become and stay profitable, the owners work too hard, and financial problems can get out of control before anyone knows there’s a problem.

According to the Small Business Administration, 20 percent of small businesses fail in the first year, 50 percent fail after five years, and only33 percent stay in business for ten years or longer. Some of the most common reasons small businesses fail are that they run out of money; the owners lack experience in managing a business or are unwilling to delegate routine tasks to others; there is no business plan; and the marketing campaigns are poorly planned or executed. These are among the issues that drag down small businesses.

Just as most entrepreneurs lack formal business training, most couples have not gone through formal marriage counseling.

The Gottman Institute in Seattle, founded by Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, have conducted decades of research on the topic of marital success. They say only 31 percent of married couples engage in counseling before marriage, and only 19 percent seek counseling  during marriage. Also, the average couple waits six years before seeking professional help for marital problems. So it’s no wonder that couples struggle on both sides—in business and in marriage. We address the dynamics of both sides of the equation as we work with couples.

A first step is to define what marriage–work balance looks like for you and your spouse.

You can’t achieve what you don’t define.

This is different for every couple, based on their circumstances, business model, family situations, upbringing, and other factors.


The startup businesses that entrepreneurs launch in an effort to solve their work–life balance issues often end up creating more problems. New business owners often end up spending every waking moment marketing their services, establishing their clientele, and completing client work. Many people sacrifice their marriages and families for the sake of their businesses, reasoning, “This is what it takes to be successful.”

When entrepreneurs decide to focus primarily on their business, they can be asking for trouble at home. Here’s why. The spouse wants time, attention, and connection, but instead, he or she gets the leftovers.  Even when the entrepreneur is home and may be eating dinner with the family, he or she is exhausted and distracted—not really present. Here’s the struggle that goes on in entrepreneurs’ minds: “If I make more money, I’ll have more time. But I need to spend more time to make more money.” It’s a mad cycle. They discover that they have lost control and now life is happening to them. Business becomes the de facto priority. The ends justify the means.

If you prioritize your marriage, you can still make a lot of money.

But if you prioritize money, your marriage will suffer.

As couples’ work–marriage imbalance gets worse, the finger-pointing begins. Spouses often start blaming each other for the imbalance.

Good news! This is fixable. 

A first step in correcting the imbalance is for both spouses to recognize that they are both part of the problem—and part of the solution. Both parties have played a part in aggravating the situation. And both can work to resolve the problem.

How strong is your marriage–work balance?

 To find out, take our free seven-question survey 

Robert and Kay Lee Fukui have used their shared passions and business expertise to help entrepreneurs and couplepreneurs strengthen and grow since they officially merged as husband and wife on March 13, 2006.

As the founders of Power Couples by Design™, they realize it is impossible not to bring home what happens at the office, and vice versa.

After winning awards for helping corporations create long-term profitability and sustainability in their businesses, they have woven together corporate best practices with the heart of family businesses.

In Tandem, they share the exact process they have taught thousands of married entrepreneurs to harmonize work and home.

Robert and Kay Lee live in Pasadena, California, with their “furchild”, Pippa.

You can learn more about them, their courses, coaching, and events at

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