Over the years, the couple has had constant discussions around how their work impacts their marriage. “We had many [conversations] about how it was affecting our relationship and how to remain cognizant of the need to keep the dynamic healthy and positive,” says Esi, admitting that as their work grew and evolved, so, too, did the potential for tensions around working style and shared goals. This was especially true when it came to money.
According to Esi, Peter was more focused on returns whereas her primary motivation had never been financial gain. “It took awhile for me to understand the difference between what drove him versus what drove me,” Esi says. “Once I did, however, the next step was figuring out a way to bring our desires and talents together.”
Though their struggles were different, Kevin and Erin dealt with their own share of challenges while learning to work together in a professional setting. The couple had already worked together before Erin officially joined the company, but the pair had to face the reality of what it meant to officially be in business together, and how their marriage could impact the future of the company.
“You have to ask some tough questions [like] what happens if we don’t like working together—is it that I leave? Or we both leave?” Erin said, admitting that it was sometimes difficult to imagine how they would feel if that were to happen. Still, she said that having these discussions were important and necessary. “You have to think about these things. It’s naive to think that nothing will happen just because you hope it won’t.”
Peter and Esi have had similar discussions, and though they don’t have an official exit plan in place, the two feel that the nonprofit they have built already exists outside of them. “We both believe that what we created is bigger than us and will stand the test of time,” Peter says. “Our work is for the people we serve,” Esi adds. “With or without our relationship, we will have to carry out the work or find others who can carry [it] out when we no longer can.”