Some couples make it a rule not to talk about their jobs once they get home at night. But that's not easy when the two partners work together.
On the other hand, it's good to really know and trust the person one must rely on to get the job done every day.
We talked to three couples — Emily Mendell and Ian Healy of Handlebar Farm in Sebastopol, Graton artists Tony Speirs and Lisa Beerntsen and Francesca and John Vrattos, owners of Yanni's Sausage in Penngrove — who each have made their partnerships both personal and professional.
Here's a closer look at just how they make it work:
Now that they have a spring and fall season behind them, Emily Mendell and Ian Healy of Handlebar Farm in Sebastopol have a better idea of what their customers want them to grow.
Along the way, the couple has also picked up a few important lessons about how to manage a relationship when you're together around the clock.
"The biggest thing that I have learned... is that it's best to not micro-manage each other," said Healy, 29.
"We allow each other to work independently more than we used to, and we trust that the other person is perfectly capable of doing a good job."
Although they both plant, weed and harvest the 2-acre vegetable farm, they have each developed their own areas of expertise.
A researcher and planner by nature, the 30-year-old Mendell is in charge of the planting schedule, including what varieties of seeds to plant when, ensuring that the farm has enough ripe produce to sell each week.
Whether it's a local restaurant account or Santa Rosa's West End Farmers Market, Healy serves as the face of the farm. Gregarious and outgoing, he delivers and sells the goods and keeps track of the farm's finances.
Although both were born and raised in the Midwest, the pair met while working together at Denali National Park in Alaska. Later, they moved to Bellingham, Wash., where they both got master's degrees in education.
They married in Twisp, Wash., on July 3, 2011. But when the dreary weather of the Northwest started to take its toll, they looked for jobs in a sunnier climate.
Healy ended up teaching high school in San Rafael for a year but missed being outdoors. Entrepreneurial by nature, Mendell started researching farming, then volunteered at College of Marin's Indian Valley Organic Farm in Novato.
"Farming wasn't something we considered before, because all the Midwestern farms are giant, fourth-generation corn farms," Mendell said. "Indian Valley is a two-acre, diverse farm."
With the help of FarmLink, a nonprofit that provides young farmers with help leasing or purchasing land, they found a manageable plot of land to lease behind a home in southwest Sebastopol. It had a deep well, but they put in their own 6-foot fence, irrigation lines and greenhouse.
To feed the needs of their customers, the farmers are currently planting about 200 heads of lettuce a week, looking ahead to the salad days of summer.
Despite the constant demands of the land — and a never-ending war with gophers — they never forget to nurture their own relationship.
"We always take a day off, no matter what," Mendell said. "That was the advice given to us."