With two summer interns at Fishhook, we have 11 folks on our team (6 women and 5 men). And the reality is that we work side by side, each and every day. There are meetings, brainstorming sessions, meals, some travel and more.
At Fishhook, women and men work together. In addition, we work with other women and men beyond the Fishhook team. We have clients, partners, vendors and other friends and contacts to meet and work with. This is the reality of our Fishhook work setting. (And this is reality for most work settings and church ministry teams.)
So I’ll share the next reality for us at Fishhook. And I share this humbly – knowing full well that none of us is perfect, but I share this from a genuine and well-meaning heart.
Ultimately, we care more about the marriages and families that make up our Fishhook team than any of the work we do. And we do our best to make this clear. We say it often. We pray about it. We make decisions to support it.
So what exactly do we say at Fishhook?
We say: Our most significant impact in life won’t be at or through our work at Fishhook.
For each of us, individually, our most important calling starts in our marriages, in our homes, with our children and with other family and friends.
As you’ll see, the following list is less about an actual set of rules. It’s more about building trusting relationships, very open communication and honoring God with our hearts and priorities.
So what practical things do we lean on to honor God, our marriages and families as related to the issue of women and men working together at Fishhook?
1. We work to know each other’s spouses and families.
We talk up our spouses and families in weekly team meetings and in other conversations. We plan team events and get-togethers – with spouses and families – on a regular basis (for us this means a couple of times each year). This is huge! When you know, respect and appreciate a coworker’s spouse and family – you can be reminded of your role (as a coworker and friend) in that person’s life.
2. We talk about it – with one another and with our spouses.
And I mean we talk about it a lot! We are very extroverted about this topic of working together with women and men. When there are meals that will be shared or travel that is planned, for example, we talk as co-workers and we talk with our spouses. And if anyone has a concern at anytime, we modify the arrangements. There is open communication and full awareness of what the arrangements are. No surprises.
From time to time, we even thank each other’s spouses for their trust. We respect their trust as we work together and take the responsibility very seriously.
3. For me, I’m continually considering and praying about my overall life goals: to honor God and love my husband and children completely.
With God’s help, that is my ultimate focus and it trumps all other feelings or decisions that could be made. In a similar way, I consider these life goals for my coworkers. I want my actions to honor my own marriage and family – plus the marriages and families of every other person I work with.
What about your workplace? How do you manage this important issue with your team? Or what will you consider for the future?