Melbourne-based husband and wife team, Chris and Billie Christofi, live and work together – and share four kids. I’m exhausted just thinking about that, but the pair have developed an interesting rule to ensure harmony both at work and at home.
They call it the 49/51 percent rule. And it makes sense.
In every aspect of their lives, Chris and Billie ‘own’ either 49 percent or 51 percent. While they both have equal input into major decisions, and will take on board each others opinions, one person has the ‘casting vote’ based on their strengths.
Chris’ strengths are money, wealth, property investment, staffing and office decisions, so he has the casting vote on these, while Billie has the casting vote on family life, diet and food, exercise, holidays and anything home-related.
Speaking to Mamamia, Billie said the couple have been together for 14 years. They came up with the rule about six months after they began working together in 2011 after identifying their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Together they run seven companies in the financial services industry, and she described the rule as a “time and energy saver”. It’s a way for them to work together efficiently without needing to be across every little detail – because there are simply not enough hours in the day.
"It's good in the way that it helps you work as a team together," Billie said. "It’s to say we really respect one another and we’re going to listen to one another, but at the end of the day there’s too much on everyone's plate to focus on everything."
Billie says the rule has amplified the couple's appreciation for one another and that Chris trusts her implicitly, and vice versa. "It's not about ego, it's not about wanting to win every argument," she said.
Billie knows what decisions she can make unanimously - such as leaving work to attend a school event. Neither go unheard with both Chris and Billie able to persuade the other away from their percentage with a strong case.
"It comes down to trust. It comes down to respect and understanding and really good communication. That’s really key," she said. "In any relationship it's communication but even more so in a work/life relationship because you are together that much more and you don’t want to bring any problems home with you."
Billie said many of her friends are astonished by how much time her and Chris spend together, and often say they couldn't work with their partner as she does. She believes the 49/51 percent rule contributes to their success both personally and at work.
"We have four kids so life is extremely busy, and it works well for us. Like I said, it's all about communication."
Do you and your partner follow any relationship 'rules'? What are they? Tell us in the comments section below.