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Unlimited Partnership

Why are more and more couples risking romance to launch a business together? How do the successful ones make it work? Five couples - and one ex-couple - share their stories and strategies.

Robert and Deborah LePera
No shop talk at dinner
Robert and Deborah LePera
Acorn Food Services
Philadelphia

Deborah LePera and her husband Robert launched Acorn Food Services in 1990 and now employ a full-time staff of 100. Rules are essential to keeping home and business life on track: Dinner marks the end of the workday. No discussion about business is allowed at the table. And weekends are sacred.

The partners' goal is to maintain a growth rate they're comfortable with. "We look at what is profitable rather than just taking on business to say we're growing," says Robert.

A few years ago they adopted two infant boys, prompting Deborah to cut back to about 20 hours of work a week and spend more time at home. Even though sales fell by half, Robert was pleased with her choice. With the kids now in school, Deborah upped her week to 30 hours but is still focused on balance: "We'd like to live like this over the long term," she says.

Last updated January 10 2008: 10:16 AM ET

Divide and conquer

No shop talk at dinner

Spend time apart

Get professional help

The trust factor

After the breakup

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