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.

Alan Carmichael and Cynthia Moxley
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Alan Carmichael and Cynthia Moxley
Moxley Carmichael

When Cynthia Moxley invited her husband, Alan Carmichael, to join her public relations and marketing firm in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1998, the couple proceeded with caution. "A lot of people said I could never work with my spouse," he says.

To smooth the transition, the two enlisted outside help: They called a therapist. Dianne Lemieux, a friend and clinical psychologist, helped them work through the potential clash of their very different working styles - his militaristic and hierarchical approach, hers more collaborative and horizontal.

A decade later, the firm is now Moxley Communications, with a staff of 16 and revenues that have rise 86 percent since the partnership began. Clients appreciate the unique perspectives of the company's co-presidents: "I got two for the price of one," says former client Susan Brown.

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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