Honesty and Sincerity | Learning to Work Together

After writing my last blog post about doubt, and receiving such heartfelt responses from so many friends, peers, clients and strangers,  I have realized that the value of honesty and sincerity is immeasurable. Some of you may say, “You’re just now realizing that?!”

No. Not really. I’ve always known that sincerity is the only way for people to know the real me, and I’ve always been honest about how I feel about where we are and where we’re going. But there are feelings and concerns that I don’t always share. Why? Well because sometimes there are things that other people, even my industry peers, would say I probably shouldn’t share. And I never wanted people to think that we didn’t have it all together.

But you know what?

No one has it ALL together. We all know that no single person in this whole wide world, no matter how successful or how experienced he is, has it all together. We are all learning. We are all perpetual students. And if you ever get to the point that you don’t think you can learn anymore? Once you think that you are the very best, and that you could not possibly become any better at what you do? Well…that’s when you should worry, friends. Because there is always more to learn. And if you think you know it all, you will not stay on a path to success.

So I have decided that sharing our story is invaluable. I have decided that I will talk about the bumps in the road, successes, growing pains and “Ah-Ha” moments that we experience along the way. Why? Because those moments make us who we are. They are our story. Our story is not about how many weddings we shoot a month, or how much money we make a year. Our story is about learning, growing, being a husband and wife on a journey together, working together, and experiencing the successes and failures, that happen along the way.

Currently? Thomas and I are learning to work side by side, from home, every single day. It comes with plenty of challenges, but the biggest one so far is turning work off, and just being husband and wife.

The first step we’ve made is having a scheduled work day. But it presented challenges too. We work at different paces. We’re most productive at different times of the day. Thomas is a “early bird gets the worm” kind of guy, and I’m much, much more of a night owl. With that said, a workday schedule is critical for us. We haven’t perfected it, but it’s already made a huge difference. We wake up at 7:00-7:30 a.m. during the week, get showered and dressed, and head to our office just as if we were heading to work outside of the home. {No. We do NOT sit around in our pjs all day. I don’t want to be in my pajamas every single day! It makes me feel crummy.} When we eat lunch, we don’t sit in the office. We either eat in the living room or we go out to pick up a bite. If there are work-related errands to run, we run them after lunch. Then, we come back to the office and work for the rest of the afternoon. {Like I said, we’re still working on this schedule. The exact time that the workday ends sometimes varies.} Typically, we try to have the computers off by 6:30. If we’re in a crunch, we work later. It’s just the nature of our jobs. There are many nights where we do work till 9 or so, but we are making the schedule a priority, and we are getting better about at least stepping away from the computers at the same time every day.

Another thing that has made a huge difference for Thomas and me? I have plugged in my laptop. That’s right. I might as well glue it to my desk! My realization went a little something like this: “The computer is for work. The office is for work. The living room is for living. My work computer does not belong in my living space. Otherwise, we would call the living room a work room.”

When you love your work, and when you work from home, It’s easy to just keep working, to never separate yourself from work, but that is simply not healthy. And I refuse to live that way. We are husband and wife first. And we are co-photographers second. They do overlap, though, and that’s why it is such a challenge to know when to separate the two. We are a husband and wife photography team. It is who we are. And it’s important for our clients to understand that being a husband and wife photography team is part of what makes our perspective special. But we are concentrating on keeping a schedule and keeping work in the office {aside from sessions, weddings and meetings}, because we want to make sure that we spend time nurturing our marriage, being in love with each other and just being husband and wife.

We love what we do, so it’s pretty easy to let work dominate our conversations even when we aren’t working. But we’re working on it…because photography is not why we got married. We got married because we love each other. We didn’t have any idea that God would take us down this path. We are THRILLED to be here. We are blessed, and we are grateful that we are able to work together, but sometimes, we simply have to step away. So each day, we’re working on making time to take off the husband and wife photography team hats…and just be husband and wife. We realize that it’s important for us to do that, for a little while every day.

And as I publish this blog post, a little after 9 o’clock on a Monday evening, I confess. I am a work in progress. But I am always learning.


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  • Susan LeachOctober 12, 2010 - 4:15 am

    Oh sweet Sarah…..you and Thomas are on such a beautiful journey….one that is founded on the love of Christ. You are wise to focus on one another first….you have something so very special that most people only dream of. I know this because God has blessed me with a love so incredibly beautiful! Knowing that it is we three walking this path together, we can weather any storm. (and have many) Stay strong in your marriage keeping God at the center and glorify Him in ALL that you do….in your marriage and in your work….His plan for you is remarkable…..and by reading your blogs it is so clear that His guiding hand is upon you. much love today…..susanReplyCancel

  • Ashley SwartzOctober 12, 2010 - 7:44 am

    I love this! I am sooo excited for you guys!
    Good luck! We’re trying to learn how to just relax and be together, too, without working, or talking about work. . . it is sooo hard to do! I think you are right about the defined workday, it is so important, but it is so hard to stop, when there is more to do!

    I am glad you have been sharing so much of your personal experiences, I really enjoy reading your stories!

    Have a great day!


    PS- Will you be at PartnerCon? 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth MartiniereOctober 12, 2010 - 8:40 am


    First of all, let me say how much I love your blog! I’m just now reading blogs for the first time in my life, and thinking of starting one myself, and I love yours!!! I’m so glad I came across your post because I can completely relate!! Tommy and I, even though only being married for a little over a year now, have worked and lived together for almost 5 years, and it is a constant struggle to separate work from the rest of life! You have to make a conscious effort to make time away from work when you are a couple who works together, and especially when your office is out of your house. We have three separate businesses, the landscaping company; a sister landscape maintenance company; and the hunting TV show, that we juggle, and they can consume your life before you know it. It is so important to follow a schedule and have “rules” (mine are to keep the laptop out of the living room and bedroom and no talking on the phone during dinner!).

    It is so nice to read about another couple who is experiencing the same things we are. I think it is a special and unique adventure to be married to each other and business partners. I feel so blessed to be with Tommy as much as I am and to work alongside him. I thought for sure that I’d be running for the hills when we first got together and decided to work with each other, but it has been the most beautiful and bonding journey. We definitely understand each other on another level, but it continues to be a learning process. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings, and I look forward to reading more of your blog!!

    Elizabeth MartiniereReplyCancel

  • SarahOctober 13, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Thank you so much for all of your encouragement. Your words always make me smile. I am so grateful for your friendship, and I continue to pray for you and your family as you start this new journey too! 🙂

    I am so excited for you guys too. I know that you and Ryan and have big things ahead. Thank you so much for your support. We aren’t planning on going to PartnerCon this year, but I hope that we can get together some time in the future!

    Thank you! You should definitely start a blog. It’s a great way to document the journey you and Tommy are on. I know that working together, in so many ways, must really make it hard to separate life and work. I hope that you guys find much success and happiness both in your marriage and in your work!ReplyCancel

  • Katie ParrishDecember 20, 2010 - 10:36 am

    Thomas and Sarah,

    After this weekend at Jayla and Dustin’s wedding, I just wanted to give a little word of encouragement to you.

    I was so impressed at your ability to work together as a team. Not only were you husband and wife, but you were business partners as well. This, to me, is not easily accomplished, and I know my husband and I would not be anywhere close to nice to each other during a stressful time and environment.

    You two were so polite and kind to each other as you took turns photographing and sharing your work with each other. You gave each other little words of encouragement and tips for shots throughout the day. It is evident that you have a loving and respectful relationship, as well as business partnership.

    Things like this do not go unnoticed, and they are inspiring. Thank you for giving my best friend a wonderful wedding day, and I cannot wait to see pictures! And know that you were on top of my list for photographers when my husband allows me to have a baby! 🙂

    Congratulations on your success!
    Katie Parrish, Jayla’s Matron of Honor of the Millenium 🙂ReplyCancel

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