For 2021 Valentines Special Edition Series yet again, we are talking about "Bursting The Myths of Couples Working Together” with the fitness and lifestyles coaches of Ruūzz who are also the ever so stunning power couple Rubaia Mahfuz and Sharar Zoha Khan. We followed them around with their words, as they took us behind the scenes of their married life and shared a glimpse of how they work together in order to build their brand.
While both of them are founders of the fast growing fitness and lifestyle brand Ruūzz, they are also successful working individuals in their own right, Rubaia being the Marketing Project Manager at VV Ehouse, Malaysia and Sharar the Territory Officer in British American Tobacco, Bangladesh. And now after our informative introduction we tried to make it interesting and took the liberty of asking them to introduce eachother, to which Rubaia gladly answered "Sharar is goofy, Sharar is unbelievably charming. What I loved the most about him since day dot was how he and I could have an unending conversation about every topic in the world. He is this encyclopedia that never got published (lol). He is like the knight in shining armour from fairy tales who loves partying with Dj Snake." And as for Sharar he describes Rubaia as "Rubaia is fierce, she's brave, and probably the most practical and strong-minded person you will ever meet. Rubaia is a go-getter! She is a person who always has a plan. She will be there for the people she loves in a manner that is unreal. Her way of showing love and affection for her favorite humans is unmatched to this day. What may surprise you is - in her heart, she is literally a little baby. Not only for her innocence but also for the way she expects to be loved and pampered i.e. like a little baby."
We asked them to run us through the beginning of their relationship to which Sharar said "Rubaia and I knew each other for years before we started dating. Back then we were suffering at the hands of our respective ex(s). Fast-forward a few years and we ran into each other at a random hangout." Meanwhile witty Rubaia pokes fun at Sharar for being the sneaky one and says "Our relationship actually started from a coffee date, which was not supposed to be a date, one of our friends was supposed to join, at least that's what Sharar told me. But this sneaky man had it planned to ditch our friend and it became the most meaningful four-hour-long conversation of my life. But it ended because we both were moving to different countries back then and I was not ready to commit to a long-distance relationship and also because he scared me off by saying he had major OCD and real bad temper issues. None, that I wanted in my man. Two months later I met him again in Dhaka and this guy managed to sweep me off my feet and convinced me to be with him even with the distance between Australia and Malaysia. And then five months of long-distance relationship later, we understood it was impossible to bear the distance and we tied the knot and now here we are happily married for 3 and half years." to which Sharar added "Long story short, now I have a wife, but not my OCD haha."
We delved right in and asked them about the pros, cons, myths, and measures for couples who choose to work together, to which Rubaia responded saying "Pros are that we get to spend a lot of time together, it makes our relationship very healthy because we have a lot to talk about, a lot of productive conversations. Cons are that we talk a lot about work, so at times the fine line of work talk crosses the boundary of our personal lives and when we initially started working together the conflict in opinion for work got to us and we were not fighting but we were being upset with each other. But we took that seriously, we had conversations about keeping work and us separate, and eventually, we don't anymore take our work conflicts personally. We rather take those more seriously and work on them together. We have started to treat ourselves like workmates during work and that has made everything so much easier. I think the common myths are that it makes your relationship more oriented to work and takes away the romance. Well, I don't exactly believe in this popular myth and rather saw us getting stronger as a couple than before. We appreciate each other's working style a lot and we often realize we both are the missing puzzle of each other's life."
When we asked Sharar for his thoughts on the same topic, he responded saying "I believe that couples who work together have a greater advantage over those who don't. Because you have the freedom to discuss ideas and concerns related to your business with your partner more candidly at all times. Trust is crucial when you're investing your time and money with another person. Who can be better to trust, other than the one you have promised to spend your life with. Also I literally cannot find one disadvantage of working with my Boss, Rubaia.
Money can be a driving factor until it becomes a fighting factor. Hence we asked the couple on how they handle financial matters in a healthy way while working with their partners, to which Rubaia added "Well, Sharar and I both are kind of people who love to splurge but at the same time we also understand the value of saving up at the right time. When it comes to finances for our business we treat that as the capital or revenue for the business. I think being a business grad has taught both of us that our business is a separate entity, so everything that comes through work or for work is dealt with separately." Similarly Sharar added "For some reason, Rubaia and I never got the chance, and we never felt the need to discuss, "Who pays for what". Our relationship from day one has been very inclusive and effort based. We do not operate like a typical household where a certain gender has to pay for a certain expense. Both of us take each other on dates whenever we feel like, we take each other shopping, surprise each other with the cutest and most inexpensive impromptu gifts. Our equation is simple - splurge like there's no tomorrow, and we'll get the bill tomorrow."
We were curious to know how working with one's partner could affect their personal lives in case they have a different style of working, to which Rubaia suggested "Our style of working is very different, I am the proactive one who needs to get things done now or never and Sharar is the complete opposite. He likes to do it last minute but does his absolute best at the last minute. While that's all okay but working with each other at a different pace really made it difficult at the beginning. But we later came to a bargain of not doing it then and there but not also to keep it till the last minute. I think that's very important when couples work together, to come to a midpoint of both of their working styles." In addition to that Sharar suggested "Working with your partner could either be a blessing or a curse, depends completely on how the individuals perceive it to be. In our case, working with Rubaia has been one of the main reasons why I continuously strive to improve myself professionally. Rubaia has always been the proactive one between us. I always "take my time" to finish up any task at hand. Not only did Rubaia teach me how to use my time efficiently, our discussions usually give a broader perspective of how a certain situation can be approached differently. Luckily, both of us are very open-minded and we always value each other's point-of-view."
Sometime when couples are working together their professional temperaments could hamper the atmosphere at home, so we asked them about the things one could do to not bring work arguments home or vice versa, to which Rubaia answered "Don't take things personally. You have to understand work is work and you both are trying to create your absolute best so if your partner is criticizing your work it is only because they want to ensure the end product is looking good. On the contrary, stretching personal fights to the time you two are working together is just going to ruin both of your moods and chances are you'll hardly be able to focus on work. So, the moment you step into working together as a couple, you need to ensure you both are clear since the very start day that WORK is WORK." Sharar agreed to this point saying "Work is work, there's no playing around it. If two grown-ups cannot establish the fine line between personal and professional grievances, they should not work together at all. Before RUUZZ happened, we mostly worked together on assignments during our undergrad. From that time, Rubaia and I had this shared admiration for each other's work. She was always this brilliant HD student I could look up to, and her creative vision and direction in most of our assignments left me awestruck. So, it was a no-brainer that we would certainly end up working together at some point in our careers. The best part is, our first business is the brainchild of the endless business ideas we used to share with each other just for fun."
Judging by their personal experience, we asked them if they would subscribe to encourage more people to work with their partners and establish a new aspect to their relationship or have their individual career paths which give them their own identity and space, to which Rubaia suggested "Well, every couple works differently and every couple has their similarities and dissimilarities. The only reason Sharar and I can work together on RUUZZ is because we are both passionate about what RUUZZ is. But we both have our own career paths which gives us the space to do our own thing and focus on our own career path and at the same time, RUUZZ is like a passion project for both of us together. In order to keep a healthy relationship, I feel every couple should have their own space to focus on their individual growth and alongside, if they feel they are good to work together on something they both like, then only they should move forward with working together."
Since their work comprises of being on social media a lot, we went ahead and asked them on how much social media or the naysayers on the internet affect a relationship and how to keep away from that toxicity which could hamper their relationship, to which Sharar added "People usually don't understand this simple phenomenon - A relationship exists between ONLY two people, the boy, and the girl. If you start taking every negative comment on a social media post, a nasty DM about your significant other, or every story reaction too seriously, your relationship is more fragile than you know. Let's be realistic and address one fact - If your partner is an attractive individual, it is only normal for admirers to follow. Make peace with this fact and thank god that you get to be with that person every day. Instead of appreciating how lucky you are, don't ask your significant other to change. Remember, YOU fell in love with that person and SHE loves you back for how you treat her. If you change that, should things be the same for her? Build a foundation in your relationship so strong and pure, that an irrelevant third-party never has the audacity to point a finger. That's what my perspective of a relationship is."
We ended this insightful conversation by asking one last question which focuses on some impactful ways that people can improve their relationships while professionally working with their partners, to which Rubaia gladly answered "First of all, be transparent with each other. You like your partner's work or not, you have to talk about it. Mention if you appreciate their work because it encourages them. Talk about disliking their style of work or their work in general, if you feel that way. This gives your partner the chance of improvement. Secondly, be open to criticism, rather than being mad at each other for your differences, understand that this is work and your better half is only giving opinions to comprehend the difficulties. Third and most importantly, learn to separate your work life and personal life, don't talk about your business's balance sheet on your date night haha"