The parents of four are the stars of the hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper, and spend the majority of their days working alongside one another. So just how do they keep their relationship balanced when facing the pressures of working together on a daily basis? “Two things come to mind. This is really not for everybody so don’t feel insecure or try to force something if it’s not,” Chip told PEOPLE at a KILZ Master Class and media tour of the Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas , on Tuesday.
“The negative is if it’s not meant to be, don’t try to force it. It is not for everybody. And don’t worry about it that it’s not for everybody. Who cares. And then the positive is when you decide to go for it, just really weigh on each other’s strengths and try not to cross over into each other’s lanes,” Chip explained. “That was one thing that I learned pretty early on is that… I am a big creative by nature so I was always stepping in her universe and I was always thankful she wasn’t micromanaging my side of the business so it worked, but I would come in and have these bold opinions about everything… And then after about a year of sort of wrestling with each other like that, I realized A: I wasn’t as good at it as I thought I was, so that was a problem, and then B: Why not let her really go for it in her way?”
Chip continued: “And so Jo and I really have created boundaries to some extent for one another and it just helps us both flourish. I am her biggest cheerleader when it comes to the things that she’s rocking and rolling in and vice versa in my category. Just encourage one another’s strengths and not be so particular that you constantly butt heads over it.”
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Jo also suggested that if working alongside a spouse isn’t a natural fit for a couple, have a third party come in and help — and leave room for mistakes. “Get a mediator, get a designer… If you can’t figure it out bring in someone that will help so you don’t end up ending your marriage,” said Jo, who later added, “And allow yourself room to make mistakes. We always allow on every budget, we have a side, 10 percent contingency as I may pick the wrong pink color. Just always have it so it’s not the end of the world and you’re not so stressed out.”
Being the class clown that he is, Chip also admitted that humor plays a significant role in having a thriving relationship. “You can either bring in a designer now or you can bring in an attorney later. Your choice,” said Chip, who added, “And a sense of humor is a big deal for us. We got lucky in that.”
—With Natalie Stone