- Power couples don’t come much stronger than Bill and Melinda Gates.
- They jointly run their charitable foundation that has an endowment of $US40.3 billion while also raising three kids.
- By their own admission it’s an ‘intense’ setup, but it ‘works well.’
- The pair opened up further about how they make it work in a candid Facebook Live talk.
- Melinda said that even though they have disagreements, they always maintain a ‘united front.’
- They also have certain topics that are off limits during date night.
Bill and Melinda Gates are arguably one of the most fascinating – and influential – power couples on the planet, but they’re also surprisingly candid.
They recently spoke about how they make their marriage work while also juggling the running of their multi-billion dollar foundation and raising three kids.
According to Melinda, the one thing that they always maintain is a “united front,” both in business and at home with the family.
In a Facebook Live talk presented by Lin-Manuel Miranda at Hunter College, the couple were asked the question: “What happens when the two of you disagree?”
It was an issue the Gates’ had also addressed in their annual letter, but this time they opened up further, indicating that they weren’t afraid to fight – it’s just done behind closed doors.
“There’s definitely some tactical day-to-day pieces where you may not always agree,” Melinda said. “But I would say this, neither of us are afraid of a little bit of grist in the system, neither in business nor in our marriage. That’s how you actually grow. And so we will have tough conversations.”
But she stressed that they have these disagreements in private.
“Just like in a family with kids, in business we show up with a united front that this is who we are,” Melinda said. The other things, they work out at home.
She added that they sometimes have to agree not to discuss certain topics on date night, just like any other parent. This usually means not talking about the kids after a while, about business, the foundation, and sometimes even leaving out politics.
Another crucial part of their communication is that they both really listen to what each other is saying when they disagree.
“I’m always interested in his point of view and I know he’s always interested in mine, I think sometimes our disagreements sharpen the questions that we ask each other,” Melinda said.
Bill went on to admit that he can get very “enthused” and “push teams really hard,” so he said sometimes Melinda will challenge him on things like whether the team “is getting the key message that they just need to fix a few things but we believe in them.”
He agreed that there are definitely times when they have different points of view on things.
“Working together as well as raising a family together, there’s a certain intensity to that. But we’re very lucky because we mostly see things the same way, the goals are very much the same,” he said, adding that the couple are now 25 years into learning how to listen to each other.
“It works well,” he said.
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