This is an AI transcript, edited as time allowed.
Kathy: Hi, I’m Kathy Rushing host of the podcast Committed: The Entrepreneur Marriage. If your middle name is restless and you identify with words like innovator, dreamer, changemaker, creative, independent. Or you are married to an entrepreneur or haven’t helped you, you’re both entrepreneurs. This podcast is for you.
The entrepreneurial journey can be a little wild at times like uncharted territory. Join me as I talk with others who are at various stages of the entrepreneurial process, we’ll explore the wisdom and insights they have gained. While navigating the ups and downs of the entrepreneur journey. You’ll discover that there are many couples who have found ways to thrive in both their marriage and
Is it possible to change the world, stay in love, and have a healthy family? This is the multi-part question that Andre and Jeff Shinabarger wanted to answer. When they started the Love or Work project about three years ago. They set out to interview a hundred working couples, sometimes traveling in an Airstream provided by one of the project partners, and this is made for some interesting stories in their book. They also worked with the Barna Group to survey a larger cross-section of working couples, Jeff and Andre recently birthed a third child, their book, Love or Work, which compiles their experience with all they’ve learned during this project.
Andre works as a physician assistant in downtown Atlanta. Jeff is a social entrepreneur and author of two other books. He’s the founder and executive director of Plywood People, a nonprofit community of startups doing good. This was another fun, insightful interview with people that have done the work to have a great relationship.
Let’s do this
Good afternoon, Jeff and Andre. Welcome to committed the entrepreneur marriage podcast. I am so glad to have you guys, how are you doing today?
Jeff: Good. We’re glad to be
André: here so glad to be here.
Kathy: Great. Great. Well, this is take two. We got five minutes into the interview and realized we weren’t recording.
André: here we go out with the truth.
Kathy: I came out with the truth. I am too honest. Well, I, I was up late last night, reading your book, Love or Work. Jeff and Andre have just released their book. The first book they’ve written together called Love or Work and so I want to introduce you to people that may not yet know you.
And I say yet, because after you hear it, this podcast interview with them, you are just. Going to want to like don’t, you know, don’t pass go, don’t stop. Don’t collect $200. Just buy their book. There is so much wisdom in it. And I just want to thank you guys so much. You’re I just appreciate your, your honesty, your curiosity, and especially your vulnerability.
I mean, you just cover topics that. I think it will help a lot of couples. So thanks for coming on the show today. To get started, let’s do an icebreaker just to let people get to know you a little bit. And if your marriage was a team sport, what would it be?
André: Well, I’m going to jump in and say, because I played volleyball, I’m going to say beach volleyball, 2 person.
You know, we have to set each other up for success. You need both people to make it happen,
André: you take turns.
Oh, you said, serving, I like that.
And then we also got to throw in a little dirt and grit and sand and sweat, and
Jeff: sometimes you gotta dive.
André: You gotta get scraped up. So all of that. So marriages, it actually, yes, like a sweaty, nasty, beach volleyball game.
Jeff: That’s funny. There’s one other time we talked about this where Andre and I, we play pickleball. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of pickleball.
Kathy: I’ve heard of it. I thought it was an old person game. My husband won’t play.
André: We’re doing it now.
Kathy: Well, maybe, maybe we’ll
give it a try.
Jeff: We have talked about this, this, this experience where like the ball, it’s kind of like tennis, it’s just, let’s call it mini tennis, but a ball will go in between the two of us, you know, and either you both kinda hit it together and.
It’s one of us hits it. The other person is like, or a second option is like it’s mine. And they start taking all the balls over that doesn’t work out so good. Or the third option is a ball goes in between you and neither one of you swing, and you both look at each other like, well, why didn’t you swing?
It was your fault. You know, kind of similar to volleyball. I can have those same experiences. So those are a couple of random sports that I think may answer your question.
André: But we are pickleball champions. We are
Jeff: two times,
Y’all are not competitive or anything. Right.
Jeff: We did… in our house. Well, a lot of games, we are very competitive.
And one time we used to play a game called settlers of Catan. A lot. We had to, it got so out of control. We had to
André: not in our house anymore. Ruining our marriage.
Kathy: Oh no. What was it called?
Jeff: Settlers of Catan.
Kathy: I haven’t even heard of that.
Jeff: It has quite a cult following,
André: not for us anymore. Not
for us no more.
No more. You drew the line there. Oh gosh. Well, I love that volleyball analogy. That’s great. What are three words that you would use to describe your partner?
Jeff: Yeah, so I. You know, Andre, there are many adjectives that I could use for Andre, but one of
André: all good, right?
Jeff: Yeah. yeah, mostly good. No, independent would be at the highest level, right?
Jeff: Yeah. And I would say independent like that’s when we were. When I had fallen in love with Andre, she had her own vision of what she wanted to do in life, and it didn’t include any man. So, but that changed over time. I think she’s always had that. It’s a great strength of hers. Second.
I would say she’s courageous. She even tells her kids like. Hey, we can do hard things. We’re willing to, to stick through the hard times because this is what we should be doing. And, and, yeah, even when it’s difficult. And then, the third thing I would say is intentional. She, she doesn’t like to waste time with things like she’s like, if I’m going to do something, I have to believe in it and it has to matter.
And there’s a lot of things she’s doing in life. So it’s like, Like, let’s be very intentional about what she’s gonna do. Well, what would you say?
André: Yeah, for Jeff, I would say creative. He is our, he’s the idea, man. He’s creative. He’s always thinking of great fun things to do, and ways to do things differently.
So he’s my challenger. So he’s my biggest challenge or in life. as he said, I can. Go my own way and do my own thing, but he will always push back and challenge me, which I don’t always have with people. I think I can be an easy bulldozer and, just bulldoze over things and to go after my goals or whatever it is.
He definitely challenges me to not do that or to take a moment. He is my, so we talk about we’re fire and ice. And so I would say, he’s my ice. Like he calms me. He settles me. He, brings me back to like myself and my true self and what I really care about. and so, yeah. Hm.
Those are my,
Jeff: that was nice.
So you just say,
André: Oh, you’re welcome.
Kathy: It’s nice to hear those good things. Even when you’re intentional about saying them. Right. We can’t hear the good things too much.
André: That’s right.
Kathy: Well, I’m curious, once you got this book finished, what did you guys do to celebrate.
André: Oh, well,
Jeff: kind of COVID
André: time everything, you know. We finished the whole book before COVID so everything was done and off to print.
So there wasn’t a whole lot that we could change after that point. And then, Basically, it came out right in the midst of COVID. So it’s been a lot harder to celebrate.
Jeff: I turned my hat around for you to see this is a, there’s a restaurant in Atlanta called the Optimist. And we, that was like our first, this was the night before our book launched.
Right. It was our anniversary.
André: Oh yeah.
Jeff: And so we went to a nicer restaurant and it was funny. We had done a fundraiser there for the nonprofit I lead like a year ago and in the fundraiser, everyone that like won a this is so random, but it was part of the story. everyone, that won like part of the, like a live auction item, our auctioneer would go put the hat on the person’s head.
They have bought the, all the optimist hats out that night and he would just go around and he’d throw a hat on someone’s head. So it’s like random people. He doesn’t even know like their hair’s done perfectly. He’d just throw a hat. So when we were at the optimist, this was what, two weeks ago, we both looked at each other and we’d be like, we should buy.
Hats. And so we both got a hat that night and we’re like, we’re gonna, no, we’re going to do this. This is like part of celebrating. We’re just going to buy a hat from this place. So that was something fun and little that we did
André: random. Yeah.
Kathy: Did you have something planned that got, you know, for the celebration that got canceled because of COVID.
Or were you just trying to get to the finish line?
André: I always want to do, like, we love like parties, so we would want him to throw a book launch. We would have wanted to be with all of our friends. You know, we would have wanted it to be more of a community. I think our community helped us write this book and we would have wanted it to be a celebration with them and saying, thank you to them because we couldn’t have done this without them.
Half the time they’re taking care of our kids half the time, they’re, you know, giving us ideas or conversations or working through chapters with us. So there are so many things that we wish that we could have probably done more with like a big, thank you, shindig, but. That’s okay.
Kathy: Thanks so much for sharing about that.
I know it was some disappointment to not be able to celebrate, but hopefully very soon, you guys can have a big celebration with your friends and community that helped you get this launch. Like a, it’s not unlike starting a business, right. Writing a book together. I mean, I haven’t done it yet,
Jeff: but yeah, for us, it took three years.
I mean, this project has been, I mean, it’s been 18 years of like wrestling through the concepts together, but, yeah, three years of doing research and interviewing couples and, and trying to make sense of all of it, you know, and, and it’s not done. It’s funny. We always talk about. You know, writing a book is the first half of that’s hard.
And then the second half is like sharing about it and getting people to know about it. And it’s a, it’s a whole, it’s a whole journey for sure.
André: Writing is the easiest part, the promotion and the self promotion. That’s hard for me. So.
Kathy: Yeah, I bet. And then a well written book, which this one is, that you make it look so easy when you distill the information down and put it into the chapters.
So well done. Well, let’s hear some about your story and just give us a glimpse of what life looks like for the Shinabargers currently. Where do you live? What do you do? How many kids.
Jeff: Yep. Yeah. So, we’ve been married 18 years. We live in a neighborhood called East Atlanta village. On the, kind of the Southeast side of Atlanta, we’ve lived there for 13 years now and I lead a nonprofit here in Atlanta called Plywood People.
And Plywood is a nonprofit that leads a community of startups doing good. And, we help get things off the ground, get ideas off the ground, everything from nonprofit organizations to for-profit social enterprises, we’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of projects that sometimes succeed. And oftentimes don’t.
André: Well, isn’t it like over 700
Jeff: or 700 projects? Yeah.
Kathy: Oh, that is awesome. Congratulations.
Jeff: You know,
Kathy: very visionary.
Jeff: Yes. You know, it’s encouraging the people we get to work with. Just they see problems in the world and are trying to give their life to restore it in some way. And it’s super encouraging
André: and yeah.
So I am a physician assistant. I worked at a clinic here in Atlanta. I take care of a very underserved population here and we have two kids, 10 and 8. And yeah, I think right now is COVID season for us. And so for me as a medical professional, this is a very busy, busy, hard season. So I’m just doing a lot of COVID things for the most kind of high-risk vulnerable populations here.
So that’s what it looks like. And it’s a lot of readjusting. Our kids are in virtual school and, you know, there’s all the things right now that make this tension between love and work. Just seem. Even greater, you know, it just expounds that even more. And so, you know, we wrote this book before, COVID like we said, and then now with COVID we’re like, Oh yeah, this matters a lot, a lot right now.
Kathy: And y’all have been married how long?
André: 18 years.
Kathy: 18 years. Congratulations. And reading your book. I mean, your, your schedules are so full. How in the world did you guys have the bandwidth to, to do this, but this project?
Jeff: Yeah, so, I mean, We had to commit time and energy. I mean, basically Andre, every Friday it would be like our Love or Work day.
So she would, you know, she would say, Hey, on Fridays, we’re going to do interviews. We’re going to be doing some writing. We’ll be whatever, updating things. And so we both kind of commit that day to it. And then to write the book, it took about nine months, almost a year of focused energy. So what we would do is we would block off weekends, One weekend a month.
And sometimes that would mean that two of us going away someplace for the weekend and getting sitters for the kids or family members or friends or someone other times it would be like, Andre will go away for one night. She comes back. We literally like give each other a high five and kiss. And then we’ve we flip flop, you know?
And I would go away for one night. And which is interesting. Cause you know, you were asking earlier about competition. Like I remember the first time we, the first weekend we did that, Andre went away. She wrote thousands, like five or seven, how many? Five or 6,000 words in one night, like she was on fire.
So then, like we kind of pass the Baton and I go down to this, our friend’s lakehouse and I’m like, okay. I gotta like keep up with Andre, I wrote like 300 words and they were all, I don’t think we used any word, you know, but then the next month, like I was on fire and she wasn’t. So it was, it was interesting, interesting process
André: ebbs and flows to, you know, that creative process and learning each other’s creative process is really hard.
Understanding your own creative process, so that you just stay in your own flow and let him get in his flow. You know, we are very different people, so we wrote differently too and, and create differently too. So yeah, we had to learn all those things.
Kathy: Well, there, there are a lot of books out there on marriage.
What prompted you guys to say, Hey, we have something to share here?
André: Yeah, we have read a lot of books about marriage. most of them are written by men. Most of them are white men and I’m just waiting to hear some women, you know, and also I just, I wanted both perspectives. I wanted to hear both, you know, it’s like two sides of the same story.
Right. But that’s how you get the full story. And I wanted that really bad. and I didn’t find that in very many books and then. I also, I mean, Jeff and I have read a ton of marriage books, relationship books, something like that. And there’s nothing that’s talking like there’s like communication and language styles and love language and all these things, but there’s like, There’s a big glaring thing called work that Nope, that interrupts everything every day.
And nobody’s talking about it. Why, why aren’t we talking about the biggest thing, which is work, and how it affects your relationship and marriage? I don’t understand. So we just didn’t see it out there and we’re like, well, then we’re going to do it and we’re going to do it differently and we’re going to write it how we would want it.
A book to be written and how we would want to read it.
Jeff: So, and we actually say that now both of us would say that not everything written in the book, we both agree with. She wrote some things that I’m not fully behind. And I wrote some things she’s like, I would definitely not ever write that, you know, but that’s kind of isn’t that marriage, like, that’s part of the partnership that we have is like, We don’t have to agree on every single thing in life.
And you know, every morning I drink black coffee and she puts cream in her coffee and it drives me crazy. Like, why do we have to put cream in it?
Kathy: Right. Yeah. Isn’t that the only way to drink it?
Jeff: that’s just life it’s 2 people coming together and trying to figure out how to do it together, you know? And I think that’s, that’s the premise of the whole, the whole story we’re trying to live.
Kathy: And I love that, that you, like you said, Andre, you incorporated that piece of work because that is such a big part of our lives. And especially from a woman’s perspective, I think that’s what I found so refreshing about this book and wish that I had had a similar conversation. 20-30 years ago, because I thought a lot of these same things, but I wasn’t as courageous or didn’t have the assertiveness skills maybe to, to say what I was needing.
One of the things I really enjoyed it about the book is that it’s not, prescriptive. It’s not like this is the way to do work and marriage, right? It’s like, here are our topics and then you provide questions and references to some of your podcast episodes. So I think you’ve created just a wonderful resource for couples, wherever they are, whatever stage of life I’m going to read a quote from what personally, I enjoyed the most. And I’m at a very different d of life. We’re empty-nesters, like 10 years out. So we’re not dealing with the children yeah. Perspective and having yes, we survive and we have, we, we made it and I will say this to you with young children. . We raised people that we love spending time with.
And so that’s probably the hardest part of empty nest is just, you know, somebody said one time, just about the time you get your kids to where you really like them. They leave home. Well, we liked ours most of the time that they were home anyway, but they are, they’re some of our favorite people to spend time with and our in-laws we, all three kids are married and we just, we love our family. So, but we’ve worked very hard also to create communication and relationships. Yeah. But I really loved how you all developed the idea of supporting each other and understanding each other’s gifts and passions and desires. And I want to read just a short outtake. And I can’t remember if this was your chapter Andre. “one of the greatest gifts a partner can bring you is helping you find clarity in the pursuit of your purpose. Supporting your partner’s purpose will mean making sacrifices, but reaching a point where all three loves: loving our partner, loving our purpose, and loving our partner’s purpose. are working together, is crucial to a healthy life.” I just loved how you guys talked about loving your partner’s purpose. Can you share an example of a time when you had to work with competing goals, competing work goals?
André: I don’t know. Always. I mean, we both love our jobs.
We both love our work. We’re really passionate about it. I mean, and Jeff loves his job, you know, but we also know that we both love each other and we both love our kids. So there’s other dynamics at play besides just that. But I mean, one of the statistics is only three in 10 people feel encouraged by their partner to pursue their work in dreams, which is kind of the whole premise of that chapter that, I think Jeff wrote that one, but 3 in 10 it’s only 30% of people feel encouraged by their partner.
And I think that’s where we just, there was such a deficit that, you know, Jeff came up with the three great loves, like. Loving each, you know, loving each other, loving our own work and what we’re doing, and then loving our partners work to help them pursue what they want to do.
Jeff: There was a time. It was actually after I had written my second book that this, I think we share this story in the book.
but I had written my second book. And I, I came home and I told Andre, I’m done. We finished the book, we’re turning it in. Isn’t it so exciting? Let’s go celebrate. I said, do you want to, do you want to read the final, final version? She’s like, no, I there’s no way in hell. I want to read this book. It’s just like she was done.
And I was like, what, do I tell stories about you? I do. She’s like, listen, I read them all. It’s fine. And then she looked at me and she’s like, it’s okay. When is it going to be my turn for my dreams to take priority? Ultimately, that was like the tension. And that was fair. I mean, I lead an organization where I help everyone else have their dreams come to life.
And then the person close to me, the person I love the most looking at me going. When is it my turn for my dream, you know? And she didn’t feel that support person was like, wow. So we had to really unpack that and really, really changed. Okay. So tell me what some of those dreams are that you want to pursue in the next year, two or three years.
And what do I need to do to make it? Give you the freedom to be able to do that. which ended up turning into, she had wanted to be a part of this project that was in Honduras, where she was doing medical work, overseas. And that meant I had to give her the freedom and encourage her to take week-long trips to go and do that, which was hard on me, you know, to take on the responsibility, the kids for that season.
But like, that was kind of, I think one thing we’ve really learned is that. We have to have ebbs and flows of the season of who takes, what dreams take priority wise. So that would be one scenario that I remember back. I mean, the contrast is constant. It all like, but,
André: and the ebb and flow is a constant ebb and flow.
I mean, we’re in COVID season right now. And my job is crazy. I’m a medical professional. I’m not doing this now. Why did I even go into this field? You know? And so I am COVID testing and taking care of a lot of probing patients and, and like it it’s, I’m gone. Like I’m not home. I’m busy, busy, busy, and. You know he had to, he had to realize like, yeah, this is literally why you spent hours and thousands and thousands of dollars to pursue your degree to do this.
Like, if you’re not doing it now, why’d you, you know? And so he had to support me and this time, and he’s been home and being a teacher and a dad and a stay home dad and all the things so that I could do that, you know? So. I think that there’s always ebbs and flows and there are seasons that you allow each other, you know, to take priority or, but they’re always going to bump heads.
you just have to kind of. You know, allow those seasons to flow and realize that it’s a season and it should end so, a season’s not a season unless it ends. And that means it’s just a lifetime and a lifetime. It’s not going to work,
Jeff: you know, it’s not
Kathy: Yeah. And the challenging thing about COVID is like, when does the season end?
Right. That one’s out of our control, but I know you talk in your book about. But, you know, seasons and to the, as much as we can, it’s a little different with entrepreneur ventures sometimes because my husband started his business when he was 40, it’s still a season to some degree, we don’t see an end, but we had a long conversation.
And so just so you know, The kinds of conversations sparked through your book and your conversation questions. But we talked this morning thing about, I was telling my husband Mark about, about the book and I was, and I did, I said, I, I wish I’d had some other peer models like this when we were early in our marriage and raising a family and it.
It wasn’t because he didn’t want to help with the kids. He, we had talked actually before we ever had kids about how we would ideally work halftime each of us, and then the other half time parenting. Well, You know, real-world didn’t turn out that way. And I felt like at the time, we were serving as church planters out in California, and had raised money.
And I, I didn’t feel like I could say, Hey, when is it my time? He would have, but I, that’s where the courage piece comes in. I think Andre that you had the courage and the wisdom to say what you were feeling and not let it build up. I know there’s another story in your book where you did let it build up,
André: got one, one shining clarity moment, right?
Kathy: Right. We try to put our better stuff out there. Right. But I was curious how. How you guys learned to communicate so vulnerably, to own what you’re feeling, what are some things that, that you guys did to learn that
Jeff: I don’t know when it first comes out, if it sounds so vulnerable or if it’s a little bit more accusatory
André: in both of us, but
Jeff: you know, one thing I think that we have always been good at is openly and honestly sharing.
What is going on? Is that fair?
André: Yeah. I mean, for me, like he is my person, so he’s my safe place. He is my person. If I can not tell him all the things that I’m feeling, then I, I don’t have, I don’t have that, you know? And, And so I want, and he should be the one person that I can be the most vulnerable with.
absolutely. I think for him, I know that there’s a confidence in our relationship that he’s not leaving, he’s committed, he’s staying. And then therefore I can say whatever I want, like, and how I need, you know, because there is that safety right there. It’s a, it’s a safe relationship, a safe place and I can be vulnerable with him in that space.
Jeff: That, that doesn’t mean that I have not gone and left the house and taken some long walks at times to kind of
André: process. I always, it doesn’t always come out. Great. I’ll just say that. Remember when I said I was a bulldozer, I am a bulldozer. So
Jeff: we all have those moments, right. Like I think, but yeah, I mean, I think, I think.
One thing we learned about ourselves and then interviewing so many people is, a phrase that a lot of people taught us was this idea that, the person that you marry when you first get married is not the only person this person will be. So like you marry multiple versions of your partner. And if that is true, if you can come to the reality, that that is true of both of us, then you have to constantly be curious about what this new person is looking like and thinking, and feeling, and changing.
And so, yeah, I mean, we are in constant question mode to one another. I usually drive the questions. I don’t always get the answers that I was hoping for on the front end, but like just opening the dialogue and asking questions of the person that you love means you’re staying curious and wanting to keep knowing this developing person that’s sitting right in front of you.
Kathy: I think that’s an important, relationship skill to be able to ask questions, not just to fill the time, but because I genuinely want to know what’s going on in your world, your mind, your heart, your soul. I have over 30 years of experience as a marriage counselor. So I’ve seen a lot of couples and I, it really is striking to me.
I know your marriage is not perfect. There isn’t a perfect marriage, but. It is a little more unusual to find people that have such a healthy yeah. Relationship. Yes. We don’t always say it perfectly. Yes. We go throw something and then take a walk. Yeah. But you can come back and repair it and make plans for the future and continue to keep moving forward as new versions of yourself, new versions of your marriage.
So I really, I admire that in your relationship and I think it really comes through. And I just want to kind of say that from the outside, because it’s like anything else we. The world we see every day through our own eyes. We just think, well, yeah, isn’t everybody this way. And I think you guys have a really thriving and healthy marriage. And you mentioned earlier that you’ve read a lot of books. Have you guys ever, used a relationship coach or gone to marriage counseling or have mentor couples that you meet with?
Jeff: So funny you asked that, well, one of the stats that we found in our research was that only 8% of all working couples have ever seen a counselor.
8%. It’s really sad. But to be honest, we had not seen, we had, we did have a lot of kind of mentor couples in our relationships, but we had not seen a counselor until about two years ago
André: until we started this project. And I was determined that it was going to make our marriage fall apart.
Jeff: We actually did this one podcast where Andre, we get in the car and we’re going to counseling.
And she was, I was just not that excited to go to see this counselor and. Yeah. Cause I thought she was like preparing to like dump something, that. Like I just there’s so many, the first time you go is so intimidating. And so she started recording. She started asking me all these questions in the car ride to the counselor.
Why are you so nervous? Jeff? I’m like, well, first of all, why are you recording us right now? Like, I’m like, I was just combating everything, and yeah. And then she recorded us after it. There was no big thing we were trying to drop on one another. It was like, it was just the proactivity to kind of go, hey, we love each other.
André: Check-ins, right?
Jeff: Let’s keep that going. Let’s keep learning more things about each other. Let’s go deeper together. Let’s bring up some stuff with a third party that isn’t going to hurt one another. You know, let’s have a translator for a couple of the big questions we’re dealing with. And so, anyway, so now I wouldn’t say we go.
All the time, but we keep checking in has been really healthy ever since.
Kathy: Yeah. Well, I, I use the term coach because the best athletes, I remember reading an article years ago about Tiger Woods. And even when he was at the top of his game, he still had a coach, somebody that stood outside and gave subtle feedback or feedback about subtle things that he could change to be.
Just a little better. And as you know, marriage is that way, like even a good marriage, we can still work on, right? To, to improve. So, that’s, that’s interesting. And I, I always tell people to like, just have, have someone that you can check in with maybe once a year, you know, just. Like set your goals for the year and, and then come back and just check-in so that things don’t get so far down the road that sometimes it’s not salvageable.
Right. So, thanks for sharing that. That was helpful. What was one of the most challenging parts of this project for you guys?
André: so there’s lots of things. Hey
Jeff: guys, this is like low, really low on the totem pole, but one of the most challenging things is to try to get. We interview couples. So like when we interview, we’re super busy and to interview two other people that are crazy busy to try to get four schedules on the calendar at the same time is ridiculous, but that’s not like a huge finding, but that was like one, one realistic aspect of it.
André: That’s for the podcast. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.
Kathy: Yeah, no, I experienced that too. And just getting couples that are willing to talk about their marriage, but you’re right. Trying to schedule multiple people. Yeah.
André: also just, you know, I think writing in general, is for us, like I was kind of saying earlier that we have both different, really creative processes in that.
And, I think you just go into something expecting you’re going to be the same. And then you realize. Oh, well, this is not working, you know, and we are not the same. And so, yeah. And I think I needed to know, learn. He is a creative already, so he knows his process. He’s already in that space a lot. And I’m in medicine.
There’s literally nothing creative about it. Like you are following the rules and,
Kathy: well, I don’t know. There’ve been, there’ve been some very creative solutions suggested for COVID-19,
André: so I don’t know how, yeah, anyways, but it’s just been, so for me, yeah. I had to learn my own creative process and I think I started.
Being really frustrated in a lot of ways. Cause I was just mimicking him for a while. Like, well, Jeff’s written books before, so I guess I’ll just do like what he does as you know, and then realizing like, Oh, there’s just, I can’t do that. You know, he’s a very, he needs to be in a creative space. People are, you know, this kind of very creative environment where that is just.
Distracting for me, like 100% distracting. So he jumps from coffee shop to coffee shop and place to place, you know, let’s go check out this cool new place. And I’m like, lock me in a closet. Like, that’s what I need. I don’t, I need my candle, my laptop, and a closet, you know? And so for us, we just had to figure that out, you know, so, but that goes for anything.
I think even in relationships is, you know, that. We’re very different. He’s a visionary, he’s a person that has great big dreams, great big things. And I’m the practical to do person. And so I think I had to learn also just in our relationship to not even, you know, to not be a dream crusher, because I’m really good at that.
I’m really good at dream-crushing. He told me himself and so. Yeah. So there’s lots of things that we’ve had to navigate in our relationship too, that’s very similar, you know?
Kathy: Gotcha. and, it is a learning process, ongoing learning about each other. Right. I think you mentioned in your book about your Enneagram type.
Yes. Or was it a post?
Jeff: Yeah, I’m an eight to challenger and Andrea is a one. Yeah.
André: Okay. Have you, y’all here a nice
Kathy: fire and ice have y’all, but you’re in the same triad. Right. have you guys dug into the Enneagram or other personality profiles to kind of understand how the other is wired or what, what are your thoughts about
So funny, I, when you, when you asked the question, I’ve literally done. I don’t know of a profile you could name any ggg I’ve done every profile you could possibly think of. I started doing it. My dad and mom did. We did the disc, the assessment. When I, when I was 10, we did it as a family. Like this is part of my life like
Jeff: Yeah. so I very, I love assessments, but I will say the Enneagram for us in our marriage has actually been one of the most probably healing and informative things that we’ve done to learn about each other. because it’s it, we just understood something deeper within each of us. so that’s been, that’s probably been the most helpful for our relationship.
Kathy: Yeah. I’ve used the DISC a lot and it was very helpful at a time. Mark was in his mid forties. We were using it in the business, but it was the first time that he was affirmed for who he is. And didn’t think there was something wrong with them. And so we’ve gone pretty deep in the DISC. And then the last two years have dived more into the Enneagram. And I think, especially when you’re in a big project like you have been to understand, okay, what do I do under stress and what does she do? Or he do under stress and
André: yeah. Very, very helpful. Yeah. And I think it was the same with me is for so long. You know, we fight all the time.
Like every day there’s something. And I’m like, why, I look at other couples, and I’m like, nobody fights as much as we fight. Like there is something wrong. And then, because I’m like very, very strong well, I’m like, well, then it must be, I felt like I must be the problem. Right. Yeah. And, and, and so I just immediately.
Had this, I don’t know, shame or guilt or something like that. Something I was doing or who I was, was creating the problem here. And, yeah. And then reading the Enneagram and then realizing that like, Oh, he’s a challenger. Like he loves this. Yeah. Like it’s not my fault. Yeah. And then reading it, the relationship of the two numbers, where, it was like, this is how you, this is how you process. You both go after the same thing in completely different ways. So we have the exact same goal and we both, generally do, we just are like coming at it in completely different ways and then like attacking on the way in, you know, and to realize that, that it was both, I was like, Oh, I am okay.
Amazing. Like, there is nothing wrong with me and yeah, it was very freeing, very freeing for me.
Kathy: Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. I, I’m a big advocate of personality profiles, whatever. But I do love the Enneagram because of all the growth you can gain from it personally if you’re willing to do that work.
Well in the process of interviewing, you guys interviewed a hundred couples, right? Yeah. Did you ever get to the point of going to 25 is good enough or,
André: Oh, I said that all the time. No, we pretty big goal. And where we’re we kind of keep our, keep our goals as the priority. So yeah, we were sticking to a hundred, but now that we’re over a hundred, like, Hey,
Jeff: there’s some questions being asked
André: now or re-evaluating.
Kathy: Oh, okay. Well, it’s that season time to reevaluate, right? I’m curious. how did this project change you personally and in your relationship?
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, I think. One of the things that, I mean, we kind of look at all these interviews we’ve done. And I don’t know if you experienced this as you’re doing these interviews, but it kind of ends up being like a little bit of marriage counseling ourselves.
Like whenever you’re processing someone else’s story, you kind of apply that to your own. So, I mean, we had to over a hundred times in the last three years, we have. Unpacked someone else’s story and applied it to our own lives. And that is like a really healthy practice. Like what do we do to learn from them?
What works for us? What didn’t we agree with, what do we agree with? How, you know, we are, we’re asking those questions at the end of every interview we do. And, so it ended up being really helpful for us to invest time and energy to kind of go well, what do we think about that situation? so that’s something I would, I would definitely say it became apparent for us.
Right? Well, and we went to counseling even though I didn’t want to go to counseling.
André: For me, I would say this more individually for me as, Let’s see, I would say that, you know, Jeff has written books before he’s done this before. There’s this kind of ease that he has. And for me, like everything felt terrifying and new and, I think Bernay Brown calls it FFTs like your first time, you know, and everything, when it’s your first time, it just feels so vulnerable and so terrifying. And. I write a lot just in general, but that’s my, like internal processing I do. And so I journal and, but it is for me, like a hundred percent. So I’ve never written for somebody to read and that is very, very scary.
And yeah, I knew that I had to be vulnerable and I knew that that was, the way like. To connect with women, to connect with people. and so, yeah, it was, it was really scary. I would say that. And, and also, just acknowledging, like I’m going to have to put it out there and be vulnerable with my story and because that is how we change.
That’s how we grow. So,
Jeff: Yeah, I think, and I, as I was in it, I remember, I mean, I’ve had, I don’t know how many times I did say this to you on Andre, I’m like, as I was reading things, she was writing, I’m like, wow, this is really powerful because you’re saying what so many specifically women need to have, have the courage to say.
And you’re saying, being something that so many men need to read. Because their partner can’t say this to them. So it’s been really fun for me to watch her step into that next phase of her voice being heard. I mean, I, I can’t say it enough, like to experience that and to see the courage within your partner is something we’re just really.
Really beautiful and attractive and yeah. Very attractive. So there’s that?
André: you’re going to have a good,
Is that enough?
Kathy: She’s like more and more. And the modeling it is for your daughter. You have a daughter and a son, right? A daughter is. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. How that models for your daughter. Because many of us just, we didn’t have those models. So you guys are breaking some new ground and I’m very grateful for it. Was there any that, that surprised you along the way?
Jeff: I mean, there was a lot of. Surprises. I mean like, the stat 95% of the people do believe it’s possible to change the world, stay in love, and have a healthy marriage that are, stay in love and raise a healthy family. it was surprising. It was crazy optimistic. We didn’t think it would come out that high.
In addition to that, 83 per cent of the couples say that working has made them a better parent. That was wow. Like I think we think that, I don’t know if we had the clarity to claim that without the research, there is a stat that was, it was really, really interesting that, about vacation. What was that number?
André: 41% of people use all their vacation time. So that’s like almost 60% that don’t,
Jeff: they don’t use their vacation. So it’s like, there’s all this, they believe it’s possible. They’re exhausted while doing it. And they don’t use their vacation. They’re just like what? so there is a lot of the statistics that were surprising.
It was interesting as we got further into interviewing people though, We started seeing so many overlapping stories,
André: common threads,
Jeff: common threads. It was like, Oh, we’ve heard that before. Oh, we’ve heard that before. We’ve heard that before. So I think it, which was confirmation that we were onto something, you know?
But overall it’s like couples today, the modern couple of today, it’s not, if they can do it, it’s like, they’re going to do it. We’re going to, we’re going to figure this out because I believe so much in what Andre does. She believes so much in what I do. We’re going to figure this thing out. We don’t know how, when we started this, we didn’t know how that was kind of the premise of it, but we’re committed to both of us living out our purpose in life.
Now that makes it a real shared partnership. That means we have to make decisions for each other. So I think that was kind of like, no, we’re, we’re in it. And a lot of the couples that we interview say that same thing. Sorry, I just got
André: it all. I don’t know what to add to that. Sorry.
Kathy: Yeah. I, I am seeing that some with the podcast interviews that I’m doing as well, just like you said, common themes and it’s like, Oh, okay.
There it is again. And one of the common themes I see is that sense of partnership, in thriving marriages. There’s some common things in marriages that don’t survive too, but, we’re not going to go there. That’s not what today is about. Yeah. I, I was thinking about how writing a book or starting a project is kind of like birthing a baby.
And so you’ve birthed this baby and it may be too soon to ask. I remember after I, we have two boys and a girl and after our second was born, a second son. Literally minutes after I delivered my husband looks at me and says, so you want to try for a girl? And I was like, are you kidding?
It may be too soon to ask what’s next, but.
I got to ask it, what, what is next? Or is it too
Jeff: well this afternoon, we got to go pick out some tile from Lowe’s we’re redoing our bathroom! Like real-life stuff. Right. It’s like, but I think, you know, related to this project, something that’s next Andre and I did, we recorded these videos. so one of the things that we, as we’ve gotten into this one thing we’ve realized is that not a lot of men read books.
André: Yes. Or especially a relationship, but yes,
Jeff: especially relationship books, but yeah, we’ve learned all this stuff and, know if the relationships, whatever partnership you have is going to find some kind of connection, you both need to be learning in some new way. So, so with the book, you know, we have a regular book that you can buy or ebook.
We, we read the audiobook cause there’s a lot of
André: audio is our yeah. Our own voices,
Jeff: but then we decide,
Kathy: Oh, that’s cool.
Jeff: yea, to do these
videos, where it’s just Andre and I kind of interviewing each other and we, Well, it’s just us talking on different premises that we’ve learned along the way,
André: and they’re like five to 10 minutes.
and we just want it to be something that would be super easy to just pull up on your phone on your way to a date where you throw it on your phone, listen to it together, watch it together. It’s five minutes, five, 10 minutes. And then it gives you some questions and some ideas of something to talk about on your date.
So it’ll, it’s a lot of, kind of what’s in the book. So if one partner reads the book, it would be fine. You could still throw this out to your, you know, your partner and have your partner watch it and be kind of on board with what’s written,
Jeff: it’ll be like kind of a followup resource that’ll come up and we’re not sure exactly what I’m releasing.
It. Let’s call it a month-ish or out, you know,
Kathy: before the end of the year,
Jeff: for sure.
Kathy: Audio format or YouTube video or
Video? Okay. Like on YouTube?
André: we’re trying, we’re
Jeff: still trying to figure all the logistics of that. they’ll be fair enough, but well, it’ll
André: be like an episode, like you you’re like, Oh, let me click on this episode and see, and it’ll be topical.
Kathy: It’s all good. Yeah.
Jeff: I mean, I think whenever you, and this might be the case with you too, like whenever you spend that much energy trying. Trying to create content for others, trying to, we’ve learned all this stuff that we want as many couples to learn from. So now we’re trying to figure out what are all the ways that people want to engage it and make sure that they get an opportunity to experience it.
Kathy: Oh, I love that. Love that. Is there anything else you guys would like to share before we wrap up today?
André: No. I mean, I, I really do hope, that people, like women specifically, really feel like they have a voice in their relationship and are able to be brave and talk with their partners about the things that are, you know, tugging on their hearts or dreams that they’ve, you know, kind of shoved deep down for a long time that they haven’t really let come to the surface because we let everything else come before us.
It’s just what we do. And we sacrifice ourselves in every way. And I think it’s something that. I dunno. It’s like, it’s our badge of honor or something of being a mother or being a partner. I don’t know, but whatever we do, we just let everything come first. And I just really hope that this book encourages women to get to put themselves first for a little bit and get to ask the hard questions and voice in their hearts, you know, what’s going on inside. And so that’s my hope. And I think ultimately like we want people to move from like a patriarchal kind of thing to like a partnership. So we’re like moving from a patriarchal relationship to a full-fledge
partnership and, that’s our goal and that they would answer and read these questions. You, you’re probably gonna even just saying those words, you might disagree with me and that’s a, okay. Like I don’t care. And you might disagree with things in this book, just like we disagree with some of these things in this book, but we hope that you’ll at least go through the questions because I think that it would, it’ll make you braver and stronger and wants to communicate and ask each other deeper questions.
Jeff: Yeah, I have nothing to add to that. It was good. so…
Kathy: well, and it is very helpful. Like you said, Andre too, in order to be brave, to have something say, Hey, I read this. Here’s what this couple wrote. And here are some questions. What do you think? You know, and just to be able to bring that to the table and open that conversation is.
So huge. You talk about sex in one chapter and about, and I would affirm this as a marriage therapist that the most intimate part of our lives is oftentimes the hardest to talk about, but you were vulnerable and courageous, and with our partner, there should be nothing off-limits. Yeah. Yes. And no secrets.
You guys talk about that. Yeah. Yeah. So thank you though. The way the book is set up just for our listeners is there’s a chapter with questions at the end that you and your partner can discuss. And then also a reference to one of their podcasts that, Kind of, you can deep dive in a little bit deeper on that topic.
So if people want to reach you, what is the best place for people to connect with you each
Jeff: Yea, on Instagram, just, @loveorwork, and, that’s the best way. We’re on there, every day, honestly, and if we take direct messages, you’ll get an answer from directly from Andre. And I have of, if you have follow up questions or whatever, and, and you can get the book wherever you buy books, that’s available there.
if that’s a local bookstore call your local bookstore, or if it’s Amazon, which is, you know, the most logistically easy for a lot of people, then please support us in that way also. Also, our website, loveorworkbook.com
Kathy: Wonderful. And I would encourage if you’re listening to this podcast seriously, Just order the book today. It has so much wisdom and they’ve done a lot, a lot of work interviewing over a hundred couples.
So want to thank you guys again for being my guests and for your time. And, thank you so much. I hope we can meet in person one day.
André: I hope so, too.
Kathy: All right. Thank you. Y’all have a great day. Bye-bye.
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