Going All In Marriage

kico2We’ve been talking about what going all in looks like this month, from the decision to go all in, the scariness of it and the courage to push past the fear, and of course the processes of it. Today we’re going to talk about what it looks like through the context of relationships, specifically marriage. I’m sharing what Kimberly (Kim) and Maurice (Rico) Demosthene, of Philadelphia, PA have found it takes to go all in in their marriage. I’ve had the joy of knowing Kim, a nurse, and Rico, a private realtor, for about 10 years now. I got to coordinate their wedding almost six years ago and think they are amazing individuals, a great couple that has really had one of the healthiest and most admirable relationships I’ve witnessed, and they are pretty sweet, loving, funny and creative parents to Mathieu (3yrs) and Roman (5 mos.).

TSLL: How long have you two known each other?

Kim & Rico: We’ve known each other four 14 years and in July we will have been married for six years.

TSLL: When you think of when you dated compared to being married what has changed?

Kim & Rico: When dating, there’s less responsibility and at the same time more freedom to spend time with one another as you would like. You’re trying to figure out if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. But also, you have a one dimensional view of the person- mostly the good.  In marriage there’s a lot of responsibility and most moments you share together you have to work for. You know without a doubt that this is the person you want to spend your life with. However, the challenge comes with actually putting in the work to build that life together. You come to see and  understand this person’s flaws but you realize the “good & bad” makes them who they are and you love them more for it.

TSLL: What does commitment to your marriage look like for you as a wife? As a husband?

Kim: For me, commitment to my marriage means never considering any other options and recognizing that I don’t need to because I made the best choice. It also means trying to give my husband the best version of me everyday instead of tired me, frustrated me, the me that’s left over when life has beat up on me all day. That’s not very fair to him and doesn’t show that I’m committed.

Rico: Commitment means appreciating what and who I have, not taking them for granted, and not making her feel less than. It’s showing her that I’m not interested in anything else because I’m truthfully not. She’s the one I chose to be with- she’s “it”. It’s also wanting to provide the best for her

TSLL: Have there been times in your relationship (while married or before) where you knew you weren’t giving it your all? How did you know and how did that change?

Kim: There have been times while married I knew I wasn’t giving it my all because everything that I would complain about him not doing (whether to him directly or inwardly) I recognized I wasn’t doing it neither. Sometimes I realized I was even worse. It changed by me learning that oh yeah…sometimes you have to give what you want to a relationship to get it out of a relationship.

Rico: Before marriage, yes there were times I wasn’t giving it my all.  I knew I wasn’t because it’s while you’re still trying to figure out if the relationship is something you want. Once I realized that she was who I wanted to be with, I had to give it 100% and I haven’t stopped since.

TSLL: What three things do you think are absolutely necessary if a woman is going to go all in and be a wife? A guy going all in to be a wife?

Kim: For a wife to go all in she absolutely needs to be fully invested in her husband, to open her heart to him fully,  and to be an encourager/supporter of him.

Rico: For a husband to go all in he absolutely needs an undeniable love for his wife, a selfless mentality (putting his wife’s needs first), and a vision for the relationship so he has a point of reference to constantly work towards.

TSLL: When you are running low on what you feel you have to offer your partner, what do you do?

Kim & Rico: When running low, honesty is the best policy. Just be upfront with your partner to let them know how you feel.  Take a moment to yourself to identify what’s going on.

TSLL: How does your partner help you recharge?

Kim & Rico: While marriage is definitely a partnership sometimes one partner is running low for whatever reason. When that happens, the other partner taking the lead in our relationship when really helps.

TSLL: How has your spouse helped you go all in in some other aspect of your life?

Kim & Rico: Providing encouragement, listening, and reminding each other of our strengths.

TSLL: Can marriage be fulfilling or healthy if one partner is all in and the other is not? Why or why not?

Kim & Rico: No.  Marriage is work requiring both partners to show up and participate. There will definitely be moments when one person has to help carry the other’s load, but that should alternate. If only one person is all in, they will get burned out. Both people are equally responsible for the outcome of the union.

TSLL: What words of wisdom would you offer to couples who feel like they have gone all in, things aren’t working, and they are thinking about getting all out?

Kim & Rico: Seek counsel. And remember the big picture- This is someone you love  and there’s a reason why you married them.





All In

Photo courtesy of Api Shop Style.com

Photo courtesy of Api Shop Style.com

Most mornings I like to lounge in bed. I get up, make a cup of tea, and then grab everything from my journal, Bible, devotional,  magazine, and a pen and crawl back into bed under the white sheets and down comforter, back comfortable supported by a host of pillows in different shapes and sizes, and the sun unabashed in its intrusion to my room.  This morning was no different and I grabbed my copy of Fast Company from the slate blue coffee table in my living room.

The first article to catch my eye was titled Failing to Break. That absolutely sounded like me. Then I saw that the person interviewed for the article was the guy behind Thunderclap. I just participated in a Thunderclap campaign for a friend of mine who’s the founder of Act4Accountabilty, a non profit dedicated to government accountability and advocacy.  I started reading and the second paragraph in had me thinking “You crazy lucky guy.”  He quit his job two days after he found out he had a kid on the way. Talk about going all in. Who does that? Apparently Dave Cascino. He was super fortunate however to have a wife who told him to  “Go for it!”. I mean that is pretty sweet. To have a partner who is all about supporting you as you go all in to whatever it is you are giving your all to is amazing. In my mind that was a game changer for Dave. I’m not willing to say he wouldn’t have moved forward with Thunderclap without his wife’s support, I am willing to say it’s pretty likely would have impacted his process and progress.

For a moment I wished for a spouse who was cheering me on in my endeavor to go all in. Then I grabbed my journal and wrote “There is no Calvary. No one is coming to save you. You will make mistakes. You are 31 and have made plenty of mistakes and lived. You will make more mistakes and still live.” Blunt but true. If I was waiting for a significant other to believe in me and my dreams, hold my hand on the venture, wipe tears after disappointments, setbacks, or just stupid mistakes, I’d never go all in. It would be scary and lonely. Even in a state of delirium I wouldn’t ask for scary and lonely.  Oh you crazy lucky Dave. Oh you crazy courageous Ahyana. Oh you crazy courageous you.

Photo courtesy of Three One Seven.com

Photo courtesy of Three One Seven.com

That’s what it takes to go all in. Well part of what it takes. There’s some other things like focus, energy, creativity, determination, etc. But you gotta start with some crazy and some courage. By crazy I mean, you gotta start with the gumption to go after what you want even if you know at the start you don’t have everything you want and question if you really have all that you need. Dave kept it real in the interview- fully aware that his going all in to create Thunderclap could cost him a lot- including bankruptcy. Yet he started the venture anyway. And he was lucky to have courage to go after this and someone who believed in his courage. So maybe I should say crazy lucky courageous Dave.

I did the start up thing back in 2008. I also stopped it back in 2013. I’m re starting up. Trust me, if you think starting up the first time is crazy, re starting takes another level of crazy. I’m not dealing with all new unkowns. I know some things. Now I got some unknown stocked with some didn’t work out and what if it doesn’t work out again. Yet, I’m going at it. And I am going at it teamless. My team will come, this I am certain. But I’m not waiting for a team of folks to buy into my vision, to vet my vision, to redraft it, test run it, work out the kinks. That’s for me to do. No Calvary. Just courage. Courage to get back out there, to give myself fully to my vision, to go all in, head first.  It takes courage to give yourself fully to anyone or anything. Holding back is so much safer. Offering samples of ourselves, our talents, our abilities is convenient and honestly acceptable. We really have a way in the western world of tolerating mediocrity, and a surviving on a steady diet of the half baked. Going all in means just that, all. Doing all of anything takes courage. And courage is a daily moment to moment decision.

Here’s the deal- every day you have a chance to go all in. In your relationships, you job, your hobbies, your exercise regimen, etc. You can give it 100%, 87%, 63%, or 42%. You get to choose whether you ever have the conversation with your significant other about the prescription your doctor wrote you for depression thus giving them an opportunity to support you differently or to know you more fully. You get to choose if you sign up for the HR course about being a better supervisor even if you won supervisor of the year two years in a row two years ago. You get to choose whether or not you apply for a spot in this year’s craft fair and showcase your work or push yourself to create a line just for the showcase. You get to choose if you work out for the suggested 30 minutes 4 to 5 times a week or push yourself incrementally until its closer to an hour or so 4 to 5 times a week.

My hope for you in this moment, in this day, this week, month, and definitely this year is that you stop waiting for what your think you need to give your life all you got. We are relational beings. We need connection and community. We also need to live out our purpose fully. Others can help with that but they can’t do that for us.  The only person who can successfully go all in for the life we want, desire, and were designed for, is us.  Let’s get in there.

Photo courtesy of Nuitsi Belle Tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Nuitsi Belle Tumblr.com