Today’s Featured Couple is Britt and Sylvia!
Every couple has valuable treasure hidden in their relationship. The Spouse Dates Featured Couple Interview is designed to “mine” some of that treasure in order to share it with you.
As you read Britt and Sylvia’s story I hope you find a gem, jewel or golden nugget that will be encourage and inspire you in our own marriage!
Britt and Sylvia’s fifth wedding anniversary will be in June. They have a lovely three year old daughter. Both are connected to Akron, Ohio, but in different ways; Britt was born in Akron, but his family left when he was 2 years old, and Sylvia’s family arrived in Akron from Zimbabwe back when her mother was starting graduate school. Britt is a Family Medicine resident physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Sylvia is a breast cancer researcher at Case Western Reserve University.
How did you first meet and what was your first date?
Sylvia: Britt and I met at a graduate school social event on his birthday (he often refers to me as his birthday gift). It’s hard to say what our first date was; being graduate students we had a lot of study dates! I guess our first date was actually my birthday dinner (our birthdays are only five days apart) that he attended along with some of my friends from church.
As a couple, what is something you have struggled with or a difficulty you have overcome? How would you encourage other couples that may be facing the same challenge?
I think one of our challenges is dealing with our different communication styles. I consider words of affirmation and encouragement to be very important, as well as openly expressing one’s emotions, but I also tend to prefer more indirect statements if I feel that it is a potentially contentious issue. Britt prefers a more direct style of communication, and loves a spirited discussion/debate; he was on the debate team for years and enjoys debating with friends. So needless to say, sometimes our communication styles clash. I think what has helped is both of us trusting that the other is working on adapting their communication style to suit the other’s needs and expressing acknowledgement and encouragement when we have made progress. I also think that asking clarifying questions when a communication “gap” exists has proved helpful.
What was your best date ever and what made it so outstanding?
Probably the best date that I can recall was actually the date that Britt proposed. We had always talked about touring Atlanta in a plane or hot air balloon shortly after we met, but never seemed to have the time to do it. Britt found a company nearby that offered biplane tours of Atlanta and proposed next to the plane once we landed!
What are some marriage resources (books, websites, organizations, people, etc.) that have helped you build a better marriage?
The church that we attended in Atlanta (Still Waters Church) had a really good pre-marital course that lasted one year, with the initial six months focused primarily on getting to know each other better and the final six months focused on our perspectives on common relationship issues and discussing how we would address them. The course also included books that we were assigned to read including “Your Wife Is Not Your Momma: How You Can Have Heaven In Your Home” by Wellington Boone, and “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” by Les and Leslie Parrott. We also received a wealth of love and support from our families.
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that has helped you become a better spouse.
When we realized after our initial months of marriage that we were focusing too much our individual needs/desires and forgetting that our spouse had our best interests in mind.
If you could go back in time and give your newlywed selves one piece of marriage advice, what would that be?
Always keep in mind that God put you together for a reason and that He is the center of the relationship.
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
We both enjoy our careers but we also enjoy having a work-life balance where we can spend time together and be active parents. We also enjoy traveling, and have visited Egypt, Zimbabwe, and the Caribbean together and look forward to further adventures as a family. Britt and I are also close to finally completing the training stages for our jobs and are excited to see where God will call us next!
What do you love most about your partner?
Britt: I love Sylvia’s capacity for compassion, and how she inspires me to be more open and consider different perspectives. Even though she would probably never describe herself as a “tough” person, I marvel at how she seems to always rise to the occasion, despite whatever challenges she is facing. Our first pregnancy was emblematic of Sylvia’s character; despite the unanticipated complications that arose, she demonstrated such peace and strength that even her physicians were surprised, and I was both surprised and proud.
Sylvia: I love how Britt is kind, dependable, fun-loving and selfless. Britt frequently puts the needs of others before his own; although he has a very demanding job requiring him to spend countless hours caring for his patients, he always makes time to spend with his family (doesn’t get much time to rest).
If you found an idea that encouraged or inspired you, be sure to pass it on!
Share it with your spouse, a friend or even in the comments below.