In 1994, Nicole was an intern at Rodney’s work as she pursued a social work degree. She decided to enter teaching instead and they parted ways. Eight years later, a job opened at the mental health facility in which Nicole completed her internship. Due to her previous mental health experience and connection with the community, Rodney thought Nicole might be a good fit for the job. He called her. She applied for the job. Two years later, they were married.
It’s like watching a movie… and I get to keep watching.
Jacquelyn Smith-White, Nicole and Rodney’s co-worker, nominated the couple for inclusion in the Hot Healthy Love Series. She has a unique vantage point in their lives… and she likes the movie!
Many folks regard working with their spouse as too difficult. Then again, most didn’t meet at work. They are supportive, professional and fair when they agree and disagree at work attests Jacquelyn in her nomination. The setting that provided the backdrop for their movie continues to bind them together.
Also drawing them together is a commitment to community. Both work to promote healthy communities at their day jobs. This is more than a job to both Rodney and Nicole; it is a calling and passion. They go on mission trips, coach basketball, lead Girl Scout troops, provide leadership to youth in their faith community… and generally serve as role models and mentors to those around them.
Nicole and Rodney are “one son short of the Brady Bunch” as they described it when I met with them. Their blended family has children from ages 15 to 25 (2 boys, 3 girls) and is rich with kindness, love, and understanding.
Navigating life with two parents working full-time, fulfilling multiple community commitments, and supporting 5 children in their endeavors requires coordination… and, more importantly, solid communication. Rodney and Nicole emphasized the importance of respectful communication in their relationship. Learn more about their communication (and their story) in this video.
Both also know it’s important to serve as role models for a healthy relationship to their children. Their kids know they are very much in love. They get to see a strong man and strong woman in strong, healthy love. This legacy and example are important to set the stage for healthy relationships for each of their children.
While it is challenging with all of their commitments, Nicole and Rodney also take time for just the two of them. This is easier some days than others and it has served to help them renew and sustain their relationship.
You may see them teaching about prevention, leading a Girl Scout troop, cheering on an AAU game… chances are, you’ll see them making a difference in the world. And making a difference to all that get to witness their love story. Enjoy!
Shela and Dale: Brought Together by the French Horn; Kept Together by Frequent Foreplay
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