BMWK: What is your favorite part about working together?
Tammy: I actually work full-time but the good thing is that John manages the facility full-time. He’s the one that everyone equates to when they see us in the newspaper or if they see us in Black Enterprise. Theoretically, what’s good about us is we both have the same goals. We want the business to be successful because we’re building a legacy for our children and for us.
John: Another great perk is that we work as a team. If there’s something I don’t know, I can always take it to her and we’ll do a lot of sharing.
BMWK: What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in your own marriage?
Tammy: For me it was learning how to communicate. A couple of years ago we went through a rough bout where we were going through so much with transitioning with the military and transitioning jobs, unemployment, creditors calling and children you have to take care of. At one point, I told John that if I wasn’t here you can take the insurance and do whatever you have to do to take care of the boys. I truly believe that Satan will take something small and turn it into a mound.
John is in a profession where he’s around a lot of different women, and we went through a period where he wasn’t communicating like he used to. He became someone I really didn’t know. It was stressful in the household and stressful in the business. We had to learn to communicate differently. I had to learn to listen but I also had to learn to read his language. You have to look at it from a man’s point of view: God created them to be the provider so when they’re not able to provide in the way they feel they should or they want to, they take that personally.
When you get married, you’re not going to look at the same person you looked at eight years ago. At different points in your life, you’ll have to be like a piece of plastic and be able to bend and move. When you act like a still rod, that’s when a lot of the pieces begin to fall. We had to learn how to listen to each other and openly communicate and express our feelings. Know when the right time is to bring up the deeper issues in conversation. If it wasn’t for us being willing to bend and work together, I truly believe we wouldn’t be sitting here together right now. We’re talking about fresh wounds that are just healing, within the past year/year and a half. So when I say I didn’t think we would see that ten year mark, when the nine year mark hit, I was looking at him saying we weren’t going to make it. There was just so much going on.
John: I think she had to realize that there was a lot of personal training because that is what was paying our bills. I do things that other trainers don’t do, like taking calls after 8:30 at night. I take calls after their gym time, which a lot of people will leave trainers because they’re not accessible. But even at home, I’m taking calls on my business phone and not my personal phone. I don’t take any calls after 10:00 pm, but if I’m at home and I get a text then I’ll respond and just make sure that Tammy knows.
Stress does a lot of things. With me working long hours with little to no help because she couldn’t help me, it came down to communication. But I couldn’t see that. I just knew I needed to get things done, so I allowed things to fall by the wayside and I couldn’t see what was happening. One day I had some quiet time by myself and it opened my eyes because I didn’t like that feeling [of being alone].