Lovespiration From the Dreamers + Doers: Lauren + Dave
Lauren + Dave are the ultimate dreamer and doer couple. They dream big and pursue them whole heartily, together. We truly enjoyed getting to know them through this interview and all the beautiful lovespiration they had to offer. They hustle hard but never forget to have fun together all the same. Dave has a market research company called Monocle, and Lauren is the co-founder of Wild Hearts Co., which specializes in conferences and wknd getaways for dreamers and entrepreneurs.
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So..How did you meet?
Lauren: I was working for a non-profit organization in Tulsa who was speaking at a college in town, and Dave was hosting one of the other speakers. I remember sitting on the ground in a circle with some mutual friends and Dave walking up to join in. At first I thought “he’s cute!” but then forced myself to get that thought out of my head because I had recently gotten out of a long relationship and the last thing I wanted was to be interested in someone else.
After becoming friends that day and playing many games of tennis (which I soon realized we’re both way too competitive), sharing stories of our love for international travel and humanitarian work and late night ice cream runs, Dave slowly but surely began to win my heart. About 6 months after we became friends he took me on our first date and the rest is history.
How long have you been together?
Lauren: We have been married for 5/12 and together for 7. It’s flown by but at the same time we both cannot imagine not knowing each other or not being together.
What is something you wish you knew when you first started dating or got married?
Dave: Most fractures in relationships are caused when we have a desired behavior, an unfulfilled need, or a fear that we expect someone to fill. When these things remain unfulfilled or not fulfilled in the way in which we desire, conflict and bitterness generally follow. Whether with our friends, family, roommates, or the coworker who can’t understand why reheating fish in the lunchroom shows a total and complete lack of human decency. Each relationship grows or erodes based on our ability to identify, express, and adjust our expectations of each other and ourselves. I think that even though Lauren is a fantastic communicator, there are so many expectations that each of us had and despite our best efforts throughout our relationship we constantly fail and ultimately forgive and grow stronger.
One funny thing that was completely lost on me was the idea of quality time. For me, being the gregarious extrovert that I am, spending time together could be anything so long as were physically in the same place. Lauren watching a show she likes while I read? Quality time. Dinner with colleagues or clients? Quality time. Party with 1000 other people? Quality Time. Obviously, I had a lot to learn about what meaningful time together meant and how my definition of quality time did not align with her expectation. Looking back it’s funny how many tears and frustrations were a result of my lack of understanding and fulfillment of such an obvious and essential facet of a relationship.
Lauren: Dave always says “Life is long” in contrast to the phrase “Life is short”. Because marriage is a forever commitment, I have learned that just because something isn’t exactly how you would like at this moment doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. Life moves in seasons, and life is long. Life is not always going to be exactly how it is right now, and so whether that is a happy or a sad reality, or a little of both, to always to open to the ebbs and flows that life brings. Just like life changes, so does your spouse and you yourself. It’s less about always wanting things to stay exactly the same and more about being flexible to the change happening around you and in your marriage. This truth is something that doesn’t always come naturally to me because I tend to become attached to the way something is when I really love it, but what I’ve realized is that what’s beautiful about a lifelong relationship IS the change and movement of it all, yet the two of you are still together.
What are your favorite things about your partner?
Dave: I’m sure this is a question where many people say they could go on and on about so many things but I’ll keep it simple and give you the one thing that Lauren has that no one else does. She has never taken me seriously, haha let me explain.
It seems to me that the world is obsessed with growing up. What do you want to be when you grow up? What are you going to major in? What is your career path? None of these questions are bad in and of themselves but I’ve always felt that when we get more focused on what we are going to DO in life rather than who we are BECOMING, we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. This distortion of reality is so easy to fall into but Lauren keeps me out of it so beautifully. She applauds my achievements and cheers on my victories but she never allows them to define me. She keeps me pure, honest, and humble. While others see a professional, an influencer, or an innovator, Lauren sees what I really am. A Lost Boy, in love with adventure and the girl who was brave enough to journey into the unknown with him.
Lauren: It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite, Dave truly does have so many good qualities. Something I really love about him though is no matter how successful he may become I know he will always stay grounded. We are big kids together. We live in Orlando and believe that you should make the most out of wherever you are. For us being in one of the largest tourist cities we’ve chosen to embrace it instead of becoming annoyed by living in a place that people are always visiting. A typical date night involves us riding roller coasters at Universal or watching fireworks at Disney. I love that Dave doesn’t take himself too seriously, and I never have to wonder what mood he woke up in that day—he’s consistent and always fun to be around.
What is something your partner does for you that makes you feel loved?
Dave: She is the best cheerleader in the world. If you want to get a master class in how to make people feel supported and valued, there’s no one better than Lauren. Not only does she get excited about whatever new dream I’m cooking up, she’s always there to lend a helping hand or her creative prowess. She’s not just a dreamer, she is a doer. There is nothing better for a dreamer than having someone who will jump right into your dream with you and help make it reality.
Lauren: If I’ve had a stressful day at work he usually makes it a point to look to help instead of becoming frustrated at me for working long hours. He’ll ask “What can I do for you when you get home?” This usually results in me asking for a hot bath, and there have been many times I come home to a bath already drawn with candles lit around it. It’s something so simple, but truly makes me feel loved and cared for.
What is something you wish you did more together?
Dave: I guess I would say read and discuss our learnings together. We tend to read very different things but in a perfect world I’d love to be on the same page with our literary endeavors. I guess the reason we are not is that she’s just into cool things to read. I mean who doesn’t want to read about the macro economic theory and shifts of the early 20th century or the ever riveting tomes about neural plasticity and the processes of human machine learning??? HAHA
Lauren: Being people of faith, our view of God and our relationship with Him is very important to us. While Dave and I both are devout Christians and spend our own times praying and reading our bibles, I would love for us to make this a practice that we do together more regularly. I think that when you can share something as deep as faith with someone and process through our questions, what we’re learning, and sheer adoration for our maker it deepens our bond in a way we couldn’t on our own.
What is a favorite memory you have with your partner?
Dave: Wow all of these questions about favorite memories. I can barely pick my favorite food let alone my favorite experience with Lou. I’m going to cheat and answer this with something a little different. All of my favorite experiences with laruen are those in which she is displaying her strength and bravery. My wife is afraid of nothing and courageously charges into the unknown time and time again. I remember the first time I took her to Mexico to meet my extended family. She was in a place where she didn’t speak the language, fully understand the culture, or know the host of people (my dad is one of eleven kids). Evaluating this girl I’d just married. Reguardless, she jumped right in and was unafraid to make mistakes or look silly. She is such a confident person who knows her value and values all those around her.
Lauren: We have so many amazing memories together, like exploring Europe for our 5-year anniversary, visiting friends in New York or Arizona, or building our house together, but when I think of favorite memories it’s less about the grand gestures and experiences and more about the little moments that make us smile. We both love slapstick humor movies like Zoolander and Dumb and Dumber and have created our own catch phrases when everyday things occur. For example, when one of us is right about something we have debated, without prompting we say “My mistake” and the other says “Your mistake indeed” (from Zoolander). Or when I’m climbing into bed and it’s pitch black in our room and all I have to say is “Lumos” (we’re Harry Potter nerds) and Dave instantly shines the light on his phone so I can see. Yes, we’re dorks together, but those small moments of familiarity and true friendship make life so sweet for us.
What characteristic of your partner do you admire in them?
Dave: Lauren is the most loyal person you will ever meet. She doesn’t even like when people cheer against our favorite sports teams. (It’s the Green Bay Packers, go Pack go!)
Lauren: I jokingly refer to Dave as “Walking Google” because he has a good answer for whatever off-the-wall question I’ve come up with that day. He’s extremely well read, but more than that, makes an effort to interest himself in things simply to understand the world more thoroughly and be able to hold a good conversation with anyone he comes into contact with. When he’s talking to people he doesn’t make the conversation about himself, but instead figures out what interests them and talk about that. I think it’s truly an admirable quality and something I am looking to grow in myself.
What is the best relationship advice you ever received?
Dave: Love is a verb
Lauren: We were married at a winery in southern California and made wine a theme of the wedding. Instead of a guest book we used empty wine bottles as a time capsule and asked our guests to write a piece of advice to us that we would open at our 5-year anniversary. It was one of the most special things we have ever been able to do together to open letters from our dearest friends and family 5 years after they were written. One of the pieces of advice was “In all your gifting, remember character. It’s what lasts”. I thought this was so simple yet so profound. While there is so much great advice about the day-to-day of our lives, I believe that if we act with character every day, in the big and small things, it will lead to the life we are seeking.
What is something your partner does that makes you proud?
Dave: She inspires everyone she comes into contact with. She is a natural catalyst for unleashing the potential in people. Lauren should probably wear a warning label: “Beware, extended contact with this person may cause excessive dreaming, exciting ideas and immense sense of purpose as you pursue them.”
Lauren: Dave often surprises me with how thoughtful he is. Without prompting he will randomly bring flowers to his grandmother, give up his seat on a plane so that a family can sit together, or be a master chef of a host when we have friends over. He challenges me to be more selfless and to take more moments to pause and get out of my own head about what I am doing at that moment, and to really look up at the world around me to think of what they may need. When I really think about it, those small gestures are what make our world a better place.
What advice do you have for someone who is afraid to date or get married?
Dave: Well first of all I was that guy. I had an ironclad plan to stay single till I was at least 30 and shape life to exactly what I wanted it to be. Ultimately life is what happens while guys like me are making plans. Heres my thoughts on being afraid.
#1 Being afraid is natural, heck it’s intelligent. Healthy fear means you respect something and know it’s not to be handled lightly. I mean, opening yourself up to someone and ultimately committing to spend the rest of your life learning, failing, and growing together is not a small thing.
#2 Don’t get so attached to your vision of how things will or should be to miss out on the unexpected. Marrying Lauren has been one of the best decisions of my life and even though at times I was freaked out or nervous about how it would affect the other plans I’d made. Learn to prioritize and know what you want in a relationship and why you want it.
Even though the timing didn’t line up with what I originally planned, I saw an opportunity and after some time together I knew that she fit so many things I wanted it would be foolish to pass her up due to my own issues or fears
Lauren: I get it, it’s a big commitment. My biggest advice is to keep in mind that no one is perfect. So many times we can rattle off a “dream list” of what we want our partner to be like and not give them room to actually be a human inside of that. I’m by no means saying that you shouldn’t have any standards or hold to things that are in your heart, but I think there is a fine line between knowing what you need and being unrealistic. Then, once you choose someone (as in walking down the aisle and saying I-Do) it’s less about them and more about you. I know that’s not the popular way to look at things, but I believe love is a choice. Every day you are going to wake up and choose to love that person—flaws and all, and pray they do the same for you. If two people can choose each other every day and think more about what the other person needs than about what they need we would have a lot more happy marriages in our world. A happy marriage isn’t like rolling the dice and hoping you get one, it’s about choosing to make yours as happy as you can be every day. And yes, that is more about you than it is your spouse, because at the end of the day the only actions you can truly control are you own.
So, if you’re afraid to date or get married than there is no rush, the last thing you want to do is jump into something because the world around you is pressuring you to do it. But if you’re in the place that you find yourself wanting to make that leap but would really prefer if you could just peek at the last chapter of your life story and know that your relationship does end in happily ever after then know this—just be you, be as selfless as you can be, and look to love every day. If you do those things and find someone else who is willing to do the same you will have a happy marriage.