This month, we’re bowing to 11 badass local couples making moves (with righteous intent) and leaving their mark on the District. Among several questions, we ask how they’d remix the concept of power couple. What emerged is a collective belief that the energy you bring, the responsibility you share (to each other and your community), and the joy of the journey all greatly matter. We also learned love and humor coexist well. Thank you for the laughs and inspiration.
Marcelle Afram + Joyce Miller, Owners of Shababi Chicken
Power Couple, Redefined
Today’s concept of a power couple can best be served as a reminder to give each other the power to grow. We are different versions of ourselves than we were when we met, when we were married [and] at the beginning of the pandemic. Welcoming and loving each other through our individual evolutions has allowed each of us to grow without the fear our partner would only love and accept one version of who we are or were. This carries us into the world with the confidence that no matter what’s ahead, you are loved and supported and together we’ll get through it all.
Strike A Balance
We play into each other’s strengths and never nag. We’re both uber self-critical so we try not to add to that for one another and instead pick up the slack when we know the other needs a hand; it always comes full circle and builds on the gratitude we have as partners.
Not a mantra but a centering move. One of us will cup their hands to the sides of the other’s eyes and lean in so that we are face-to-face, eye-to-eye and everything else is closed out, hold our gaze, whisper loving words and breathe. [It’s] a simple move that has a big impact in stabilizing us and bringing to the surface what’s most important.
So many. The biggest being we’re only human and we all deserve grace. We accept each other as we are and everything it’s taken to get us to this version of ourselves and love each other through each iteration of who we are, individually and together.
Conflict Resolution Tips
We respect each other’s space and know when to step back and when to dial in but never give up. Early on it was clear neither of us were abandoning the other and though we’ve put it to the test, we’ve really held tight to that assurance. Taking away the fear or threat of abandonment can center the tension to what’s at hand without adding generational or individual trauma to the list of stressors to work through at any given time.
Joyce will sip on coffee until the sun goes down but we rarely make more than one pot a day.
It’s validating to have a partner who understands how hard you’re working, the “why” behind it — someone in your corner who sees the big picture and can share in your experience, giving you both the opportunity to grow from it. It’s also great to have someone knowledgeable in the same arena to bounce ideas off of. The challenge is to balance our “shop talk” and be careful not to let every conversation be about a job or a project, which can often happen.
The Meet Cute
We worked for the same company for a few years before being placed in the same department. Our working synergy first drew us to one another and quickly led to the realization that we didn’t want to tackle any of life’s challenges without the other by our side.
D.C. Date Spot
Our first date was at Zaytinya; it will always hold a place close to our hearts. We were married at the D.C. War Memorial and try to stop by and sit on the steps whenever we can. [It serves as] a great grounding point to celebrate how far we’ve come or to remind ourselves where we’ve been and what’s most important.
Celebrity Hall Pass
Not really. We’ve gotten to a place in our partnership where we can appreciate what one another finds intriguing about a certain character or celebrity and accept that for what it is, but overall we’ve outgrown the concept of a “hall pass.”
We really enjoy listening to music together. On a day out, we like to pick a year and play the top hits from that year and spend the day talking through memories of our lives at that time, remarking on how great (or terrible) a particular band or artist was, using the playlist as a guide for the day’s conversations. It’s a lot of fun.
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