Anthony and Michele Watts: The Dream-Chasers

t's hard to resist making a TLC reference, but here's how Michele and Anthony Watts met: In 1999, Michele was walking with a friend, when a car approached and Anthony, in the passenger's side of his friend's car, leaned out the window to talk to her.

Except that Anthony isn't a scrub. He’s a lieutenant with the Detroit Fire Department. Michele is the director of the sports management program at Madonna University. Like many 40-something couples, they're at or near the peak of their careers, but unafraid to take on other endeavors.

"We're in dream-chase mode right now," says Anthony. The couple runs a mobile photo-booth, which can be rented out for parties, weddings and other events, while raising two children from a previous relationship.

Professional and personal ambitions led to how they met. Michele was new to Detroit, and it was one of Anthony's fire-department buddies driving the car. "I never would've met her if it weren't for one of my classmates in the fire department," Anthony says. They married in 2004.

"I talk about compromise," Michele says, giving advice to other couples in their 40s. "The hard part is not being married, it's living together. And why do they say 'don't go to bed mad?' They say you shouldn’t go to bed mad, but then sometimes you have to or you won't get to go to sleep!"

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Solve the problem in the morning. That's the compromise.

"With men, it's always about maintaining control," Anthony says about other relationships, "but I say, it's OK to wear the pants, but you can let her pick the color."

The couple also reminds people entering relationships that it’s not just two in the marriage: It's everyone surrounding each person.

"You’re not just marrying a person, you're marrying a family," Michele says. "You want to know their friends. You're marrying the whole person, all the good, all the bad, all the pretty, all the ugly."

There is beauty in growth, however. "Love happens in stages," Anthony says. "I love my wife more than when I first met her. You love the feelings of a new relationship, but there's other ways that love manifests itself."

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