Valentine’s Day has a way of shining a spotlight on love, whether it be love of self, love of a friend, family member or partner. I overwhelmingly believe that we’ve realized now more than ever that love is what really matters in a world that has felt very much disconnected by politics or distance due to the pandemic. And I will be forever grateful that Jeffrey and I have been able to spend all but one of the last eight months together under one roof. Usually our months are broken up by work travel for either one of us. To pause and reflect on that gift, we sat down and discussed all things love – from how we met to the differences that define us.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Caroline - I think you can crush at first sight. I’ve definitely seen someone across a room and thought, I’d love to meet them and learn what they’re all about purely by a vibe or how they look. But those things don’t mean love to me. Love is an action and builds with a history together. When I first met Jeffrey, what was originally planned as a lunchtime coffee date, ended up running into the evening hours. He showed up in a shirt and tie and a v neck sweater, skinny jeans and Vans sneakers. His vibe felt like Justin Timberlake and his look was more Robert Redford. I was instantly attracted and intrigued. And, I was so flattered that he wore a tie for our first date. He was engaging, funny, nervous, sweet, smart… cool and nerdy at the same time. I had already planned a dinner with a girlfriend and as we parted ways, I was pretty convinced that there was more to come. He called me the following week to meet up for a dinner. We ended up meeting in the middle, literally…in Oxnard (he lived in LA at the time) at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint. He rode this really bad ass motorcycle up from LA and showed up in this cool leather jacket. I was definitely crushing on him that night.
Jeffrey - I believe in attraction at first sight. Connection. Love is fed by experience. I think love is an active state of being that is built over time and doesn’t exist until a relationship is put through it’s paces.
Do you remember your first kiss?
Caroline - It’s an ongoing debate when our first kiss happened. Jeffrey thinks it happened sooner than I remember. All I remember is that we had at least three dates before we kissed. I was so convinced up until that point that I was in the friend zone.
Jeffrey - I have long held the belief that it happened after our first date by her car. But, now, after years of reflection and brutal honesty with myself, I realize that I wanted to kiss her so badly after that first date, that it became a reality in my memory. I suppose my Protestant penchant for modesty told me that it was untoward to kiss a girl on the first date. Especially one you might want to hold on to. So, finally, today, for the record... We were at a restaurant in Venice, California, for Caroline's birthday… and she got up to use the loo, and as she passed me, she leaned down and kissed me. There. There it is. I did not deliver the first kiss. Guilty as charged. I was going to kiss her that night though, I swear it. And even though it was in public and brief, it felt like I knew her kiss. Like we had always been kissing. And it was a gift that she gave me on that day, her birthday.
When did you first know you loved each other?
Caroline - Jeffrey and I had been dating for four months or so and he was still living in LA. My dog, Plum had an accident and was in an ICU in Ventura for two weeks. I was so scared of losing her and spent every day at the hospital. Jeffrey was so supportive and caring and would come up to be with me, feed me, sit with me and Plum. I saw how much he cared about me and my dog and that he was the guy who would show up for me when I needed help. It looked and felt a lot like love, even though it was early in our relationship.
Jeffrey - I don’t know if I can pinpoint the moment I knew I first loved her, because as I’ve already mentioned, for me love is a process, but I definitely remember the moment I felt my first slip in the fall toward being in love with her. Radiohead had just released their video for "Lotus", and in it, Thom Yorke does this funny little dance with his hands, and at one point, Caroline just started doing it. The dance. I don’t remember where we were or what the context was. It caught me off guard, and became the only thing I focused on. It was cute, sexy, funny, and super cool all at once. I feel like it was the first moment where I saw a glimpse, just a peek, of the totality of her, and I knew it was a moment of her finding a new comfort level with me. That all felt very right. And to this day, my favorite moments are when I see Caroline dancing.
Describe a part of your relationship that you love.
Caroline - I have learned in this relationship that arguments can be a safe space to hash things out and then move on. That wasn’t my experience growing up. Jeffrey said early on that he will always stay in the room. And he literally does that. If we argue, he stays in the room. He shows up for the sake of the relationship and it’s helped me trust that arguments can be healthy if handled in a safe and compassionate way. It’s allowed me to truly be myself and not hold back on how I’m feeling. And through this, we know each other more deeply.
Jeffrey - I love that we can be around each other. I know that many couples work together, and many other people can’t work with their life-partners, but I love that we can. That we can be around each other as much as we are. It’s not always easy, and there are bumps because, well, we’re human, but there's nothing I don't like doing together with her. Except arguing. I don't like doing that, but it always seems like there's a little learning lesson at the end, so I suppose that's good. And I also love, that to this day, when she takes my hand, it still feels electric.
What’s one difference between you both that you love?
Caroline - Jeffrey's an extrovert and a much better storyteller than me.
Jeffrey - I love that while we are both creative, we come at things from different perspectives. A good example is that when we hear a song that we both like, she tends to hear the whole thing. As a complete thing. I tend to hear the kick drum, or the little guitar riff. She’ll absorb the lyric, and I’ll absorb the hooks. Is that a good example? Or when we’re working on a project, she sometimes likes to see a rendering and I know how to render it. There’s a photo of us somewhere where Caroline is sort of leaning into me, looking like a million bucks, and I’m wearing a clown nose. I suppose once I recognized that those differences could be parts of the greater whole, I started to see a future, a relationship to commit to.
What is your ideal date night?
Caroline - My ideal date spans a whole day. I love the feeling of connecting with nature together by getting outside and going on a long walk with Nala. It has a way of settling my thoughts, calms me and gets me excited to relax and enjoy an evening together. These days, getting takeout, lighting a fire and watching a good show on the laptop is a pretty ideal date. Though we miss travel, restaurants, pubs and dressing up, we know we’ll have all that back soon, so I’m happy with these slower, more low-key dates.
Jeffrey - Pre-dinner cocktail. Sushi. Movie. Home for a nightcap. Pre pandemic, of course. I have a feeling, post pandemic it will be the same, but check back with me on that.
What’s a favorite memory from your marriage so far?
Caroline - That’s tough because there's many. I loved our first trip to Kenya together where I could introduce Jeffrey to some of my parents friends. I loved watching his reaction to being on safari for the first time. I loved watching him in his first feature film... one of my proudest moments to date. I loved traveling around Morocco together and seeing how much we both enjoy adventure and discovering other cultures. Since I already had my house in Brasschaat when we met, when we decided to buy our farm in NY together, getting our keys and spending our first night there is a memory I will never forget. And all the blood, sweat and tears he’s putting into the place is so inspiring. He's a can-do guy and I love that.
Jeffrey- Oh man. That’s super hard to answer. One of my all time favorite moments was the night she picked up our pup, Nala. The road to getting Nala was a little crazy, but the main point is that Caroline was on the West Coast and I was on the East Coast. Nala was being sent by an adoption agency from Taiwan, and so Caroline went to the airport to receive her. It was 11pm on the West Coast, and 2am on the East. She called me and we FaceTimed the whole thing. I was excited about the fact that we were getting another dog, but seeing how happy Caroline was made me so happy. The patience with which she let Nala slowly make her way from the back of the crate to the front, the way she spoke to her, was so beautiful. It reminded me of a picture she showed me of her as a 7 year old, with a rabbit, a dog, and holding a Guinea pig... she was wearing a bow tie. Caroline is a very empathic person, and when it comes to animals, she’s a bit of a whisperer. And life hasn’t been the easiest thing for her, so to see her that happy, was, and is always, a very memorable moment for me.
How has the pandemic affected your thoughts on love?
Caroline - I feel like we’ve seen a lot of relationships either crumble or thrive during this last year. The pandemic has made me really look at the silver linings and the many things I'm grateful for. At the top of that is the partnership I have with Jeffrey. When we made our vows, I promised to love him through better or worse, richer or poor and in sickness and in health. We’ve embodied that oath, inhabited it, embraced it, seen the power of it and the gift it offers. I know I know what love is through the experiences we’ve shared over the last eleven years together.
Jeffrey - It has reinforced my understanding of love as a ritual. A daily choice. A process. Sometimes it feels like a flow. Sometimes it feels like there’s a need to take it a moment at a time. And in the context of a quarantine, with hardly any social activity outside of our relationship, our ability to be around each other has been illuminated and strengthened, and my appreciation for that part of our relationship has deepened. It has made me so grateful that at a base level, we like being around each other.
How has the pandemic changed your relationship?
Caroline - I’ve gained a deeper trust in our relationship. I’m really proud of how we’ve been there for each other in a very real way. The whole world has been faced with something that we’ve never experienced before and I feel like we’ve handled the stress and uncertainty with a team minded spirit. I’m there to support him through this and I know he's there to support me.
Jeffrey - I don’t think it’s changed our relationship, I think it’s revealed it, illuminated it, as I mentioned earlier, deepened it. There have been moments where I’ve thought, “oh, I’ve always known this or that about Caroline", or "I’ve always known this or that about myself in relationship", but I see more clearly how our actions resonate. I’ve spent a lot of time in the world of percussion and music, and they talk about sometimes pushing ahead of the beat or hanging behind it, or being “in the pocket”. Most of this is undetected by the listener, but the feeling, the vibe that is translated is clear. That’s what I feel like this pandemic, this quarantine has done for us. It has sharpened the feel, the vibe of how we effect each other. And the other thing is, I don’t feel like it’s moved us in a new direction, but that it has confirmed that the direction we’ve been going in is right for us.
What is one thing that you look forward to doing together that you haven’t done before?
Caroline - I’m just enjoying the ride. I don’t have a master plan but I’m looking forward to seeing how we age together, watching him continue to live his dreams, having more laughs together and learning more about each other. I’m a better person because of Jeffrey and I enjoy my life so much more with him in it. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Jeffrey - Riding horses regularly. I think I would really like to do that with her.
The truth of how this post came about is that a co-worker gave us these great questions and we independently answered them and slotted them in here this morning. So I'm reading Jeffrey's answers for the first time today and he, mine. It's been the best Valentine's Day card ever!
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you and those you love!
Sending love to you and yours,
Thank you all so much for your sweet and thoughtful messages! xoxo
How sweet and generous of you two sharing all that❤️❤️
I feel like I know you both.
And really like you.
I resonated with your answers and feel grateful , like you both so beautifully expressed, to be in a relationship where the love is the action and growth, true companionship, and deeper trust has become the outcome.
I Loved that this was your Valentines Day card to each other—How creative and Fun!!
And, Thank you for your beautiful stores. There are treasures to find every time I step in.
My best gifts come from Dianis.
I love my adorable tree votives that you sent.
With Appreciation and love,
I loved reading this! I learned more about each of you! Beautifully written… so open and honest. After reading, I love you both all the more! 💕 Mom (Mama Bear)
That … was awesome!
❤❤❤ Love you both. Your answers, both, are so honest, and completely you. I truly enjoyed the insight from what Jeff wore on your first date to how you are excited to see how the other ages, and your coupling together, as well. Thanks you so much for sharing. ❤❤❤
Loves this… thank you for
Sharing this intimate
Of your couple hood with us!
Love you ,