Standing on Middle Ground

Written by Angie Mizzell.

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I met my future husband in a journalism class during our junior year of college. In a natural forward progression, we dated, graduated, and got jobs at the same television station. 

Our careers were in sync. We had the same friends. Our life was snapping together in a way that felt surprisingly easy, as if a divine hand was guiding the whole thing. On Shawn’s 25th birthday, he made a wish, blew out the candles, and asked me to be his wife.

During our required premarital counseling sessions, the preacher made us take personality tests. Imagine my surprise when he saw the results, laughed a good-natured laugh, and said something like, “Good luck.” 

He said we weren’t doomed (um, thanks?) but because of our personality types, he warned us that we were guaranteed to clash. “You’re going to have to be clear with each other about who does what. Who does the laundry? Who pays the bills? Who takes out the trash? And when you’re searching for your first house,” he said, “Angie, you’ll look for ambience. Shawn will kick the baseboards.” 

He also suggested that we pray. 

Not wavering in our commitment, Shawn and I said “I do” inside a downtown Charleston church and rode to the reception in a horse-drawn carriage. It was like a carefully planned scene from a fairy tale. But 15 years later, I look back and realize that the preacher had given us the true, real-life picture of happily ever after.

I’m an ENFP. The Campaigner. My husband is an ESTJ. The Executive. Our personalities indeed collide, and often. He’s a thinker. I’m a feeler. He needs data. I want to be heard. He makes a decision and sticks with it. I make a choice and wonder about the path I didn’t take. 

We speak different languages. We have different responses. He says one thing. I interpret something else. And as we've navigated the challenges of moving across the country and back, changing careers and starting a family, perhaps the most frustrating and encouraging thing to discover is that deep down, we both want the same things.

Shawn uses personality tests in business, so he’s convinced that most people don’t want to fight. "If you know who you’re dealing with,” my Executive husband says, “you know what they need. It’s about knowing yourself and the other person and meeting in the middle.”

That language is something I really understand. It’s like the ultimate one-sentence guide to making important relationships work. 

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Photo credit: Jody Mack Photography

Today, that young newlywed couple is a party of five. Lots of personalities, guaranteed to clash. Meeting in the middle. And the more I learn about myself and the people I love, the more I see that middle ground is a good place to be.

Gym Buddy Check

Written by Graham Ervin.

It takes two.

Feb1

The buddy system isn’t just for elementary school kids and scuba divers. That’s right - your friends could be the secret to reaching your fitness goals!

At first glance, a weight room full of bros can be intimidating to female gym goers. That’s why stepping into the gym with a wing-woman by your side provides a blanket of confidence.

To demonstrate the importance of a good training partner, I’m working out with NPC bikini competitor Megan Gillis.  Don’t let her petite frame and blonde hair fool you, because she is a mini beast in the weight room. Megan is the poster child for de-bunking the myth that lifting weights makes women look bulky and manly.

Feb2 

1. Safety First

Lifting heavy weights alone is risky business. Having a gym buddy spot you on heavy reps can save you from injury. Also, they can monitor your form, which is key for muscle building. If you are doing it wrong, you will never see results.

Feb3 

2. Motivation

Working out alone can be difficult, especially when it comes to staying motivated. A great gym buddy provides support and challenges you to push harder to reach your goals. Find a cheerleader that won’t let you slack on the last rep or skip cardio.

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3. Accountability

Waking up at 5 a.m. for cardio is hard! But if you have an appointment to meet your gym buddy you more than likely will not skip. Find someone who is committed to keeping a consistent schedule.

Feb4

4. Companionship

Long cardio sessions fly by when you have someone to chat with. Discussing all things from the latest celeb gossip to your dating lives, gym time can become a therapy session to solve life’s problems and commiserate about how sore you are from yesterday’s leg day workout.

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If you don’t have a BFF that fits this profile, take a look around the gym and find the regulars. I’ve made many friends at the gym, because we clearly share the same interests. Find a gym buddy that shares your similar health and fitness goals, is always on time, and can provide honest feedback on your progress - this is the key to success. So grab your girls, flex some muscle and show those boys who is boss!

Feb7 

Photographer: Matthew Ervin, Fly By Me Charleston

Gym: Eco Fitness, Mount Pleasant

Attire: Lululemon Athletica