In Chapter 4 of 21 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, business coach Jullien Gordon answers "How Has Married Life Been Different Than You Expected It Would Be?" Gordon lives with his now wife two years before getting married and sees the wedding as an affirmation of that love. By making communication a priority, Gordon improves his listening, compassion, and understanding. This helps him grow into the relationship and be better able to manage challenges that arise in a marriage. Jullien Gordon is a high performance coach and consultant to organizations, individuals and teams who want to increase employee performance, motivation, engagement and retention. He earned a BA from UCLA, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a Masters of Education from Stanford University.
Erik Michielsen: How has married life been different than you expected it would be?
Jullien Gordon: Oh, man. Well, we lived together for about two years before we got married. So not much changed. We were—we see our wedding as an affirmation of what already existed. It was just a celebration of what already was. But I do find myself being a better listener. You know, there’s no exit strategy. No exit strategy anymore. There’s—you know, you could always play that card when you’re just dating, and so now that you’re quote-unquote: locked in the room together, you have to figure out how to make it happen.
And so what I found is that my listening, my compassion, and my understanding has increased, because I wanna work it out. I don’t wanna be sharing space with someone who I’m gonna constantly butt heads with and so I have to ask myself, how can I change? How can I grow? How can I evolve? In order to meet this person halfway or even more than halfway, if necessary. So that’s been the challenge.
It’s been a great source of growth for me. I think fatherhood, whenever that comes, will also be another great source of growth. But we’re also both entrepreneurs, so we both work from home. I travel pretty heavily but, you know, it’s the same boundaries with starting a business with a friend. It’s like where is the boundary? When does work end? If you both have home offices, when does work end? And when are you able to have the relationship? And just because two people are in the house, does that mean that we can go knocking on each other’s door and give each other a hug in the middle of the day? Or am I at work, right? So finding those boundaries and those lines has been a little challenging and we’re trying to get clearer and clearer on what they are.
We’re also trying to figure out what rituals are gonna support and sustain our marriage. We’re looking for a spiritual community because we know that that’s gonna be helpful to us growing together, as opposed to growing apart. And one ritual that we do do is we try to go to a new restaurant every week and that’s where we can just have each other time and be present. We’re glad that our partnership has come before parenthood because sometimes it happens in the other order and it can be more difficult, and we’re still trying to wrestle with where does the partner—our partnership fit in the context of our professional lives, and what we’re trying to grow as we manifest our purposes in the world. What comes first? In what order? And to what degree? We’re still trying to work those things out. So we haven’t figured them out, but they’re conversations that we’re having.