Live Your Love

Tony and I have only been married for six years, but believe it or not, we have worked together for four different employers in addition to most recently starting our own freelance design company together. As I began to focus more of my attention on #staymarried, I quit my role as Project Manager for our business. When I say “quit,” what I mean is, I told my husband I didn’t want to do it anymore, and he still reminds me that he liked things better when I managed him instead of having to manage himself.

Over the years and in our different roles, we have always loved working together. He is my favorite person to listen to in a meeting. I love his candid and encouraging feedback on my work as well. He is crazy talented and hard-working, and I love knowing him in that capacity. It makes me even more proud to be his wife, and I always want him to be proud to be my husband, whether we are in a professional setting or among friends.

We realize that a couple working together and enjoying it is not necessarily common. Many people have told us, regardless of who we were working for together, that they just couldn’t do something like that with their spouse. We’ve heard people say that it was necessary for the health of their marriage that they keep work and home life separate. So, when we heard about Jasmine and Jeremy and their vision for their company Live Your Love, we wanted to know more about them.

Jasmine & Jeremy Dean

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1. Tell us how you met and got married.

{Jasmine} Jeremy and I met while doing relief work in a small village on the eastern side of Sri Lanka about 2 months after the December 2004 tsunami.

{Jeremy} We were both there volunteering. Jasmine went with a friend and got connected with the YMCA. My parents live in Sri Lanka and they put me in touch with a relief and development organization.  Jasmine ended up at a YMCA in a small town on the east coast of Sri Lanka called Kallar- which happened to be the town where I was managing a temporary shelter project. I’d see her every day, but because there was so much work to be done and things were so hectic, I never had a chance to speak with her. One day, after a couple of weeks seeing each other around the town, her and a few other volunteers came to work on a project with me. As soon as we started talking, we hit it off. The next two weeks we spent a lot of time getting to know each other, and I was definitely interested in being more than friends.

{Jasmine} One of my favorite things about my last days in Sri Lanka was that Jeremy told me he “had to be” in Colombo the very same weekend as me, and since he was already going to be there, maybe he would get in touch and we could see each other before I flew out. He did end up in Colombo, and we spent the weekend flying kites on the beach, going to dinner with some friends, and having lunch and pineapple juice on the water. It was our first “date,” and it was in a foreign world to us. Only later, much later, did I find out that not only did he not “have to be” in Colombo that weekend, but he actually had to re-arrange a bunch of things so that he could be there to see me off. Sometimes I forget how incredibly special and romantic our meeting was until we retell it, which is a lot as of late. I am reminded of how valuable it really is.

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{Jeremy} Jasmine flew back to the states, and I spent the next six months building shelters. During that time, there was a lot of emailing, and our friendship and interest in each other grew. Finally, in the summer of 2005, I flew back to the states and met up with Jasmine. It was definitely awkward at first. Seven months in Sri Lanka eating only rice and curry made me lose about 20lbs, and not long after I arrived back, I picked up walking pneumonia. I looked worse for wear, and I hadn’t anticipated the culture shock hitting me as hard as it did. The first few months we spent getting to know each other (again) were not easy, but the time we had spent together in Sri Lanka and the emails we sent had sparked enough interest for us to persist and soon we were dating. After about 15 months of dating, I asked Jasmine to be my wife, and we were married on May 19, 2007.

 2. What did you do, professionally or otherwise, before you got into the tea business?

Before we started the tea business, we both had pretty ordinary jobs. Jasmine was managing an office and I was working in sales. We did that for a year while we adjusted to married life. It didn’t take us long to realize that we aren’t 9-5 people.

3. How did you decide to begin Live Your Love? Who’s idea was it? Was there a “eureka moment”?

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{Jeremy} A year into our marriage, we started discussing the idea of going back to Sri Lanka. We had no idea what we would do there, but as we talked and dreamed, we both recognized a desire to help Sri Lanka’s poor. Because my parents lived in Sri Lanka, we knew there was an opportunity for both of us to teach English. We decided we would go for six months, teach English, and explore opportunities to empower the poor. The next step was raising support. We went on the road for about six months, meeting with old friends and making new ones, sharing our story and desire to help Sri Lanka’s poor along the way.

For me, this is when the initial idea of Live Your Love started. Although I enjoyed meeting with old and new friends, I did not like asking people to support us financially, and so I started thinking of ways that we could become self-sustaining. As we prepared to move back to Sri Lanka, we were doing a lot of research, and we started looking into what Sri Lanka’s largest industries were. Initially, we thought we would do something with clothing, because that’s their largest industry, but once we were there, it became pretty clear that tea was the way to go.

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{Jasmine} We spent time volunteering at Smile Lanka, where we got to know the children, widows, and families that are a part of this amazing program. We decided that if we sold tea, we could give a percentage of the profits back to this school and really support an amazing, life-giving program. So was birthed Live Your Love and Live Your Love Tea.

4. Who does what in your business? Where do your skills and talents crossover?

{Jasmine} Jeremy did most of the work for the formation of the business: paperwork, filing, shipping and receiving of the tea, etc. Jeremy is the big dreamer and can see visions/goals for Live Your Love that are bigger than I can even grasp. I am a very detailed, logistical person so I am able to see our current needs and create more of the short term goals. I have always been more of the networker and the day-to-day, go-to person.

{Jeremy} Right now, Jasmine does pretty much everything for Live Your Love. I work another job to help supplement our income, so for the time being, she oversees the day-to-day of Live your Love. Jasmine is amazing at making friends and connecting with people, so she does most of the marketing. She also has a great eye for design, so she’s the one who makes the brand look good. I’m more of a problem solver, so I contribute by figuring out how to get things done like importing tea into the U.S and applying for licenses, etc.

5. Have you ever had an argument about business? What was it about? How did/do you get through it?

{Jasmine} HA! That’s a funny question. Not funny haha, but funny because it’s so real.

Working as business partners has always been a challenge for us. As we’ve grown in our marriage and our communication, this has obviously gotten a bit better, but in the end I think it is our greatest challenge. We are so different, and we think so differently. If you look at it on paper, we are almost perfect puzzle pieces, fitting precisely together, to make a whole business, but we don’t live on paper and so that means our ideas, our goals, and even the speed to get to those goals are all different.

{Jeremy} When we first started Live Your Love, there was a lot we didn’t know about running a business, and for while, we felt like we were in over our heads. That brought a lot of stress into our marriage which caused a lot of arguments. With a lot of work and a lot of love, we pulled it together. We took the time to learn how to run a business together, to recognize each other’s strengths, and now we have a lot of fun running Live Your Love. I also get to see how amazingly talented Jasmine is.

{Jasmine} I always joke with him, because I’ve always wanted to go on The Amazing Race; but we are not at our best in high pressure, time sensitive, decision making times, so I told him I’ll have to take one of my sisters instead.

6. What is the best thing about being in business with your spouse?

{Jasmine} One of the best things about doing life and business with Jeremy is that we always get to be together. For a while we were living, building Live Your Love, and working a part time job together. I know a lot of couples that couldn’t do that, but we love being together and knowing about each other’s lives.

{Jeremy} Jasmine is insanely talented at so many things! I love that I get to see her many gifts put to use in a way that fulfills her. It also allows us to travel together.

{Jasmine} As different as we are, both of us come alive when we are learning new cultures, serving other people, and exploring the world. We are super blessed to be doing it together.

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7. Tell us about “StayMarriedSundays.” What does it look like? Has your relationship changed or improved since you started this new tradition? How?

{Jasmine} StayMarriedSunday started a few months ago when a friend of mine liked your page, and I found it through her on Facebook. At about almost the same time, Jeremy and I decided to make a commitment to spend more time “intentionally” investing in our marriage. It’s so crazy that we will “intentionally” go to work for 8.5 hours every day but not spend time “intentionally” working on or building our marriage. We decided to make Sunday mornings our “intentional” time together and not schedule anything else. As I saw all the resources that you guys post weekly, I decided to use a few of the videos in our first weekend. I started referring to it as StayMarriedSunday, and it just stuck. You’ve helped brand a very important part of our marriage

A lot of guys would quit on things like this, things that are not natural for them, but Jeremy has been awesome. I can see growth almost every day in the way we interact with each other and even in the way we fight with each other. It’s really a beautiful thing and incredibly rewarding.

{Jeremy} It has been a lot of fun. I definitely feel like I know Jasmine better, and that allows me to do a better job at loving her.

8. Where are you headed this summer?

A few weeks ago we were given the opportunity to have a free car for a year. The only catch is that we’d have to drive it from New Hampshire to Seattle…. ummmm, let me think: ROAD TRIP? Yes, please!

Jeremy grew up in England and hasn’t seen much of the middle of the United States, so we decided to start in New Hampshire, hit up the mid west, see Mt. Rushmore, and head towards Glacier National Park in Montana. I immediately saw this as an opportunity to spread some Live Your Love across the country while meeting awesome people along the way and helping spread the vision of who we are: we exist to partner with individuals & communities around the world to assist people in overcoming poverty, abuse, hunger, hate, and injustice.

Such a big part of Live Your Love is found and centered on Jeremy and I having a good, strong marriage and so we are so excited to be sharing #staymarried Love across the country, too!

 

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Jasmine and Jeremy would love to meet YOU, #staymarried readers! They hope to meet up with our readers from across the country as they travel across the United States and share some of their awesome tea with you. If you haven’t already liked our Facebook page, head over and do so! Their route will take them through the following sites/cities:

Mystic, CT
  Cleveland, OH 
     Milwaukee, WI
       Mt Rushmore, SD
         Glacier National Park, MT
            Spokane, WA
               Seattle, WA

We’ll be following the Deans as they make their way across the country, and we’ll be giving heads-up for opportunities to meet up with them, get some free tea, and maybe take a fun picture or two! The way this will be done is using the hashtag: #LYLroadtrip. Be sure to follow them on Twitter @Live_Your_Love and like them on Facebook. You can also follow their adventure on Instagram. They’ll be giving a heads-up using that hashtag to let followers know when they’ll be stopping in different places in order to have a semi-impromptu LYL/#staymarried meetup. How fun!

If you recognize their route and/or live near one of their stops, they are asking for any recommendations you might have for “must-visit” restaurants, scenic views, etc. They are especially interested in “local” eats and experiences! If you have a suggestion, go ahead and use the hashtag to give them your recommendation. If they take your word for it, they’ll give you a shout out!

 

If you can’t meet up with the Deans, there are still a few ways to support Live Your Love:

» Visit Live Your Love and buy some tea! Profits benefit the programs of Smile International in Sri Lanka.  
» Suggest to your church, office, or local cafe to carry LYL tea.
» Live Your Love is also seeking to benefit individuals and families affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. They are selling these awesome “We’re All OK” t-shirts with 100% of the profits going towards victims with specific needs.  

We are delighted to bring you this highlight of a small company that strives to do beautiful work run by a couple that is striving to #staymarried.

 

P.S. If you liked this post, you may also like to read about Walt and Nancy, Est. 1975. If you think these could benefit someone else’s marriage, please consider sharing. You can use the social media buttons at the top or bottom of this post. Also, if you’re new here, welcome! You might like to check out why we started this blog and my first entry to get a little background. Thanks for stopping by!
~ Michelle

All images used with permission of Live Your Love {via} Jasmine & Jeremy Dean.

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One thought on “Live Your Love

  1. Yay, Milwaukee! Except you should totally hang out in Racine/Kenosha instead, which is just a little south of Milwaukee.
    -Frank’s Diner
    -Cliff’s Boathouse Cafe
    -The Yardarm
    -Pazzo’s
    -my kitchen

    (Um, I like to eat, ok?)

    Also there’s a great lakefront and our church is pretty fantastic.

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