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Hollywood is not where we usually find examples of the right things to do when it comes to marriage and parenting. So often what we see are people under immense pressure and public scrutiny struggling to make good choices and live normal lives. But today I am flipping the script (movie language pun intended). I am recommending that we look to the examples of two famous couples who are using their platform of celebrity to celebrate their normal families and give us a peek into their actually relatable lives.

These pairs have recently been doing the media circuit talking about their relationship and families, and having learned more about them through the reports and articles, I think it’s safe to say that pretty much all of us would like to be friends with them. One of the pairs is Ayesha and Stephen Curry, and the other is Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

Both these mamas are some serious #momgoals.

Ayesha is the definition of hard-working. She is an actress, celebrity chef, cookbook author, and an entrepreneur with several businesses including a meal-prep line, cookware sold at Target stores, and as of a month ago a revamped virtual lifestyle store, Homemade. Not to mention she is busy mom to three children ages 6, 3, and 8 months. Oh yeah, and you may know her husband, acclaimed Golden State Warrior basketball star and six time NBA all-star, Stephen Curry. Or really, better yet, you may know their kids! Their courtside cuties have garnered attention for sweet interactions with their parents, and for adorable child antics during press conferences through the years.

Kristen is the mom that all of our kids wish they had. Frozen, anyone? I honestly think my daughter would trade me in for Kristen (aka Princess Anna) in a heartbeat, no questions asked, and never look back. Kristen is a broadway-turned-television-and-film-star who has spent most of her life acting. She is someone who a lot of fans look up to because of her strong sense of self and convictions. She is a role model for young girls as she often shares about identifying proudly as a nerd, being a vegetarian as she is a big animal lover (if you haven’t seen the sloth video, you need to!), speaking honestly about battles with depression and anxiety, and believing in equality for all. Putting her money where her mouth is, when she and her now husband Dax Shepard became engaged in 2010, they waited to marry until the Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional in 2013, allowing gay couples to finally wed. Dax is also an actor, and has his fingers in every pie working also as a director, writer, and producer (racking up more than 60 TV and movie credits) and most recently, podcast host of Armchair Expert. In addition to Kristen and Dax’s very busy and high-profile schedules, they are also parents to two daughters, ages 6 and 4.

It’s no wonder that fans look up to these two women. They are both hugely admirable, and set great examples of how to be yourself, how to do extremely well professionally, and how to find a partner who is there with you for the long haul.

The Currys are childhood sweethearts! They have been together for 15 years, married for 8, and have weathered the storms that can come with a any relationship, as well as those that come with relationships lived in the public eye.  How have they been so successful? There are two main factors to their unforgeable bond. One, they let their faith lead the way, and two, they put their relationship above themselves as individuals and above their children. The first point is easy to understand; Ayesha and Stephen believe that “whatever you do, do it well, and do it for God.” I’m not religious, but I get it. If how you act is based on doing the right thing, then chances are you will make good choices to fortify your marriage. But that second point may be throwing you for a loop (or an alley-oop?)… they put themselves ahead of their children?

I am a huge proponent of this supposedly unorthodox approach, and my husband and I live this way in our marriage. As paradoxical as it sounds, you can put your children first by actually not putting them first. Continually strengthening the foundation of the family — the couple — is of paramount importance, a jumping off point from which you can care better for yourself and your children. I also think of it as a long-term play. If you focus only on the children, or mainly on the children, the long-term relationship of the couple suffers. If you focus on the relationship, you and your partner will both feel satisfied, and you both will be better parents to your children in the long-term. The best defense is a good offense, right? (Too far with the sports lingo? Think of it this way: protecting your marriage with a couple-comes-first attitude is a winning plan!)

The Bell/Shepards are open about their relationship and they give all of us a dose of levity about marriage and parenting. They are real with us that their relationship is not perfect, it has ups and downs (as all relationships do!), and that they put in a lot of work to make their marriage last. They have even shared that their home is just like all of ours, with dishes and laundry piling up. How refreshing! They might not be a match made in The Good Place (or are they?…ya know…if the good place is really supposed to be Hell? Okay, I’m confusing myself now), but they have put in place a great foundation for a long-lasting relationship. The give and take of their interactions and the humor they apply to their quips reminds us to not take ourselves so seriously. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day monotony of parenthood and get bogged down by differences of opinion or approach. Both Kristen and Dax share how they feel the other brings out the best of them, tempering the other’s more extreme opinions or ways of thinking. They remind us to have conversations, and to not only work through our differences, but to be open to meeting our partner in the middle. Kristen put it clearly, that they are “two people who worked really hard, and it’s attainable for you if you work really hard in your marriage too.” In that way, she and Dax sound very similar to the Currys, don’t they?

Sadly, all of us may not become besties with either couple in this lifetime (and if you actually are, just know that the rest of us are well jealous!). Even still, because of the high profile nature of their lives, we get to keep up with them, and we should learn from them along the way. Their partnerships are worth admiring and worth aspiring to. No matter the current state of your relationship with your partner, it could only benefit from a little extra attention and nurturing.

Love and hugs,

Christina

Christina Furnival

Christina is a mom to two wild and wonderful kiddos, a licensed psychotherapist (LPCC), the founder of her website ChristinaFurnival.com and therapeutic motherhood blog Real Life Mama, and a children's book author of a social/emotional wellbeing series, Capable Kiddos! She and her Scottish husband are raising their family in San Diego, where they love to hike, play soccer, cook, walk around the lake, and go to the beach.

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