Aug. 4, 2021

Keep Romance Alive in the Family Business | Ask The Alessis Q&A | S1 E15

The Alessis are answering your questions about love, romance and keeping the joy in your marriage as you build your family and business.


Note to Parents: We're discussing intimacy, sex and marriage in this episode. We recommend listening on your own first to determine whether this content is age-appropriate for your children.

You asked, and we're answering your questions in this recap episode of Season 1 of the Family Business with The Alessis. Throughout Season 1, our listeners have shared their questions for the Alessis, and Steve and Mary have selected some of the most requested topics to address on the show. 

This week's questions focus on romance, marriage, and how to maintain love and intimacy between spouses as we build our families and businesses. To ask the Alessis your question about business, family, faith or any other topic we've touched on in our podcast, tap the "Ask the Alessis" button! 

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Transcript

Mary Alessi  0:09  
Welcome to another episode of the family business podcast with the Alessis, where we talk about things we cannot talk about on Sunday. And we love to talk about families being everybody's business.

Steve Alessi  0:23  
Very good, Mary Alessi.

Mary Alessi  0:25  
 Ah, was a little...not as good as you do it, but I did it. 

Steve Alessi  0:28  
 So what are we gonna talk about today? 

Mary Alessi  0:30  
Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Date Night.  Romance and marriage. 

Steve Alessi  0:36  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  0:37  
Are we gonna talk about that? 

Steve Alessi  0:38  
We are. This is actually the questions podcast where people are able to go in and send us questions.

Mary Alessi  0:45  
These are some of the questions

Steve Alessi  0:46  
These are some of the questions that they sent. And you can send us some of those questions at the Alessi family business.com website.

Mary Alessi  0:54  
That is really cool. 

Steve Alessi  0:55  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  0:55  
That you could send your questions in because I've listened to a lot of podcasts that I don't necessarily like the topic they're talking about. And even though I like the person, like, this is really cool that we're doing this.

Steve Alessi  1:05  
 Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  1:05  
So if they have questions, if you have questions, send them in. 

Steve Alessi  1:07  
We have active listeners.

Mary Alessi  1:09  
We do. 

Steve Alessi  1:09  
It's really nice.

Mary Alessi  1:11  
Very good. 

Steve Alessi  1:11  
 I love it.

Mary Alessi  1:12  
Very proud of what we're doing. 

Steve Alessi  1:13  
Yep. And since we can't always deal with these things on Sunday...

Mary Alessi  1:18  
yeah...

Steve Alessi  1:18  
which is when we greet the crowd. We're able to do it right here during our podcast. So

Mary Alessi  1:23  
We get into the nitty gritty of things. 

Steve Alessi  1:25  
This one's going to focus now. Because it's family, on the marriage. 

Mary Alessi  1:29  
Okay

Steve Alessi  1:30  
...on the relationship that you and I have. How are we doing with that?

Mary Alessi  1:36  
How many years have we been married?

Steve Alessi  1:37  
You tell me.

Mary Alessi  1:38  
is this 34

34! That was October? Yes. It's, it's coming up on 34 in October, just a few months away. I think we're doing great.

Steve Alessi  1:46  
 Gosh. That's a lifetime. 

Mary Alessi  1:47  
I love you more today than I did yesterday. 

Steve Alessi  1:52  
Yes.

Mary Alessi  1:52  
That's the song from our wedding. But whatever. 

Steve Alessi  1:54  
Cool. So here's a question that somebody wants to ask us. Here's the question.

Mary Alessi  1:58  
 Okay. 

Steve Alessi  1:58  
Now remember, we work together. 

Mary Alessi  2:00  
Oh, boy.

Steve Alessi  2:00  
We live together.

Mary Alessi  2:01  
 Oh, yeah. 

Steve Alessi  2:02  
All right. 

Mary Alessi  2:02  
All of it.

Steve Alessi  2:03  
 And we got a nice size family. 

Mary Alessi  2:05  
Four kids.

Steve Alessi  2:05  
 Okay, here's the question - What to do when family issues leak into your marriage? 

Mary Alessi  2:12  
Oh, boy. 

Steve Alessi  2:14  
What do we do?

Mary Alessi  2:15  
What have we done?

Steve Alessi  2:16  
 What are some of the family issues that we have had to deal with over the years that have had the tendency to leak into our marriage?

Mary Alessi  2:23  
Well, we've had parental issues that have leaked in when we first got married. And even from great parents, like we had, we had to learn to manage those. 

Steve Alessi  2:33  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  2:34  
Dealing with my mom and dad's divorce, when we first got married was really hard. 

Steve Alessi  2:38  
Yep. 

Mary Alessi  2:39  
My mom and I talk regularly when we get together about those years and how she had so many fears, from her situation that she projected into my life. And she's been so open about how wrong that was. So there's, you know, been that. I think, also, just when you're raising kids, your perspective of how those kids should be raised. Raising children is a real, real mountain for parents. That's when you that's when you really start to decide, even in the little things if we agree on how we should raise these kids. 

Steve Alessi  3:10  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  3:11  
And then as they get older, oh, boy,

Steve Alessi  3:13  
and the stress of what we do in our business.

Mary Alessi  3:17  
 Oh, yeah. 

Steve Alessi  3:17  
In the ministry. Yeah, running church staff. Because we take everything that we do here, we take it home. So the question is, how do we keep it from leaking into our marriage? 

Mary Alessi  3:29  
Yeah, I will say we've learned along the way, we did not get this from jump. We have figured it out along the way. We've...and I like to say this, whenever I'm on this podcast, we...we stay in the seat of students and learners. And we try never to reach this plateau that we know at all, because -  and we aren't counselors or psychologists. But we've learned a lot from ministry and watching what people do that we like, when people do that we're like, well, that don't work, and applying those things to our lives. And for our relationship, we've had to do that in different categories, even in working together. Understanding that we communicate differently, completely differently. And I could say, green, and you hear red, and you could say blue, and I hear pink. And we had to learn if we're going to work together and be like minded in this, that there were certain roles that we had to fulfill. And I can only speak for me, you cut me off at any time. When we first started the church together. I had a job downtown and then we worked for your mom and dad and I had the music and you ...you know administrated the church, you were the co-pastor with your dad, but when we started our church together, and we were the pastors, the expectations completely changed. 

Steve Alessi  4:43  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  4:43  
...but I didn't get the memo. I didn't understand. Oh, your coffee's here. Oh, good. So I didn't get the memo that serving you coffee would have been a nice gesture.

Steve Alessi  5:00  
Marcus is delivering coffee.

The man. And he's gonna charge my computer here. Go for it.

Mary Alessi  5:07  
And he's our number one fan. Did you know that he's our top listener? Because our staff is forced to listen to our podcast. While he's doing that and setting you up. We love you, Marcus. I will say that working together, If I could go back and I could have learned from my mistakes in the event of working together. Oh, there's Ashley. Hi, Ashley. Oh, it would probably be to be wife at home and co worker, employee in the office and not try to be wife in the office.

Steve Alessi  5:43  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  5:44  
That was really hard for me. I was so immature. I did not realize that I had to separate those two roles. I can be wife at home. But when I came to work, I had to put on the hat of serving and working and getting your laptop charger for you. 

Steve Alessi  5:58  
Yeah.

Mary Alessi  5:59  
the little things 

Steve Alessi  6:00  
a little.

Mary Alessi  6:00  
 Seriously though, that that's something that I got hung up on. When we first started. I did not I just wanted it to be, "I'm Mary and you're Steve and you're not going to talk to me that way. My husband's never," I didn't realize that separating those lines, when we're in the office, taking on more of a professional mindset. And I don't have to be that at home, but at work. I have to be professional. 

Steve Alessi  6:22  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  6:23  
I wish I'd learned that earlier. Because it brought definitely brought conflict to our marriage because we couldn't deal with it in the office. We dealt with it on the drive home. 

Steve Alessi  6:31  
Yeah. And I remember just from a working perspective, I had to make a decision. What do I want? 

Mary Alessi  6:39  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  6:40  
Do I want a employee at home? Or do I want a wife at home?

Mary Alessi  6:45  
Right.

Steve Alessi  6:46  
 And I learned real quick, that a happy wife, right? was so much better than an employee at home. So I needed to treat you like my wife, even though we work together.

Mary Alessi  7:02  
Right.

Steve Alessi  7:02  
And not overwhelm the relationship because it's a working relationship. 

Mary Alessi  7:08  
Sure.

Steve Alessi  7:09  
 the working relationship was the husband and wife. And we couldn't change that. We could change the employment relationship, meaning that if the church got in a financial position where we couldn't both be hired, and... or you were done, you were tired with doing what you did with the music, and you're like, you know what, I don't want to do that anymore. We could change that part of the relationship, or, hey, I don't want to do this job anymore, Mary. I'm done with this. I'm giving it to so and so to do, I can change those job responsibilities with the employee and set up. But I couldn't change the marital one. 

Mary Alessi  7:42  
No.

Steve Alessi  7:42  
That one we're like, no, that one's going to be a keeper.

Mary Alessi  7:45  
 Right.

Steve Alessi  7:45  
 We got to keep that one. So we had to say, even though we're driven for success and accomplishment, when we were working together, we also had to say, wait a minute, the success of this ministry is not near as important as the success of our marriage. 

Mary Alessi  8:04  
Right. 

Steve Alessi  8:04  
So quit being so heavy, so hard. So, so pressure filled, we don't need that. Because as they say, a happy wife.

Mary Alessi  8:16  
Happy life.

Steve Alessi  8:18  
Yep. So that helped us. We had to say from the work, let's not let it leak into our marriage. 

Mary Alessi  8:25  
Yeah. But it was a struggle. 

Steve Alessi  8:27  
Oh, yes, it was, again, 34 years.

Mary Alessi  8:29  
Right. And we've worked together. How old is the church? 23.

Steve Alessi  8:33  
24, Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  8:33  
24. And we've worked to get...we're coming up on 24. We've worked together since day one. So we've been co workers, on staff together for 24 years. Prior to that, what, about eight or nine years together? 

Steve Alessi  8:47  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  8:49  
And that was, was different. Because...

Steve Alessi  8:52  
All we've known is each other working

Mary Alessi  8:53  
All we've ever known is working together. And I was.... I had my own office, and you had your own job description. And we had a boss. 

Steve Alessi  8:58  
Oh, that was the worst.

Mary Alessi  8:59  
And that was hard. That was your mom and dad. 

Steve Alessi  9:01  
And I felt the pressure of making sure you were a perfect employee and put so much pressure on you and on the relationship where again, I had to make a decision. Wait a minute, man, I want a happier wife than I do a happier dad and mom.

Mary Alessi  9:17  
That's right. And that's where we had to apply what we taught our kids. And we are teaching our kids that the voices of mom and dad, once you're married. This is to protect your marriage in that role of in union. It's what you two think together. It's not the...you can't just keep trying to please dad, or trying to please mom, that's going to hurt any road, your relationship.

Steve Alessi  9:36  
You know, Jon Roman's in here, and him and his wife work together in the ministry, Jon and Jackie.

Mary Alessi  9:41  
How many years now, Jon?

Steve Alessi  9:42  
Yeah.

Jon Roman  9:43  
 I've been on staff 20 years. She's been with us 15. 

Steve Alessi  9:47  
Yeah. So they work together. They raise kids together here. It's like, they're gonna be very sensitive about making sure things don't overlap into their marriage. 

Mary Alessi  9:59  
Right.

Steve Alessi  10:00  
 Armando, though his wife's not here every day, he does have that, where he's got to make sure when he goes home and she shows up to church on Sunday, they're happy.

Mary Alessi  10:07  
Right.

Steve Alessi  10:08  
 So he can't let things leak into their marriage, Chris and Richelle right now. They're all in this.

Mary Alessi  10:13  
Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  10:14  
Especially as we work together, it is going to be harder working together. 

Mary Alessi  10:18  
Oh, it is.

Steve Alessi  10:19  
 and living together being married. But the good boundaries will help protect the marriage. So that whatever is going on outside doesn't leak into the marriage. 

Mary Alessi  10:29  
Okay, I want to say this, because I think this applies to whether or not you work together, or you don't, but something that you taught a couple of our staff members, that has really been a policy of our church that if you work for our church, don't go home and share with your partner, your spouse, any negatives that happened in the office. Leave that at the office, don't take it home, because they had to go to this church too. Yeah. And you don't want what happened in the day, your frustrations, things that you may get confused, or misconstrued. Or maybe your correction was wrong. I mean, whatever it is,

Steve Alessi  11:03  
Okay, get specific, because this is this is really good. Yeah, advice here. It's wisdom. Yes, the point is, your husband or wife works at the church that you attend, or works at a company that you want to be serviced by. 

Mary Alessi  11:19  
Right. 

Steve Alessi  11:20  
And then that spouse of yours that works for them comes home...

Mary Alessi  11:23  
Right? 

And dumps on you

Steve Alessi  11:25  
you're telling them to not do what?

Mary Alessi  11:27  
don't talk bad about your workplace. 

Steve Alessi  11:30  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  11:31  
Do not discuss it. You know, the truth is...

Steve Alessi  11:34  
 Why?

Mary Alessi  11:35  
 Well, because you'll turn their heart and you're going to get over it, you're going to deal with it. 

Steve Alessi  11:40  
And then from the church's perspective, it's so bad because this is the place you're supposed to be going to get spiritually fed and nourished. 

Mary Alessi  11:46  
And you cut them off from that.

Steve Alessi  11:47  
You're mad at the pastor, you're mad at the worship leader, because during the week, you had a disagreement, and then you show up to church and you... you've got this prejudice in your heart and argument against them. And you're like, Wow, I can't receive from 'em.

Mary Alessi  11:53  
You can't receive you cut, you cut that off. I will say we've been very blessed with staff that have taken you at that word. And they've done that. And they're very honoring of that, because that's the last thing they want. They also have to cut off, "This is my job, but it's also my place of ministry and my place of blessing." 

Steve Alessi  12:15  
Yeah.

 And it's God's mouthpiece in my life is my pastor and my boss. So it can be done, you can separate those things. So now move that into, okay, you don't work for the church, but you and your spouse work side by side in something, leave it at the workplace, don't bring it home, there has to be a separation between we work together, and then we live together and really clear lines. You had it, we started drawing those lines a few years into our relationship. It got tough. We were talking about this the other night, how it's so easy to spend so much energy discussing as a married couple, all the negative things that are happening during the day. And then there's nothing left for you together as husband and wife.

 Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  13:01  
Because you've just eaten up all this energy and all this time. And we were saying this in the car going home for every minute you spend slicing and dicing the negative of the job, or the workplace or whatever it is you're working on together is a... is a minute that you are subtracting, and taking away from vision building and dreaming together. And this, when you're negative all the time, even if you're in agreement, you know, you're you're chewing it up at night, and we need to tell her this and she needs to fix that. And we got to fix this structure. And that's got to change and you need to get better with this and you need to get better with it. All of that does is erode a positive atmosphere in your home and in your bedroom. And then you really, you can't... you don't get to turn it off. And then how do you turn romance on? It's very difficult to do there. The human mind is not equipped to do that. But this leads to all kinds of stress and frustration and irritation which could lead to even your, your relationship will get lost in it. Whereas the other brings unity, brings joy, brings peace, brings excitement, and you're not so focused on the negative because you're dreaming about tomorrow. Yeah, but you have to intentionally say okay, we've talked about it too long. You've done that for years. We're done. 

Yep. 

Steve Alessi  14:17  
We're done. We've talked about it enough. Moving on.

 Got it. Yeah, so important. Mary, and that's all such great advice we can go on. And on. Matter of fact, I think this requires just another podcast in itself. 

Mary Alessi  14:28  
Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  14:28  
How to protect that marriage? Because I guess the... the answer to that question, how to keep the life's issues from leaking into your marriage is you protect the marriage.

Mary Alessi  14:39  
 and roles.

Steve Alessi  14:40  
 and all those problems is going to be there when you're  when you wake up the next day. Which then brings us to this. You mentioned romance. And one question was, how do you keep romance flowing with so much going on, with such a big family?

Mary Alessi  14:55  
Wow. I'm answering this question?

 Oh yeah, like being..

putting me on the spot.

Steve Alessi  15:02  
Yes, thank you, whoever asked that question. I want to hear it from Mary herself. How do you keep the romance Mary? 

Mary Alessi  15:14  
Well, you know, in my experience... 

Steve Alessi  15:19  
Yes...

Mary Alessi  15:19  
... having had four children, I think you really... what has worked for us is valuing our alone time. And making sure that that was priority. It wasn't always because we would get caught up with other things...

just life....

and exhausted....

Steve Alessi  15:35  
 and pushing,  driving... Yeah, everything. 

Mary Alessi  15:37  
And yes, you know, always it's trying to achieve the higher levels. Meanwhile, the most important thing that awaits us is the relationship we have with our spouse, how much energy have we put into that relationship. And one thing we've learned after all these years of being in ministry together, working together, and I'm in my 50s, and you're 60, We've realized more than ever how invaluable we are, we can't do this without one another and we wouldn't want to. So the ebbs and flows of life, it all circles back and the one you started with is the one you end with, hopefully.

Steve Alessi  16:16  
Right.

Mary Alessi  16:16  
It's who you're doing it for. And you don't want to neglect it along the way so that when you get to the end of that point in your life, you go, I don't even like you, there's nothing here. And to keep that romance alive, I think it has to be top of mind that it's the most important thing, more than more than your children. Yeah. Because if mom and dad aren't together, and aren't happy, you can stay together. But your kids get...have it figured out. You're not getting along, and you're struggling in your relationship. And you want to you want to model what romance and a good, healthy mom and dad relationship look like. So I'm.... we are not date night people.

Steve Alessi  16:52  
Right.

Mary Alessi  16:53  
We have never been "we have a date.... every Thursday night", we, we grab our moments as much as we can. Because we have to value that date night might not happen. Date night might turn into for us in ministry, a funeral or a viewing or a counseling session, it can always change. So we make sure that we set aside a time for us to not reconnect, but never allow ourselves to get to that place where we don't feel connected. And there's a lot of resources on how to do that. But that I think the most important value is that you realize if you don't do it, you're gonna lose it. 

Steve Alessi  17:32  
Yeah. Well, I'm proud of you because you didn't get splotchy. Usually when you address certain issues, we give nervous your neck breaks out in little red splotches. Well, this is definitely. 

Mary Alessi  17:44  
You said romance, are we supposed to talk about sex?

Steve Alessi  17:46  
This is definitely one of those subjects that we would not be able to talk about on Sunday. Because the talking about the romance, keeping in the marriage, yes. Sex is a part of that.

Mary Alessi  17:56  
It is.

Steve Alessi  17:58  
One thing. I need at least Sunday, Monday. I need to connect with you on the romance. 

Mary Alessi  18:06  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  18:06  
And romance is the word for sex here. 

Mary Alessi  18:09  
Got it. It's code.

It's code for sex. I need...

... Now everybody's gonna know what happens on Sundays.

Steve Alessi  18:15  
When we pray at church and preach and sing and get drained emotionally. I need  romance at that point, it's just ...rom it's a, it's a welcome release of all that is built up. 

Mary Alessi  18:32  
Yes.

Steve Alessi  18:33  
 in me, that then helps me connect with you, personally, after trying to connect with God, trying to connect with people. It's so important that I get that connection time with you. 

Mary Alessi  18:49  
And I think that's most men.

Steve Alessi  18:50  
Yep. When they go through high stress environments, it's welcomed. it's needed. And I remember a guy years ago, you know, just because a man has a healthy sex drive. Some women want to complain, oh, man, it's too much. People want to make them out to be perverted, almost even as a person that has a relationship with God, how could he be so into that? You know, why does he need it so much? Well, every day I wake up and I eat breakfast, and then at noontime I have lunch and then at dinnertime, I have dinner, nobody looks at me says oh my gosh, what's wrong with you? Right? That you're hungry every so many hours? Absolutely it is a healthy appetite. So what that means is because I appreciate that, physically speaking, I got to take care of myself. 

Mary Alessi  19:38  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  19:39  
 And you got to take care of yourself right? If we're going to keep romance alive, that the temple of the Holy Spirit

Mary Alessi  19:46  
 oh brother

Steve Alessi  19:47  
our bodies,

Mary Alessi  19:48  
Don't spiritualize it and make it weird.

Steve Alessi  19:49  
 the bodies, we want to take care of our bodies. We want to look good for each other. We have to take care of ourselves because when we take care of ourselves, we feel good right about ourselves. And that helps us when we're romantic.

Mary Alessi  20:06  
You know what I think is so funny that all these years has taught us both? And it certainly taught me. What do couples usually? 

Steve Alessi  20:14  
You're interrupted my flow. But go ahead. 

Mary Alessi  20:15  
Really? You look like you were coming to the... Alright, go ahead, go finish. Don't did you lose it?

Steve Alessi  20:22  
It's gone. It's gone. Go ahead. Now, you lost yours. 

Mary Alessi  20:27  
See we're too old for this. You can't do that to me.

Steve Alessi  20:35  
 Ashley is blushing over in the corner right here. I love this.

Mary Alessi  20:38  
 She's in the corner in the dark. You're learning so much girl. No, honestly, what couples end up in the counseling rooms over is the fact that they've stopped having sex. And you've never met a couple that kept having sex and their marriage was still miserable. Doesn't work that way. They're miserable. And they stopped having sex a year ago. Yeah. So when you? It's like, haha, don't stop having sex with each other. 

Steve Alessi  21:07  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  21:07  
That's key, stay connected physically, and you will stay connected emotionally and spiritually in every possible way. Does that help you? That gets you back on the flow? 

Steve Alessi  21:18  
No, it's gone. Well, I don't wanna embarrass you anymore.

Mary Alessi  21:21  
I'm not embarrassed. I can handle this. But I will say that in relation to what you're saying about men not feeling ashamed of their sex drive. Women, we do that, which I find very interesting. And every woman does it, what we.... what it takes to get a man. And in the beginning stages of the relationship, when kids come around, and it depletes us more. And our bodies aren't necessarily for the bedroom anymore, there for these kids and kids hanging off on you. It really does take intentionality to say, I have to make this priority because it matters to my spouse, maybe even if it matters more to him than it does to me. I've got to make sure that he is cared for in this area.

Steve Alessi  22:05  
Yeah, that's good.

Mary Alessi  22:07  
And he should not be shamed for wanting to be with you.

Steve Alessi  22:10  
Yeah. If the man's not eating at home, he's tempted to eat elsewhere. So it's good that you feed them good. And it's good for her that emotionally what sex is meaning to me why it's so what is so important about sex to me...that emotional connection with you is important to you.

Mary Alessi  22:31  
 Right.

Steve Alessi  22:32  
 You need to feel that emotional connection that that romance that that communication, feeling good. The compliments, your ,your self esteem, constantly working on that through the accomplishments that you have together in the... compliments that are given.

Mary Alessi  22:50  
 Yeah.

Steve Alessi  22:51  
That's important for you. So you feeling secure about life in general, money, housing,

Mary Alessi  22:57  
communicate everything.

Steve Alessi  22:59  
Yeah, the marriage. That's such as me as important to you as sex is to me as this season. So it's a give and take, you know, we talked about I gotta eat right. I got to take care of myself. If I got to do a little tuck here, A little work there on the skin to make sure. I mean, yeah, like last night, I put a little face mask on you

Mary Alessi  23:17  
That was very nice

Steve Alessi  23:19  
... to help you with your skin.

Mary Alessi  23:21  
 I loved it. 

Steve Alessi  23:21  
I know how important that is to you. And I put it on me sometimes. It doesn't look as good on me...

Mary Alessi  23:26  
 Hey babe, hey babe, your skin looks amazing. 

Steve Alessi  23:28  
Yeah. Okay. Thank you. So all of that is so important. Because we're focusing on each other. 

Mary Alessi  23:33  
Yeah 

Steve Alessi  23:34  
Romance is about let me focus. Right, you

Mary Alessi  23:37  
 That's it. 

Steve Alessi  23:38  
And thankfully, we've also had this is where great community and support group friendship, and in our case, our church family, why it's so important to be connected with other people. This church family on a number of occasions, people have stepped up and sent you and I away.

Mary Alessi  23:58  
 Yep. 

Steve Alessi  23:58  
Just to go hang out with ourselves, maybe our family. But just you and I are getting alone, we go up....one of the reasons we got our farm, is it helps us get away right from the hustle and bustle of South Florida, from our phones from all of that and just be able to focus on ourselves.

Mary Alessi  24:19  
That's right.

Steve Alessi  24:20  
 That's huge is if we're going to keep the romance alive, which then brings me that is another question. They're asking us about the joy of aging together. How are we keeping this fun as we age together?

Mary Alessi  24:38  
Wow. I can tell you right now in the season that we're in, for me, it's probably been the funnest...

Steve Alessi  24:46  
 right?

Mary Alessi  24:47  
... between you and me that we've had so far. And when we look back at our the other day, we looked at our our wedding video and we looked at our honeymoon video, and I do not want to go back and be that girl. You could not pay me a million dollars to go back and be that girl. Because you could see in every shot, you had the camera on me constantly. I was so annoyed. I was just annoyed. Is there a honeymoon? I'm like, stop. I mean, like, the whole time. Oh my god, she's annoying. But I...but this definitely is. And I thought that season was fun. I thought having kids was fun. But this season of you and me really putting each other first and finding the joy in it. And I know it's it's not easy for you. I know, it's not always your want to...you would much rather go out into the woods and shoot something. But you definitely let me know, that being with me is the most important and most fun thing that there is to do. And I believe you, you know, and we really do work on having fun together. And part of that is certain conversations are off limits. We know where the other's buttons are. And we just don't push them. 

Steve Alessi  25:59  
Yeah.

Mary Alessi  26:00  
 So that we can enjoy the season and the time that we have together. Because we are getting older. But there's there's such a sensation, there's like this sense of we are winning. We're one of the few that made it to the mountain because the divorce rate is so high. You know,  when we tell people we've been married 34 years, you would think we told them we'd been married 55 years. 

Steve Alessi  26:25  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  26:26  
Because that's a huge accomplishment these days to be married a long time to the same person. And I'm so proud of that. But there is just a sense of we made it we made it, you know...

Steve Alessi  26:38  
 yeah

Mary Alessi  26:38  
 ...Chance the Rapper sings. We were together. And we've done so much with our lives. And that just makes it...like we weathered some serious storms. And we're still here together, I could cry thinking about I know, and I wouldn't want to be with anybody else but you. As mad as you make me, I still love you.

Steve Alessi  27:05  
Very well, let me spiritualize something for a minute. If you're not the spiritual kind, you can put up with this comment. But there's something in the Bible, there's a story in the Bible about two brothers that wanted to be elevated to a position of popularity because they wanted to be on Jesus's right hand and on his left, and he talks to them about what that looks like. And he makes a statement. He says, Let him who wants to be the greatest, be a servant. 

Mary Alessi  27:36  
Right. 

Steve Alessi  27:37  
And then there is that statement that says, For the first shall be last and the last shall be first. And I told you a few weeks ago when we were on the porch, as we were communicating and talking, which is what this podcast is like, us just talking in our living room, on our back porch. And I told you what hit me when I read that. And so it may get a little emotional here. But I said, you know, at this season when I... when I read that part about the last shall be first. I really feel like at this season of my life. I've been elevated to first.

Mary Alessi  28:21  
 Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  28:22  
At 60. 

Mary Alessi  28:23  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  28:23  
I've been elevated the first. I've got a son. That's 30 who's knocking on the door.

Mary Alessi  28:29  
 Yeah.

Steve Alessi  28:29  
Preached a message this weekend that was crazy. I wasn't even there to hear it. But I'll hear it this summer, this Sunday. He's just at a place where he's blowing it up. Our daughter finds.... both of them find great spouses.

Mary Alessi  28:46  
 They sure did.

Steve Alessi  28:47  
 And our two younger daughters are celebrating this season of education and preparation. Lauren preparing herself for her... 

Oh, Allen bringing in tissue. Over here. 

Mary Alessi  29:05  
We'll just take the whole box...

Steve Alessi  29:06  
Snorting and snotting all over the place. Lauren's at a place where she's pursuing her degree and her masters and then Gaby finishing up at FIU and then leading our youth group so well. And I, I just felt like that that phrase, the last shall be first and the first and the first shall be last. I felt like at this season. I've been elevated to first.

Mary Alessi  29:32  
Wow.

Steve Alessi  29:33  
Never felt that,  Mar. Mever felt first. Sure I may be the head of an organization and a ministry like this. But never felt first. And then I heard God stirred up in my heart, not that God speaks to me audibly but I felt this impression and I saw this image. My life, I've tried to do this. Though I'm I know I'm a strong leader. 

Mary Alessi  30:00  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  30:01  
Some call me controlling. I know I'm a strong leader. And I know that I get in front of people and I talk and, and lead the charge here at the ministry. But my, my heart has been, how can I serve the people of this church? 

Mary Alessi  30:18  
Always.

Steve Alessi  30:18  
How can I serve our staff? How can I serve my kids? And most importantly, how can I serve you? That has been my heart's desire. And I think if people would focus on that, especially couples, especially the heads of corporations and their life, but let's bring it back to marriage, if a man can focus on serving his wife.

Mary Alessi  30:44  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  30:44  
 Not being run over by or not being the weaker sex.

Mary Alessi  30:47  
No, no.

Steve Alessi  30:49  
No, but serving.  Sometimes being strong and in serving, if he can work on serving his wife, serving his family, then, if he'll do that, put himself as last. Even though you're taking the lead, put yourself as last. Be sensitive to that. Doesn't always have to be your way. You don't always have to be number one. You don't always have to have the biggest Instagram or social media following, you don't always have to have the best number one song, you don't have to be able to preach the best and have the most popular sermon, or the biggest and the best church. Don't always push to be number one, just for the sake of saying, Look what I've done, and being first, if you can focus on how can I at this season in my life, serve my clients, serve my customers, serve my church, serve my family? If you'll do that, and remain in a posture of strong humility...

Mary Alessi  31:46  
 Yes.

Steve Alessi  31:47  
 One day, you're gonna wake up and say, Oh, my gosh. At the latter years of my life, yeah. I'm feeling first. 

Mary Alessi  31:57  
Wow. 

Steve Alessi  31:59  
So with you, and I, I think the way that we have been able to keep this fun, and enjoy each other in our marriage 

Mary Alessi  32:09  
...aging, yeah.

Steve Alessi  32:11  
 is we really have focused, especially as we've gotten older..

Mary Alessi  32:15  
yes.

Steve Alessi  32:16  
 On how can I serve Mary? How can I serve Steve? Absolutely. And babe, I've seen that you as I've seen, your, your, what used to be irritants, when we were younger, and you'd come out and we'd have big arguments about something or be bothered and ignore each other, give each other the silent treatment or want to disappear for an hour to take off and slam the door. I've seen those things when you would have been tempted to do it. You didn't.

Mary Alessi  32:40  
Right.

Steve Alessi  32:40  
 You backed off. Because you were like, wait a minute, this isn't about me right now. 

Mary Alessi  32:45  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  32:45  
Of course, it's taken 34 years, 

Mary Alessi  32:47  
Took a long time.

Steve Alessi  32:48  
 But we just didn't make the mistake of quitting. Two years, five years, 10 years into this.

Mary Alessi  32:57  
Cause divorce was never an option, was never an option. 

Steve Alessi  33:00  
It was a temptation. 

Mary Alessi  33:02  
Tempation and option are not the same. There are thoughts and there are days where you think

Steve Alessi  33:06  
 there was no reason for divorce. But just because you're mad and hurt and disappointed, 

Mary Alessi  33:10  
That's right.

Steve Alessi  33:11  
 You wonder what tomorrow is gonna...you.... you entertain my life would be better without.

Mary Alessi  33:15  
Absolutely or what would my life be like without them? Would it be better? And ...but when you really understand that the power of your relationship and the power of a healthy marriage is serving one another and really what that looks like? That whole, the last shall be first, the first shall be last, your marriage will become first, it will naturally have a propensity at the latter season of your life, which the truth is, we still have a lot more years to live. My mother used to say, when I would get irritated with the kids making noise and being in the house, she'd say, "Well take it easy on them, because there's a whole lot of years without them in the house than there are with them in the house." And when you're in the middle of that you cannot even comprehend it. Of course here we are. We've still got two at home, but they're never home. And the reality of that is true, you better nurture the Mr. And Mrs. Nurture one another so that when you get to this season of aging, you're each other's best friend, you can't imagine doing it without the other one. Because I really can't, and I'm watching God do in you because you did have a service first mindset. You always, always have whether it was  misinterpreted by some, that was always your driving force to serve. And now in our relationship, it's so easy. Our marriage is so easy and sometimes our kids will look at us and, and want that. But we explained to them you work for it, you serve your way to this place. And it makes it looks easy, but it's because we did the hard stuff.

Steve Alessi  34:50  
34 years in the making.

Mary Alessi  34:52  
  We did it. We stayed together.

Steve Alessi  34:53  
...and wouldn't change it because now we can sit here at a podcast table, talk about how to do it and hopefully inspire others to just find the right one. Hang in there.

Mary Alessi  35:02  
Fight the good fight.

Steve Alessi  35:03  
Work hard together, that's good and embrace the ups and the downs, the disappointments, highs, the celebration moments, all of that. Keep a relationship with God in place. Stay connected to the local church. 

Mary Alessi  35:15  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  35:15  
Find good pastors that you can follow.

Mary Alessi  35:17  
Find the village

Steve Alessi  35:18  
And watch how life could really treat you well. So we hope today's questions and the answers that we have given you have been an encouragement. So thank you for joining us today on the Alessi family business podcast.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai