Dec 16, 2020
Marriage is beautiful. It’s hard, but it’s beautiful.
Work can be beautiful. Hard, but beautiful. When you combine
marriage and work, those things can be beautiful, but they can also
be really, really hard. My guests today recently completed the
largest research study on working married couples in the US, and
spent the last few years interviewing couples who want to stay in
love, change the world, and raise a happy family. Jeff and Andrew
Shinabarger. Jeff is the co-author of
Love or Work: Is it Possible to Change the World,
Stay in Love, and Raise a Family. He’s also the founder
of Plywood People, a nonprofit in Atlanta leading a
community of startups doing good. His work has been featured in
Forbes Inc., CNN, USA Weekend, and Huffington Post. He’s mentored
over 600 startups and created the largest social entrepreneurship
event in the South called “Plywood Presents.” His wife, Andre
Shinabarger is an adventurer who loves seeing the world. She was
born in Boliva, and she has a deep passion for building community
with marginalized people groups. She works at Grady Memorial
Hospital as a physician’s assistant and is an adjunct professor for
Emory University as well as an advisor to Plywood People, host of
the Love or Work Podcast, and coauthor of the Love or
Work book along with her husband, Jeff. These two are incredible
and I’ve long admired their work through Plywood People and Plywood
Presents. It was such a joy to have them on the show. You’re going
to get so much out of this conversation whether you’re married or
single. This episode is for everyone.
6:41 – The Jeff and Andre 101
- Andre was born in Bolivia and Spanish is her first
language. She is a physician’s assistant at Grady Health System
where she and her colleagues take care of underserved communities.
She and Jeff met in college, have been married for 18 years, and
have two children who are 10 and 8 years-old.
- Jeff leads an organization called Plywood People, a
nonprofit that leads a community of startups doing good. He loves
getting involved in these projects to help pass on his wisdom,
lessons from mistakes, and help people grow their dream
- Early on, Jeff and Andre stared a project called
“Gift Card Giver.” They would collect unused gift cards and give
them to people in need. People started sending their gift cards
from all over the nation. Because of that, people started
connecting Jeff with other people with ideas. They gave away a few
hundred thousand dollars in gift cards, and people started
recognizing Jeff and asking him how to help them get their ideas
off the ground.
- The name Plywood People came after Jeff and Andrew
traveled extensively doing various relief work. He always saw
Plywood as a short-term fix to a long-term problem, and people
giving their lives to continue raising up a place and making it
11:48 – Love or Work?
- The Book Love or Work came out of a long personal
journey of working with people who are starting their own business.
Unfortunately, they often also saw a lot of relationships falling
apart because of those startup businesses efforts. It’s hard to
maintain and nurture relationships when so much of an
entrepreneur’s time is taken up by stress and trying to get a new
project off the ground.
- Often business mentoring sessions would also turn
into therapy sessions with clients emotional over their stressed
relationships or lack of free time to spend with their partners.
They saw such a big need in the community that they started to
research how many people were feeling that struggle. They wanted to
know if it was really possible to do it all or is that just an
idealistic notion? Jeff and Andrew started interviewing people and
asking more questions.
- The book is especially timely during this pandemic
we’re experiencing in 2020. With many couples now working at home
and in close proximity, many are struggling to adjust to this
adjustment in their increased time together at home. Virtual
school, kids, and general stress adds even more pressure on
14:54 – Podcasts and Pandemics
- Jeff and Andre also have a Love or Work
Podcast in addition to the book. They help couples focus on
their marriage with resources that help people have not only a
great marriage, but also a great career and family, all at the same
time. It is possible!
- They hosted over 100 couples on their podcast and
did a research project where they surveyed 1500 working couples!
They wanted a broad perspective backed up by data.
- Andre personally didn’t think she wanted kids
because she didn’t think she could move up in a career if she had
kids too. 83% of couples say that working has made them better
parents. The proof is in the data. We really don’t have to choose.
We can both work and be good parents.
- Women and men feel guilt being away from their kids
while they are working, but you can let go a of a lot of that
guilt. Jeff cares a lot about Andre’s purpose and while it is not
perfect, many couples reported that they desire that support in
their relationships. It should be a marriage issue, not a career
issue. It’s not a topic that is brought up in marriage books, but
if a partner doesn’t value the other’s purpose, they don’t value
- Women are coming out of the workforce 4x more than
men right now. They are bearing a lot of the burden during the
pandemic to both work and care for their children.
- Just because we’re home more now doesn’t mean we’re
connecting. Both the Love or Work book and podcast helps
people connect heart-wise and get deeper into issues of work, love,
and kids. It has work couples can do together at the end of the
book as well. When was the last time you invested in resources to
help you with your relationship? We invest in so much, but this
important aspect of our lives together is too often an exception to
30:15 – Love and Work Through the Years
- A desire for passion and fulfilment in work has
started to develop in the last few decades in our society: A real
deep desire for passion and purpose in what we do for our careers,
and that is only going to continue. More families are likely to
include to people with deep passion for their work. The question is
how to maintain partner relationships, relationships with the
children in the family, and how everyone stays healthy in
- 95% of participants in Jeff and Andre’s study
believed it’s possible to say in love, change the world, and raise
a happy family. However, they’re all exhausted trying to do it. No
one goes to counseling, they don’t exercise, they don’t take
vacations. It’s not worth it to “have it all” if you’re having it
all in an unhealthy state. Jeff and Andre talk about practical ways
to have it all in a way that’s healthy.
- This increased time at home has also spurred
difficult and important conversations and given couples time to
reflect on their relationship and make sure they’re both willing to
stay on the same team long term. It’s a hard but vital question.
Counseling and opening the conversation for feedback to trusted
friends is vital.
37:42 – Strong Marriages
- If we change the world and lose our family, we
lose. Sometimes we have to say no to work and prioritize our kids.
You can change your family set up if it is no longer working for
you. It’s your family and marriage, and you can adjust together and
edit accordingly. Don’t force something that isn’t working for you
and your family just because you said you’d do it. It will help you
grow together rather than grow apart.
- A finding from their research that genuinely
surprised Andrew is that only 8% of couples surveyed have ever
gotten counseling. Even if counseling feels scary, even talking to
someone close to you who may be further along in their journey or
buying a book to help can set couples on a better path simply
because they are investing in something for their
- Only 31% of couples have a shared calendar. This
also surprised Jeff and Andre. Especially if you have kids, a
shared calendar can save a lot of relationships from frustration,
miscommunication, and fights.
- 59% of people surveyed do now use their vacation
time! Taking time to step away to be together is a privilege that
families should take advantage of if they have it! There are so
many forms of different intimacy that can emerge while on
- Jeff and Andre learned from their sex therapist
friend about the 4, 4, 4 principle. It’s an idea that each person
needs for hours of induvial time a week, and couples need 4 hours
of time together every week. Away time invigorates us when we
actually come back together to spend time with each other. It
should of course be intentional time, not just watching Netflix
Getting to Know Our Guest
- Find out some fun get-to-know-you things about Jeff
and Andre! Things like which of their pet peeves are the strangest,
if they had to eat the same meal for dinner every night for the
rest of their life, what song they have to sing when it comes on
the radio, their favorite TV shows growing up. Be sure you hear
what it means to Jeff and Andre to run a business with
13:21 – “When you look at some of the historical
leaders that we count as heroes, most of them had pretty rough
family lives; Somebody took a hit because they pursued this heroic
17:46 – “That is a core issue that should be a
marriage issue. I’ve never read in a marriage book that you should
be in support of your partner’s purpose. That’s not been a topic
brought up in any marriage book before. If I don’t value her
purpose, I don’t value her.”
23:12 – “The reason why so many women take pride in
their work is because they want to paint a picture for their
daughters that is a new path forward. A lot of the men connected to
this women in committed relationships want the same thing. They
want their daughters to see a different image of what their mother
27:08 - “It’s important that kids see a bigger world
view. Whatever you do, it’s important for kids to see that it’s
outside of this immediate safe bubble of home, because there are
hurting people, and there are bigger needs, and it’s a bigger world
40:08 – “If we change the world and lose our family,
About Jeff and Andre Shinabarger:
Jeff Shinabarger is the co-author of "Love or Work:
Is it possible to change the world, stay in love, and raise a
family?" and founder of Plywood People, a non-profit in Atlanta
leading a community of startups doing good. His work has been
featured by Forbes, Inc., CNN, USA Weekend and Huffington Post. He
is the co-founder of Q, mentored over 600 start-ups and created the
largest social entrepreneur event in the South called Plywood
André Shinabarger is an adventurer who loves seeing
the world. Born in Bolivia, she has a deep passion for building
community with marginalized people groups. She works for Grady
Memorial Hospital in Atlanta as a Physician Assistant and is an
adjunct professor for Emory University. She is an Advisor to
Plywood People, host of the Love or Work Podcast and co-author of
the Love or Work book alongside her husband Jeff.
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