Live, Work, Love | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Live, Work, Love

Photo by Daphne Nabors

Some relationships work because both individuals have the freedom to attend to their own agendas throughout each day. What happens, though, when couples live and work together? More so than ever before, many couples now spend close to 24 hours, seven days a week together. To some couples, such a schedule is overwhelming to even think about. For other love birds, that's the only way they can imagine living their lives.

We found three unique couples who live and work together in different capacities.

Daphne and Marsh Nabors by J. Ashley Nolen

Daphne and Marsh Nabors know the importance of being laid back and enjoying life. The couple formed "The Overnight Lows," their punk-rock band, under unusual circumstances back in 2000.

The band's name has nothing to do with the weatherman's estimation of dropping temperatures in the middle of the night but, instead, refers to a challenging time in the couple's relationship. During this stressful time, Marsh had a few sleepless nights where he felt especially burdened. "It wasn't a negative time, but just captures a negative moment," Marsh says.

The band started up that summer.

Daphne, 37, plays the bass, and Marsh, 35, the guitar; both sing original songs they write together. They write songs that they would want to hear, not for a specific fan base. The three-person band includes a drummer, Bryan Roberts, who just started. "The Overnight Lows" is under record label Goner Records, based in Memphis, where they often perform. For the first 10 years, the group only played around the South, but within the last year they toured around the West Coast, featuring their new album, "City of Rotten Eyes."

Marsh says it's great to have someone with him that he's close to when he's really far from home traveling. Daphne remembers touring without Marsh early on in their relationship when she was part of another band, and agrees it is much better with him now, because they can share such rich experiences.

The couple started dating in 1996 and, three years later, shared an non-traditional wedding experience. In 1999, on Daphne's birthday, Dec. 31, the eager couple eloped to a courthouse in Butler, Ala., where a judge married them and served as their only witness.

Though the couple's band entertains both local and distant audiences, they have day jobs, too. Marsh works at Pearl River Glass Studio restoring stained glass while Daphne owns a freelance photography business (the Jackson Free Press is one of her clients). They agree that they enjoy having the band as their side job instead of a full-time responsibility.

The couple says that one reward of working together is having the comfortable freedom to criticize one another without wondering how the other is going to respond. They sometimes argue, but ultimately get over their frustration, and they do not hold grudges.

"It is great to be able to put 100 percent trust in someone else and both be able to watch over the other," Marsh says. "She is more like my guardian angel."

Daphne values trust, too. "I can trust what he says as the truth," she says. "When he approves of something, I know it's for real."

Her advice is to value honesty and always be available to re-examine yourself. Marsh says that he isn't the person to come to for advice but later adds that it is important for couples to constantly be willing to improve and grow.

Marsh and Daphne were friends before their romantic relationship developed, and the couple says it is their deep-rooted friendship that keeps their 11-year-old marriage strong today.

Keith and Kathy Thibodeaux by J. Ashley Nolen

In 1976, Keith Thibodeaux proposed to Kathy after only three months of knowing one another. Kathy, only 19 at the time, was hesitant at first, but she joined Keith to pray over their situation. In an effort to comfort Kathy, Keith urged her to open the Bible and point to a verse. Ironically, Kathy pointed to and read aloud the story of Ruth telling Boaz to make her his wife according to God's holy ordinances. The couple eloped on Oct. 26 that same year.

Keith and Kathy are both extraordinarily talented. Keith, originally from Louisiana, was first in the spotlight, playing Little Ricky on the television sitcom "I Love Lucy," and then Opie's friend on "The Andy Griffith Show." Later, he was a drummer, singer and songwriter for the Gospel Music Association Dove Award-nominated David and the Giants; he traveled with them for 10 years. In 1982, Kathy, who was born in Memphis but moved to Jackson when she was 3, won a silver medal at the USA International Ballet Competition that is held every four years in Jackson. Her final dance was to Sandi Patty's "We Shall Behold Him."

Her dancing and a desire to combine her career with her faith is what spurred Kathy to open Ballet Magnificat! in 1986, where the goal is: "... to restore dance as a means of worship to the church and to disciple dancers to spread the gospel to all nations."

As the founder and artistic director of Ballet Magnificat!, Kathy says the company started out small but has grown dramatically. Since opening, the company has performed in front of more than 12 million people.

Keith is the company's executive director, overseeing the business aspect of their dance company, handling all the paperwork and scheduling performances. "We ride in to work together and leave together," Keith says. In 2011, Ballet Magnificat! celebrates its 25th year in business.

While the couple works in the same business every day, they say it isn't too challenging for them because they are in two different sides of the company. When the ballet company travels, the couple spends almost all day together, but it bothers neither of them. In fact, they are appreciative for the time they have together because early on in their marriage, Keith traveled away from Kathy and their daughter, Tara, while playing in David and the Giants. Together, the couple has traveled to a variety of places including South America, Singapore, Israel and all around Europe.

"Now we can enjoy the fact that we're traveling together," Keith says.

Both from broken families, Keith and Kathy recognize marriage as a covenant. Their advice is to never let anything offend you that will cause a root of bitterness. "If you're wrong, be big enough to recognize it," Keith says.

Kathy says she can trust Keith's decisions. Laughingly, she adds that she likes him because he's cute, too. Keith adores Kathy's faith, patience and her gift of mercy. "I might say something is the last straw, but she demonstrates mercy," Keith says.

Kathy is laid back, and Keith is a "go getter." They will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year.

Joseph and Alice White by Dorian Randall

Dr. Joseph White, an anti-aging specialist and general medicine physician, was once a star basketball player as a high-school junior in Missouri. His future bride, Alice, was an interested spectator who admired his maturity.

Now years later, they work together at the Optimum Health Wellness Center in Jackson.

The couple has been in Mississippi for 21 years and has enjoyed adding to their love story in what has become their home. The proud parents of two children and six grandchildren are still madly in love.

"Oh, I was very interested at first sight," Joseph, 57, said.

"It didn't take long before love really kicked in, and I was experiencing something I had never experienced before," he added with a laugh. "We are still in love, so that's a good thing."

He enjoys working with his wife, too. Alice White, 57, is vice president of their company, Optimum Health Wellness Center Inc., and oversees its finances.

Joseph said that not only does it allow them to see each other more often despite their hectic schedules, but he also feels he has someone he can trust on his team.

"There are multiple benefits of working with my spouse. She walks in unconditional love toward people. She has a way of handling stressful situations with a lot of grace. I love her loyalty and faithfulness," Joseph said.

He said new couples should be patient with each other and understand that "reality is a little bit different than the way they've idealized each other."

Alice says her husband didn't have to do much to woo her when they first met. It was his maturity that impressed her.

"We were in the 11th grade, and he was so far [more] advanced than all the other young men, even male friends that I knew at my school and my neighborhood. ... And he had dreams," she says. "He had a goal in life."

After 39 years of marriage, Alice said she cherishes the time they spend together. She said couples who work together should respect each other, especially if one of them is in a position of leadership.

"You have to respect your spouse as the boss. You have to respect an individual's talent and not expect them to be perfect, but expect them to do the very best they can," she said.

Alice says she loves her husband's foresight, his leadership, his caring heart and "his desire to stop at nothing to take care of us."

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