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Six couples share their experiences of letting their spouse pursue hobbies and careers

Tom and Tara McBride at the Women in Business Panel.

Successful couples told students that the key to working together is supporting your spouse in their dreams and aspirations during the Women in Business Panel event on Feb. 27. The event was hosted by the BYU–Hawaii Management Society, BYU Management Society, and the Business Management Department.

Sustaining one another

Founders of the Ko’olau Wellness Center, Tom and Tara McBride have been partners in their careers for the past six years. While Tom McBride finishes his postgraduate education in the public health field, Tara McBride holds the record for being the state Olympic lifting champion. Both are training for an Ironman.

Tara McBride said her husband, Tom McBride, shows through a combination of little things they both love. “We have a general idea of what needs to be done and then we have a to-do list, and we talk through it… then we attack what needs to be done together,” she said.

She continued, “From the very beginning he gave me space and let me fly. He never tells me what to do. He just lets me go. He has made me feel like a real person. He has encouraged me to do whatever makes me happy. He doesn’t try to rule or dominate me.”

Scott Springer, associate professor in business and government, said he was inspired by a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley. President Hinckley said, “I’ve tried to recognize my wife’s individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does.”

“I was inspired by that years ago,” Springer said, “to keep out of my wife’s way and marvel at what she does,” Scott Springer, associate professor shared. The book “At Home with the Hinckley’s” was the launch of the panel discussion.

Scott Springer and Ann Springer both teach at BYUH, and they dated while they worked together as editors of their college newspaper. Ann Springer is a relationships manager in career services. They said they credit honesty and trust when pursuing their vocation and path.

A few weeks away from attending graduate school at BYU, Scott Springer was prepared to enter his classes when Ann Springer had the courage to voice her feeling that her husband should change his master’s degree and should not pursue that specific path. “I was a little taken aback from it, but I appreciated her honesty because honesty is something we always tried to have in our marriage, so I stopped and told her I would think about it.

“I then received promptings that encouraged me to go a different direction and confirmed to me she was right, and I needed to change my path and what I was pursuing in business. Have the courage to speak up and share your feelings with each other.”

Chris Chan, a senior from Hong Kong majoring in business management, expressed one of the best things to show support for his wife’s career is deliberately serving outside her career focus. Chris Chan said, “I care about things outside her career, but if she’s busy with work I take care of the domestic things.” He said these domestic things include washing dishes and cooking, the things his wife would not have time to finish.

In response, Michelle Chan, a senior from Hong Kong majoring in TESOL, said, “It’s something that’s really working for me and I feel very fortunate that there is someone there who can do the cooking and laundry for me. The most important [thing] is to talk and understand one another and see what they need. When I am not free, he is there for me.”

Achieving goals together

“Ann can understand my language,” Scott Springer said. “I appreciate she has the ability to pick the truth out of a conversation. In business ideas, to be the voice of reason, to be optimistic and point if we are on the right road path, she keeps us grounded in the gospel and what’s really important in life. She reminds us to say our prayers, scripture study especially when we bring work home.”

Michelle Chan said her husband is supportive in the way Chris Chan said, “If you want it, you will get it because you are Michelle.” She said this has helped her while taking large course loads and fulfilling her academic pursuits.

Michelle Chan said, “We’re always together. During TESOL activities Chris listens patiently and gives me a chance to express my feelings and he’s not judgmental.”

While making the decision to move to Hawaii after 16 years of living in California and raising their family, Scott Springer said he felt impressed to take the job at BYUH. While his wife supported his wish, he said, “You need to heed the counsel with your spouse.”

While remembering prior dating relationships, Ann Springer would ask herself, “If I marry this person am I just going to be an addition to his life? What will happen to my personal life? As I was dating Scott I felt strongly that as I was pursuing my goals I could feel that he was supporting me in that... However, if someone is not super encouraging or discouraging it shows their qualities will always take precedent.”

Tara McBride said a major part of her confidence comes from the support of her husband through difficult endeavors, such as being the first of seven children to attend college. “Tom is my number one fan and he makes it known to me. Tom will support me in anything I decide. He was there to cheer me on.” Now as they manage their business, Tara McBride said while negotiating a business plan, Tom McBride was on the sideline cheering her on 100 percent.

Writer: Geena DeMaio