Needed and Known

A Tale of Two Opposites: How to Build One Strong Relationship with Your Opposite

June 23, 2021 Cassandra Roberts / Angela Robles Season 1 Episode 5
Needed and Known
A Tale of Two Opposites: How to Build One Strong Relationship with Your Opposite
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Opposites attract, but how do they work?
In this episode, I'm introducing you to Dr. Angela Robles. Angela is Curriculum Specialist of Sport Management and Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology at Azusa Pacific University. She has pioneered research in strengths-based athletics and applied that insight into her own relationship. She and her husband, David, have used their strengths and some honest conversations to find more joy.

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Cassandra:

Hey friend, it's Cassandra, and this is needed average moments into a great life by learning, growing, and I interview amazing people. Who've improved their communication relationships and On this episode, I'm interviewing Angela. Dr. Angela Robles is a curriculum specialist of sports management the department of kinesiology at Azusa Pacific university. She's a former pitcher for the university of Notre She's pioneered research in strengths based athletics But what I think Angela is needed and known for. Is her ability to be flexible with her spouse. I'm excited for you to hear about their journey together I am so glad that you could join us today to kind of talk about. What's happened in your life. What's changed in your life and impart your knowledge and Tell us about your life and your career before becoming a mother

Angela:

oh, right. It's like, is there a before you can even remember it. It's like, oh, what did I have a life before then? Yes. So I guess the best way I can share it was I grew up in circle we're back here now, which is like really wonderful. But I was a full scholarship athlete at Notre Dame. I played college sports for four years, played overseas Did some grad school got married about 15 years ago. And I want to say about two years after David and So I had Riley and Reese and juggling all of that grad school and moving a ton of times as you know. So yeah.

Cassandra:

So you basically had an entire life. I mean, I, we all had different varying degrees, but you

Angela:

Yeah, I feel like no, I think I was really fortunate my like bucket list, I guess on, even before I probably met and really got married and starting a family, I feel I think I was about 26 when, when we got married. So I feel like, yeah, from, from starting college, about 17 or 18 I think that happened during that time. And yeah, and I think all the goals and things that I really grateful and fortunate to have done a lot of those things

Cassandra:

That's wonderful. As we go on, we're going to talk about strengths a little bit. And so I want to give the listeners a little bit A little about strengths. I know, you know, a lot being a coach and you don't StrengthsFinder specifically, but just having to listen. But just having some context for the listeners. Can you tell us, when did you learn about strengths What does that even mean?

Angela:

Sure. Yeah. So part of that journey, I think of like playing college professionally a little bit and then moving into coaching really fascinated with how teams work and how, especially I think we kind of like live and die based on And so I've just been really. Always was really curious about like what makes teams function? What makes them healthy? What makes them positive? And as I started my graduate work, as I started They had us as part of our orientation And so now it's actually called Clifton strengths. But they did that just to sort of help us kind of have a What are some of the innate talents and strengths that potentially help us through our graduate program. And as soon as I took the assessment, again, for people It takes about 40 minutes or so. And then you really learn your top five strengths, right? So for me learning those really. Very easy words, but really recognizable words, such as like And then there's one called woo, which I thought, Right. But winning others over and just this idea for me of the times that I had that were more relational, I felt like As I looked back on my experience as an athlete and Being an athlete who wanted to like throw my glove when I compelled in sports and to play hard and to be successful And so I think in learning what my strengths were at identify what it was that I wanted to study and what it So being able to bridge that into a doctoral program, so with teamwork and looking at wouldn't it be cool to do And to be able to really give teams and coaches the I thought I was always really interested in And so, so learning strengths back in 2002, and then Doing my dissertation work on it. And then since then really being able to kind of utilize doing some team building has always been really such a, I feel like to do that for the last number of years.

Cassandra:

How long was it after you did that, that you

Angela:

Oh, gosh, I want to say probably when I met I think maybe it was when we were in our dating. So I think we met in like 2003, 2004, and I think I was so strength and the self-discovery and self-awareness I think as came up in conversation that these were things I was And as we kind of, you know, as you do, when you date, you And things that you're passionate about and you should really look at taking this assessment. Right. And so he took it. And I think that actually helped us as I progress in my looking at what strengths is, it was so great that in the very And we can kind of talk a little bit about Why we do what we do, why we think what we think. And I think that was a really helpful tool for us. Not for him just to understand what I was studying and but for us to really actually use it in real life, too, So yeah, I think he took it in like 2003, 2004, maybe. Wow.

Cassandra:

So, and you've been married for 15 years, so. It's definitely dating

Angela:

16. Yeah.

Cassandra:

You know, your strengths and you And how, how did that help you? Cause you are, like you said, What you described And what I know about them is that those are really And so that's why throwing your glove on the ground. Doesn't do anything. And now I'm, I'm that way, like, I'm not, I get competitive, I'm definitely going to win. But like, and I like to trash talk a little, but like, I'm you play with those people who are like going to throw the game

Angela:

Right. Right.

Cassandra:

And I tend to be very relational as well, which which is why we're easily connect. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So knowing that about yourself as you transitioned from a mother how did that, how did that work for you knowing Yeah. Sure. So, so again, I think it really helped David Midas of to understand what our differences were. But I think as we started our family and helped us to Like, so once you kind of start figuring out your relationships, I think that's always a challenge, no matter But I think for us, I think for us learning Kind of what It helped us sort of, I don't know, I'm not a very strategic like, as we approach parenting as our kids get older, like And who's going to take care of what roles and responsibilities live in the places that we most enjoy, but also we don't put The way the other does, if that makes sense. So I, I don't expect him to be super, highly relational I know he's just not always wired like that. He's going to be much more of the planner and if there's as a parent, if there's an issue with the kids, we're If they cry and I'll be excited that they are excited and He's going to end the moment and say, well, how do I fix that? Or what's our next step? And so I think I think for me learning my strengths, even I really needed to give space for for him to kind of step Parenting roles that I really followed were not in my sweet So I think that kind of helped us kind of plan out, like what Cause we didn't know what we were doing. Nobody does. Right. You leave the hospital. Who's going to do this for me, you know, I'm going to know, so I think that, I think that was helpful for us. And there, it's kind of been fun where we look at our kids and Right. And so how do we leave them space to really thrive, but that we feel like they, you know, can really do great That's so good. And you know, you know, the cliche is it's all about Who have been married for awhile? Say that it's all about communication is because I feel like knowing each other's strengths is just It helps to fill in that gap of why do you do things that way? Why the, why do you make it happen? Like why, why is that so important to you? Because for David. Having the relational part isn't is important. Of course it's important to all of us, but like it's like being empathetic as is something that happens to you. And whereas he's like, I just need to solve this problem smooth, would you say that like smooth, that, that vibe

Angela:

Yeah, for sure. And I think it just gave us more like grace with each other too. And I have to say, cause I, I realized that you know, your always, I always assume like, oh, they'll know who David is, too, about how different we really are So one of the things he and I both have been very mindful about it is we come So culturally, we come from totally different places, right? So his parents are from Mexico. His mom still doesn't speak English. Right. So he came from a very traditional Mexican home Traditional kind of white middle-class family, right? My dad was in the Marine Corps and, you know, we just come Then also with my sport background, there's a different expectations and experience that you have as a college athlete. That. I think sometimes I, I wonder like, oh, if I would've married the same issues or problems or would we, you know, it'd be a And like him, you know, he's a little bit more, you know, into different personalities, but we also have different cultural And so I think all of those things kind of set Cool like exciting relationship, but also very And so I think for me, when I look at strengths that has different that it just gave us a place to talk about some that helped open doors to all of these other differences So yeah, so I think just the layers of how different the strength piece was a really helpful tool for us. Cause we didn't start in the same way. You know what I mean? I

Cassandra:

do. I do. And I think you, not only did you, you didn't start it in the traveled through different places together as well. And so you know, I know that you ha you've had friends you, somebody like Angela can't help, but have friends, frankly. So but those friends, those friends may have created Lifelong friends in the way that a lot of people think of Like we're lifelong friends, but I, I haven't seen Angela talk, I mean, years will go by and then we reconnect Not because we're ghosting each other or whatever the slang accept that about each other and we're already so similar that we Meanwhile, Angela's living her life, with David. Who's very different from her. Can you share a little bit more about that, how that's developed?

Angela:

So I think well part of it is that we just So with David's job, and that was the ebb and flow balancing being a mom, but also balancing the professional Work and home life would look like, but also being a support So we moved, I think we counted like eight different times and So I felt like every time we'd settled, we And so even if it was in the. City, you know, just even moving neighborhoods or We just, we always say we were kind of like the, you get settled and then we'd kind of go somewhere else. And we just, we just enjoyed, like, this life has kind of our kids were little, but that was also brought on a big Okay. Where do you find your community and really, where do you anchor you know, and, and, and we lived for a number of years, at And so we didn't really have a lot of the family support. So as we were raising, learning how to be married, but also was very lonely, I think, in terms of like, feeling like These roles and the moving and all those things were how different we already were and what we thought about how how our job should look like, or even really the traditional Right. Like we, we kind of were navigating a lot of that. So yeah. So I think, I think that, you know, as I look back Trying to figure out what we were doing, but And wherever we moved, you know, was always really a challenge, depend on each other, which I think was really really kinda

Cassandra:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, when we, when I met you 10, maybe 10 years

Angela:

I think so. That sounds right. maybe like 2010, somewhere around, got

Cassandra:

10 years. That's crazy. When I met you you were doing strengths coaching and you were Were you teaching at that time, you really were taking early,

Angela:

Yeah. I always joke that I don't feel like I had, like I had one That's where that I think the isolation or feeling Right. Would teach adjunct for bypass adjunct for, I think about 15 at the college level and I did part-time, you know, But my full time job then was being home with our girls. And then we joked David and I would high five in the driveway. Right. So if I had a coaching opportunity or a teaching And as soon as he pulled up in the drive and started Of course. Right. So then I go work and then he's home and three to But but yeah, I never felt like I really did anything My primary job really was being at home and then finding opportunities. Right.

Cassandra:

So you were still at home and then what

Angela:

Yeah. So I want to say about Kubrick working full time until about And so, as we kind of like, as our kids got older, we started like, You know, they're getting a little bit more independent. There's a little bit more freedom and, and what we can So I think as his work kind of started to wind down a into really dreaming about things that I wanted to do. And so yeah, it was, maybe it was right when I So maybe 39, 40. I took a full time faculty role at a university and yeah. I place that again. I had been teaching for 15 years part-time so that was really the consulting and the strengths is all part of building into And so as we kind of naturally made the shift, I think when it gave him some space to really think about what it And so Super cool thing. He knew that being able to go do a culinary degree program at a just being able to kind of dream a little bit more about what he And I think you talked about in the beginning, in my, you of things that I felt like I was really excited, these And then that kind of beautiful, but lonely stretch, right. Of having kids and kind of raising the kids and doing work And then now really anchoring in this idea of And now my career is actually just starting. And so it feels like a very non-traditional path, Turn it is has been a really interesting, I guess, like to how we're raising our family and how we're navigating both of the ideal of really wanting to be consistent and like

Cassandra:

Hmm, like rewritten the narrative of the norms more so really found a rhythm that works for your family. So not worrying so much about what people will think, but each of you operate kind of leaning towards what you're different, created this unified relationship that allows each Would you say that. What's happened.

Angela:

Yeah, I think so. I think so for sure. I think that you know, I look at, I look at the strength Like you were talking about communication. I think that has opened the door for us to communicate and I just feel like it, I love what you said about I think that is to me, like I'm in a, hold on. So you said that because it had such a beautiful description even in our early forties, mid forties to kind of say like, is Are we really in spaces that we feel like this is our So I think the willingness. To kind of like take those risks and make those changes. And I know it sounds like such a simple thing, but really like So like our, our greatest areas of like passion and what our I think I don't know, it's been really fun, but I think He and I about like, how, how. I see, I don't know what the right word would be. I think it would be a lack of joy and a lack of like passion, doing what we were doing five years ago or 10 years ago, and And so the risk of like making those changes and kind of Like, you know, we don't have. Millions of dollars in fancy cars. You know what I mean? So there's a cost of, of, of taking those turns and But at the same time, like there's such a fulfillment, I've supporting each other and we each can have these moments. I've I don't know, like who's going to have responsibility also who's going to have permission to really lean their area of passion with what they want to do with Does that make sense a little bit?

Cassandra:

It does make sense. I am interested in what, how those conversations came up. I know, obviously you'd already been married for So it is a little different than maybe if somebody is listening the early years of marriage that are just their own, they really But can you unpack some of those conversations with you were asking yourselves to get to where you are?

Angela:

Y. Yeah, I think Y I think probably the biggest question and I'm hoping this will make sense, but if we can look Kind of society roles that we have for like the male and the wife, like this is what you're supposed to do, and this Like the, the biggest conversation we've ever had outside of those expectations and if we're going to be okay So when we go to buy or lease a car, like I'll sit So I will be the negotiator, even though the you know, look at David because he's a male and that he'll say, And we'll be halfway through the conversation. And then David will say, want me to take the kids? And you can go ahead and finish with her because I'm the one Right? So is that okay for us to do that? Right? Like, is it okay for him to really lead into the idea that And so I think our traditional gender roles, with us was are, is there permission for us to really. Kind of rewrite what we think this should look And I think and that's been really healthy for our kids too. It's been really healthy for our girls to grow up that maybe somebody thinks, well, mom should do that. You know? And so I think that that has been very empowering. I think even for me and our relationship to really like can do, but also empowering for him too, to feel like And. I don't know, in the parenting roles with our Maybe somebody wouldn't think a dad would do. You know, I don't know. I think rewriting those gender narratives, I think, has been That's why the biggest conversation for us that has are right now, you know, we're still figuring it out for sure. But that was it. That was a big conversation for us is trying to figure families, the hierarchy and the structure looks different

Cassandra:

Yeah. I think that's so, it's so great that you feeling safe in safe in your conversations that you've gotten to a place We're good with where we're at. And we're moving forward. We're each moving forward in our own ways and And I think honestly, it's a B it's beautiful because It doesn't matter to you if David's picking them You know, whatever event they're going to instead of

Angela:

mom and yeah. And so then I think, and I think this idea of taking So when the kids were little, like I always was, you know, the room, you know, helping out with the room, mom, But it's been really, really cool to see now where, You know, like I'm not the one who's doing the, And so I think and it's really, I think, healthy for our girls dad is really intentional with doing some of those things And so I think, but again, that has created his willingness forward and Kind of really now being more primary and what our But, but there, the idea of us, I kind of, like I said, the of like these roles shifting, I guess it's just more being we're taking in parenting and you know, who's going to I don't know. There's not really like a blueprint for it, but, but it's been really cool lately though, to see how much. Involved and invested in so many different parenting do some other things like, you know, work-wise or creatively. So, and again, I think that our strengths line Allows us to kind of talk about what brings us joy and how do we

Cassandra:

And then David can draw-up the plan for What advice do you have for people that are facing just feel like they're too old or not that I think you're old, Or, you know, there, there are some cultural norms that are have some sort of limiting belief about what's going on. Right. What advice do you have for them and how could they know

Angela:

Yeah, that's a really good question. I think I think looking at like what really brings you joy and going to be really honest, like, I'll be really honest with you. I think it, I think it also comes down to the fact of. Like he, and I even talked about the fact that like, moment of time where we were both working full time. I can be like a six month period. Right. Because the kids were in school long enough, we And I'm like, oh, this is what this feels like. This is amazing. Right. And it just didn't. Trust where he, you know, it w it made more sense for me moment and for him to take a little bit of a step back. So we really were able to like, be at the drop-off and the work for us to both do it at the same time, long term. And so I think that the honest conversation for ball I would if someone's really willing to say, are you willing to. Have, you know, the one current, instead of two, are you Are you like, those were sacrifices that we knew We live in Southern California. We're not going to buy a house right now. Like we're just not going to do that. But, but for us, the value. Of our time and the value of really what we wanted Like, do we really have joy in what we're doing with work that we're doing or how restructuring our family? So I think the honest conversation. You know, being able to say like, this is what you're to risk some of the stability or I mean, being responsible Like, is it, well, are you willing then to say like, Hey, down on financially then because it's going to work for us. And I think we've had greater joy being in areas We're passionate about our jobs. We love being available, our kids. But knowing like the compromise of that is that we're not gonna. We'll have these great big full-time jobs and That's not, that's not always the case for everyone, but to say, we choose joy and we choose kind of what And that, that was, that was kind of worth that idea risk and pivot and, you know, make a career change. If you need to do that or, you know, decide what's really

Cassandra:

So, what I hear you saying is really it's about So that could, it could be monetary. It could be time. It could be, whatever it is is, is the joy worth the cost. And for you, it is, and it might not be for everybody. It might be worth you saying owning a home is a Full-time in a job that isn't the best job but Then you have to kind of balance that is that. Are you putting a timeline on it or a goal on it or. Sticking it out thing, you know, like, okay, once I have then I'm going to get the house and I'll move on. So yeah. Yeah. And

Angela:

there's no, yeah, totally. And there's no, and like I said, there's no judgment for I think that was just the choice that we made and especially Like Southern California is a really. Task where we're on the border of orange county and LA county. So this is a tough place to live if you don't have two But but again, that was like, as you were asking the question I think we both had to be on the same page with that. And because we were both on the same page, it made and I will tell you it's pretty good. It's pretty incredible to see someone in their mid forties. Like I look at David and go, he's going to make And I'm so proud of him for doing that because I don't always take the risk and take the time to do that. But I, I don't know. I just feel like I that's, that's what I wanted to encouragement and permission to say like, oh my gosh, what And I don't know. And I just think that has brought us so I dunno, kind of sticking maybe with wherever you're at and it I don't know that that would have been as fulfilling.

Cassandra:

That's so good. That's so good. I think that's the perfect place to wrap up because We're doing it to support each other. And you already, you felt like you, you did that. Like you're in a place where you can kind of It's just, it's all balancing out and it doesn't look like. The way that we would expect it to look and that's okay, because So I am so proud of you and I'm so happy for you and David. Yeah. Following your journey. Thank you for sharing the intimate details. Thank you. Well, I love you and I appreciate you and thank On Needed and known. We talk a lot about knowing yourself and I think knowing to that big picture of who you are for the longest time. I thought I was a Debbie downer and my husband One of my strengths is deliberation, which And my husband is a maximizer who focuses on making everything into our strengths and being aware of the downsides of them. We've been able to make the most of our relationship. If you're interested in knowing more about your. Or in getting coached by Angela and David visit Or check the show notes for how to connect with them Bye.

Who is Angela?
What are Strengths?
Reviewing Strengths as a Couple
Practical Application of Strengths
Sticking together
Strengths to Balance Career and Family Life
Mid-Life Role Change
Rewriting the Narrative
Communicate about the expectations and giving permission
Being Flexible
Advice for the Dissatisfied