More often than not, couples will meet prior to the “love at first sight glance” – as is the case with Tommy and Maryanne Elliott.
After working right next to each other for years, never sharing more than an occasional parking spot, the two went separate ways, only to meet at a chance encounter later down the road and finally start their lives together – in tandem.
The couple, who both lead busy lives, realize the importance of finding ways to mesh their schedules and keep their paths aligned.
How did you meet?
“We were both bankers at National City, which at the time was First National,” Maryanne said.
“So that was the first time “¦ well,” Maryanne paused and glanced over at her husband.
“Did our eyes meet, Tommy?”, Maryanne asked with a laugh.
Actually no, they didn’t. At the time Tommy and Maryanne Elliott were mere business associates.
“We both just so happened to work together but our paths went very different directions,” Tommy said.
Tommy, who is from Elizabethtown, and Maryanne, from Louisville, were reacquainted at a mutual friend’s Christmas party 13 years later in 2003. This time their paths crossed and have been intertwined ever since.
“We ended up dating for two years after that and actually had our wedding reception at the home where we met again,” Tommy recalled.
How did he propose?
“We went to Rome to visit our friend, Father Nick Rice who was studying at The Vatican with American University, so we went to see him and just decided right then and there and became official,” Maryanne said. “We were married six weeks later.”
“Was it that quick?” Tommy asked.
“Yes, we went in October and our anniversary is in December,” Maryanne confirmed. “I like short engagements.”
“So it was pretty quick. Being the second time around there was no need to waste any time,” Tommy said.
“I think any time really you should just decide and do it, if you give yourself this big long window there is more room for drama,” Maryanne said.
How do you make it work on a day-to-day basis?
“We are supportive of each other’s different endeavors,” the couple agreed.
Maryanne’s company, Priority Management, works with leaders through one-on-one coaching to develop strategies for productivity. Currently, she is in the process of becoming a certified leadership/executive coach through Georgetown University.
“It’s one week a month for eight months that I’m in D.C., so that’s been a challenge, but Tommy has been very supportive of that,” Maryanne said.
“It’s a fair balancing act,” Tommy said., “Looking at it all more from the aspect of where does family, church and other community and civic involvement come about, and how do you balance all that? And probably as much as anything is how they all intertwine. What helps us balance it – is that it does intertwine.”
“Everything seems, for us, to overlap,” Maryanne added.
“The relationships we have, whether through my work or Tommy’s or the nonprofit organizations we are involved in, we just really enjoy having those – many of which have formed into friendships,” Maryanne said.
Do you have a system for dividing up household chores?
“My answer for that is if I can get to it fast enough that is how we divide it up,” Maryanne answered instantly. “He is so fast. I have to literally chase him down the driveway to take the trash out.”
“Now if there is a project, then we will usually determine our different tasks,” Tommy added. “If Maryanne wants to bring something in the house, a new piece of furniture, etc., then something else has to go. It helps us not become overwhelmed. But in general, the day-to-day chores flow well.”
This is the part of the interview that usually sparks plenty of gripes, but the Elliotts seem to have it down to a science, their emphasis on simplicity and understanding has transferred over into household work. After a minute of reaching for some minute chore to disagree on, I thought Tommy found it.
“I do the yard work!” he said.
“Oh yes! And I admire it when it’s all done,” Maryanne proudly announced.
“I just don’t feel like it’s work. He is my best friend. There is definitely effort in our marriage but not work,” Maryanne said as she smiled at Tommy.
Where do you like to go when you’re out “˜n’ about?
“We love ethnic cuisine,” Tommy said.
“Generally we like Louisville original places, Cafe Classico, Avalon, Ramsi’s, Simply Thai -, especially in the summer when we can sit outside,” Maryanne said.
Is there anything you always do as a couple?
“We work out together,” Tommy said.
“Except I can’t get him to do Bikram Yoga with me,” Maryanne added. “He says 90 minutes is too long, but I say it’s because he can’t be without his phone for that 90 minutes.”
“The equipment in the basement with the television works just fine for me,” Tommy said.
In all seriousness Tommy added, “It is also our time to talk. When we are running together or working out it gives us some time to converse.”
What advice would you offer to couples who desire to walk together through life in tandem?
Tommy’s answer was simple: “Be flexible.”
Maryanne agreed wholeheartedly.
“I would say that is probably, for many, a learned trait – at least it was for me,” Tommy said. “For us, we’ve got kids going different ways for college, high school you name it.”
The couple have a blended family of four girls. Two from Tommy and two from Maryanne. So carpooling duties aren’t quite over.
“Maryanne started this morning with a board meeting, and I’ll end today with one so many times we have to say to each other, “˜OK at what point today do we intend on crossing paths?” Tommy said.
“Between my work taking me all over the cities to different clients and now with me being in D.C., I think that the feeling like you have your best friend makes it easier to want to be together and balance everything out,” Maryanne added.
Dec. 11, 2005
A blended family of four girls: Catherine (22), Claire (21) and twin girls Catherine and Emily (12).
Tommy is senior vice president of Old National Bank. Maryanne runs Priority Management, a consulting firm.
Cats or Cards?
“I would say Cards “¦ for me,” Maryanne said turning to Tommy for confirmation. Not to mention a sly grin.
Maryanne earned her MBA from the University of Louisville while Tommy attended the University of Kentucky.
“That would be fair,” Tommy said, only half returning her grin. “If one is playing each other we will cheer for the Cards.”
Category: In Tandem
About the Author (Author Profile)
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.