Couples mix love and work

When couples commit to love everlasting, they promise to stand together through thick and thin, sickness and health, for richer or poorer. But who counted on working together? Here is how four couples say they manage to keep their relationship strong at home and in the office.

Life Teachers

Couple: T. J. Bueno and Chris Bloese

Years together: 17.

How they met: During the summer of 1994, at Colorado State University, when the couple worked together mentoring college-bound high school students. He was a resident hall director; she was a biology teacher.

Where they work: South Broward High School. Bueno is a biology teacher; Bloese teaches teens with developmental disabilities and coaches the school’s water polo and swim teams.

Biggest challenge: Both say they must make an extra effort to acknowledge their partner’s accomplishments. “Its easy to let everyone else say what a good job we do, but if we forget to tell each other it could be a bad, bad thing,” Bloese said.

Best advantage: Bueno chips in with the water polo and swim teams and both get to keep four eyes – instead of just two – on all their students. Eight years ago, when Bueno battled cancer, teachers and students helped support the couple emotionally and financially. “South Broward High School is the Love Boat,” Bueno said.

How they play: The couple and their two children, ages 6 and 7, hang out at the beach, play water polo together and grow vegetables in the family garden.

Secret to lasting love: “The ability to laugh at ourselves and each other,” Bloese said.

Doctors in the House

Couple: Drs. Carlos and Jennifer Romero.

Years together: 20.

Where they work: Romero Family Medicine, in Weston.

How they met: The doctors were second-year medical students at Nova Southeastern University when they met, but Dr. Carlos, who was also a Navy reservist, first admired Dr. Jennifer from afar when he saw her walking her dog at the apartment complex were they lived in North Miami Beach.

Biggest challenge: Deciding who will leave the office to pick up the couple’s three teenagers from school or after-school activities.

Best advantage: In medical school, the couple studied and went through rotations together. Later, they traveled throughout the United States while Dr. Carlos served on several Naval bases. In the family practice, the doctor duo have constant consulting privileges with each other.

How they play: They go to the movies (for him) and try new restaurants (for her). Both enjoy taking the family on nature vacations to national parks. When Dr. Carlos was in the Navy, stationed in Pensacola, the family visited Disney World at least 30 times.

Secret to lasting love: “Never be selfish,” Dr. Jennifer said.

Urban Farmers

Couple: Chelsea and Fred Marando.

Years together : Eight.

Where they work: They own Marando Farms in Fort Lauderdale, where they grow and sell herbs, vegetables and fruit – and run a general store and green market while raising a handful of farm animals and two children.

How they met: He was a drywall contractor and she sold construction fasteners in 2003 when they met on the job site at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood.

Biggest challenge: Recovering from financial disaster. The couple started the business literally from the ground up two years ago when the construction industry tanked, both lost their jobs and their home went into foreclosure.

Best advantage: “Being in business before helps. But now, business is much less stressful,” Fred Marando said.

How they play: They love being at the mini-farm, where earning a living and newfound hobbies mesh. They produce their own biodiesel, make soap and maintain three gardens via hydroponics, aquaponics and ground soil. “It’s a great big science project,” Chelsea Marando said.

Secret to lasting love: “Know what for better or worse really means. Sometimes you have to go through the worst to get to the better,” Chelsea Marando said.

May I have this dance?

Couple: Renato Penteado and Roma Sosenko.

Years together: Eight.

Where they work: Miami City Ballet.

How they met: During rehearsals for The Nutcracker. He, a principal dancer, asked her on a date. She, the principal ballet mistress in charge of teaching and rehearsing the ballet company, responded with an absolute “no.”

Biggest challenge: Separating work from relationship. “At first it was annoying that she would not have anything to do with me at work – unless she was telling me what I do wrong,” Penteado said. But Sosenko managed from the start to balance her love for dance and Penteado. “Work is dance. When we work, he is not my husband.”

Best advantage: Both are ultra-professional on the stage but away from the theater are intensely focused on family, which includes Cruiser, their golden retriever. “At the end of the day we fall into our home,” Sosenko said.

How they play: The couple chat about all sorts of things – except work – on the long ride home from Miami to Cooper City every day. They enjoy simple pleasures like bicycle riding, taking Cruiser for walks through the quiet neighborhood or shopping for new furniture.

Secret to lasting love: Sharing the simple things in life like bathing Cruiser, grocery shopping or painting the garage.


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