Finding romance while caring for others.
By Austin Holt
Those in the chiropractic profession are likely familiar with the story of Bartlett Joshua “B.J.” Palmer, D.C., and his wife, Mabel Palmer, D.C. And as most people in chiropractic circles are already aware, B.J. was the son of D.D. Palmer, D.C., who founded Chiropractic in the last days of the 19th century.
By the time the elder Palmer had truly discovered the importance and effectiveness of his new craft, he was determined to teach his son all he’d learned. And so, B.J. spent his days honing and fine-tuning his craft, eventually taking control of Palmer College, the school his father had founded.
It was during these formative days that B.J. met a woman named Mabel Heath. The two quickly fell in love, and together they practiced and taught Chiropractic at the school. Their appreciation for Vitalism was profound, too; in addition to raising their son to follow the chiropractic path, they spent the majority of their four-decades-plus marriage traveling the world and appreciating the wonders it had to offer.
But in many senses, their story isn’t an uncommon one. Relationships rooted in Chiropractic, in the vitalistic philosophy, have united many couples in the last century. For some, the relationship is forged atop an already existing appreciation of the chiropractic art—a man and a woman growing up in separate chiropractic households following their parents’ footsteps. For others, discovery of Chiropractic has been much more recent. Perhaps, for instance, they experienced a simple, late-in-life adjustment resulting in an excitement that seeped into every aspect of life.
All in all, countless couples have cited Chiropractic as their common thread—the bond that brings them closer. In an effort to discover more about these relationships, TCL chatted with four such couples to find out how they met, how vitalism affects their lives and how Chiropractic unites them.
“I call it my ‘quarter-life crisis,’” Marjorie Butler says as she recalls her decision to become a chiropractor. “I was 25 and just wasn’t passionate about what I was doing with my life.
Like her parents, Marjorie had found a career in education—not a calling, but a job. She could see the passion her mother and father possessed for teaching, but it wasn’t something she shared, although she could never quite place her finger on the reason.
Finally, she approached her parents seeking advice about how to change her life. The next day, at her father’s suggestion, she had her first chiropractic visit. “It was that first experience that brought this feeling of hope,” she says. After a few weeks of being adjusted, I started seeing some real changes in my life. I was intrigued with the philosophy and I thought, ‘You know what? This is pretty cool. If someone can help me like this, I want to do the same for someone else.’”
Meanwhile her future husband, Bryan, was experiencing similar questions about the direction his life was headed. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Bryan worked in the corporate world as a communications director. It was a good job, but, as he’d eventually realize, it wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life.
Fast forward to 2009. Marjorie had begun her coursework at Life University in Marietta, Ga.; Bryan had taken an interest in her after being introduced by a mutual acquaintance. While never forcing her new passion on Bryan, Marjorie was nonetheless sharing her new interest. Even though Bryan had never been under chiropractic care in his life, he listened closely. “I didn’t know anything about Chiropractic until I met Marjorie,” he recounts. “I thought you went to see a chiropractor after you got into a car accident or hurt your back or something. After I met Marjorie, she slowly started planting seeds in me, but they really didn’t start to grow until the first time I visited a chiropractor.”
It was when surgery was recommended for a persistent, mysterious ankle pain that Bryan gave Chiropractic a try. He walked into the chiropractor’s office on crutches, and left without them. He was sold. Soon, Bryan realized the chiropractic profession was where he wanted to be.
Today, Bryan and Marjorie are married and finishing up their coursework. “It’s kind of fun to learn it together, because it’s something we can share, almost organically,” Marjorie says. “We’ve been growing together,” Bryan adds. “From how we take care of ourselves, to how we eat, to how we want to raise our family. It’s a really wonderful experience to get to do this together.”
As a pair of newly minted DCs, life for the Abbotts has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Greg and Miranda Abbott met at Life University in their first year. While their mutual interest in one another didn’t take hold immediately, Greg recalls there was some attraction early on.
“It was the first day of class in my first quarter,” he says. “She stood up to give an announcement. She caught my attention; from that point, I was intrigued by her. She was very different from most women I’d ever known, and I wanted to get to know her better.”
Luckily for Greg, that’s just the type of person Miranda is—as a student ambassador during her time at LIFE, she was always the first to meet and make new connections. But she says noticed something different about Greg after the two had gotten to know each other a little better.
“Our relationship grew from us just sitting down and having conversations, and him being able to open up and feel comfortable to be his silly self, that he doesn’t really let anyone see,” Miranda says. “That was kind of it for me.” And that’s where the “whirlwind” portion of their romance began. The young couple dated for seven months, became engaged for seven more months, and then got married.
“My dad asked me if I knew I was going to be doubling my debt,” Miranda recalls with a chuckle. “That was a big one. He said, ‘You do realize you’re doubling your debt by marrying another chiropractor.’ They were telling us that we should take it slow, but we knew there wasn’t going to be a magic amount of time. We knew we wanted this relationship to happen.”
Now, two years after first meeting, the couple is preparing to open their first practice in Appleton, Wis., and both say they couldn’t possibly be happier.
DCs Stephen and Barbara Kaiser-Frazee have been practicing in Marietta, Ga., since graduating in 1994 from LIFE, where they met. “Right after graduation,” Stephen says, “We started working together as associate DCs. After about three or four months, I opened my own practice, and soon afterward, so did Barbara.”
So with two practices in Cobb County, the couple began what would become two long and successful careers. Certainly, there were hard times; but they’d trained themselves to work through whatever they encountered together. “Going through such [rigorous] study as the DC program, you need positive people to help you get through those stressful times,” Stephen says. “We had so many great friends and classmates during our time at LIFE to rely on.”
And it’s this appreciation for Vitalism—not to mention Chiropractic—that the Kaiser-Frazees are attempting to pass along to their children, Jake, 8, and Matthew, 6. “They love it,” Stephen says of his sons’ attitudes toward Chiropractic. “They know what’s good for them; they’ll climb on the table and get checked. They’re also just fun to be around. Their energy is wonderful, and it’s a joy to have them in the office.”
Stephen adds that it’s always good to have kids in the office, because it keeps everyone else highly energized. “It’s part of the lifestyle for our whole family: trying to incorporate diet, nutrition, physical activity and positive mental attitude—all the aspects that go hand-in-hand with having a positive, healthy lifestyle,” Stephen continues. “The things we experienced and encountered at LIFE played a big role not only in our professional lives, but also in our home and family lifestyle.”
A couple of days before Christmas of 1987, Dean and Jen DePice had just moved into their tiny Philadelphia-area apartment. Their possessions were limited to some unpacked boxes, a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and the small amount of money they’d collected from friends and family at their wedding.
“Not too long after we moved there, we sort of started wondering, ‘What are we doing in Pennsylvania?’” Jen recalls. “We knew nobody; we had no family nearby; we’d just done our research and figured out that Philadelphia was a good place to start the practice that we’d dreamed up on our little napkins.”
The ‘little napkins’ were the scraps of paper upon which Jen and Dean had been plotting their ideal practice since they’d first met early on in Chiropractic school at LIFE. As often is the case with dreams, the manifestation of those sketches and notes didn’t come easily. But those dreams and aspirations were realized eventually as the ultimate result of a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Dean recalls those first years with fondness, and he tells of the success he and his wife experienced after all their work. “Within six years, we’d paid back our loans, bought a home, bought an office building—and that was after opening on a budget ?defined by credit card balances and leases,” he says. “But we worked. We really worked.”
But the achievements of this DC couple haven’t been built of just bricks and mortar. Dean and Jen both say they owe their success to something more—a deep connection with the community they called home more than 20 years ago. “We really became integral parts, servants, in this area,” Dean says. “When people needed checks for little league teams, or benefits or causes, they’d come to us and know we were there for them. It was very sweet to know all these wonderful people.” One senses it all stems from the same quality that brought them together in the first place, and what drives their family today—namely, the understanding of Vitalism they carry with them in everything they do. “I think if we were accountants, we’d practice accounting in a way that was very vitalistic, and we’d be very passionate about that,” Dean explains. “If we were investment bankers, we’d believe in the healthiest and most vitalistic approach to investments.”
According to Jen, the DePices chose the chiropractic lifestyle because they believe Chiropractic is a tool with which they can communicate their passion and philosophy. “We totally believe that patients come to us not only for chiropractic care, but for this philosophy of hope,” she explains. “And I think we could do that in any profession; but [Chiropractic] just happens to have the added benefit that we’re helping patients in their healing journey.”
For these couples and the hundreds like them, such journeys have created abundant health and happiness in their own lives that it spills over into the lives of their patients and communities.
Vitalistic Online Dating
There’s good reason so many couples involved in Chiropractic have such long, successful relationships. First of all, there’s the shared interest in the healing powers of the craft itself. But in many circumstances, something deeper exists: namely, a shared commitment to Vitalism and the passion it brings to every area of life. Many couples in this article have cited a vitalistic approach to love as one of the cornerstones of their lives, one reaching deeply into career, family and business.
As poets of ages past have often observed, however, sometimes nothing can be quite so tricky as love. But the age of technology brings with it new tools in matchmaking—websites like eHarmony and Match.com boast impressive success rates for those who have taken the leap into the world of online dating. If these are waters you’re considering testing yourself, here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for your vitalistic life partner:
A sense of humor is probably one of the first things that stands out about a potential partner. Even over the Internet, via email or instant messenger, a light-hearted, joking demeanor can make itself apparent fairly quickly.
And in the realm of online dating, it’s especially important. One of the building blocks of a budding relationship, whether it be through conversation or flirting, is eye contact or body language—qualities that don’t carry very well through text. So compensate by slipping in a little joke or witticism every now and then. Even if you come off a little corny, you’ll still get the point across that you know how to have a good time.
They say first impressions are worth everything. In your first correspondence with a potential e-suitor, and in subsequent correspondence, keep it conversational, but to the point. While there’s nothing wrong with detailed self-description and some honest, sincere questions, remember many people can gather what a person is about in only a paragraph or two. So in short, be concise, but be yourself.
In the age of electronic communication, so much of what we say is sloppy, rushed and abbreviated (e.g. messages like “C U 2morrow, grl!!”). When trying to win someone’s favor, it’s paramount to take some time with your grammar and punctuation. You wouldn’t speak in slang to someone you’re trying to impress, right? It works the same way online.
Dole out a few compliments here and there. Don’t go nuts with false praise or forced flirtation—that will show through in a New York minute, and can make you seem desperate and insincere. Rather, make your niceties pleasant, honest and genuine.
Sometimes, even though all the pieces are in place, the chemistry just isn’t there. If that’s the case, keep it cordial and respect each other’s time and effort. If you think there’s a chance of making something happen, good for you! If not, there’s no need to waste time—or worse, create a negative vibe.