When Anita Met Travis & Other Tales

Last week marked our 19th Wedding Anniversary, and in true 2020 style, we were planning to spend it at home. And then we ditched that idea. 😉 Thank GOD we did!! We went to our favorite restaurant, Houston’s, and it was soooo nice to feel normal again. Our experience was wonderful, and I’d definitely recommend supporting your favorite local restaurant for a special occasion. It may have been a risk, but it was so great for our mental health and our relationship! 

Otherwise, we’ve been celebrating over the last few evenings with some of our favorite movies. I’ve said it before: the Yokotas LOVE a movie night, and the tradition goes way back. 

After being together for over 20 years, we have a collection of movies that feel more like a series of inside jokes. So many of them mirrored experiences in our lives that they have the kind of special nostalgia. Watching them is like being transported back to the times when we were dating—and even before that, when we were just friends who didn’t even know they were in love. 

Anita & Travis masked up on their anniversary!

The Wedding Singer

In fact, when Trav & I met back in graduate school, I hated love. I was SO convinced being single was cool that I even hosted an ANTI-Valentines day party for all my single friends. 😂  Of course Travis was invited. We were classmates in a small program of 47, where the girls outnumbered the guys 5 to 1. (Psychology, amiright?) 

We were always in the same classes, and we saw each other every day. But the first time we really talked was a week after he had ended a 4 year relationship. At some point, I noticed he looked kind of deflated, so I asked him what was going on. Being the introvert that he is, he deflected. Being the nosy extrovert I am, I pried. 

“Oh I know, you must be really tired from commuting…” I said. When he shrugged, I just kept guessing. He didn’t want to share any details—but I wouldn’t let it go! FINALLY he told me he just broken up with his girlfriend. I felt so mortified for asking. But hey, it was a pretty good icebreaker! 

Anita & Travis fresh-faced in their 20's

We became ‘break up buddies’ after that, and soon we were inseparable. We had so much fun back then. I remember we went to see The Wedding Singer and we both reveled in the “But it all was bullsh_t!” scene during Adam Sandler’s iconic song. We fell apart laughing and bonded so much in that moment. That scene will be forever etched in my mind, and always makes me think of the early days of our friendship.

When Harry Met Sally

The transition from best friends into a romantic couple wasn’t exactly what you’d call ‘smooth.’ In fact, Travis totally ghosted me—before ‘ghosting’ was even a thing! At a pivotal point in our graduate school experience, Travis dated someone else and disappeared on me for three long months without saying a word. It was like someone took my best friend away! 

The whole thing is very When Harry Met Sally. I tried to be super cavalier about it, but I felt totally rejected! Being apart showed us how much we loved being together. It was the catalyst for us finally entering into a romantic relationship. And when we finally started dating it was… the most natural thing in the world. 

Travis serenades Anita with a guitar on the couch

After years of friendship, we had such a strong foundation. We both knew all the other’s quirks and felt so at home with each other. We were together another 3 years before he proposed seaside in Laguna Beach. I will never forget how nervous Travis was!! We had brunch on the waterfront and he proposed on one knee with the custom ring he knew I wanted. And it was perfect. 

Office Space

Naturally, being two therapists, we undertook premarital counseling during our engagement. I’d HIGHLY recommend this to anyone considering marriage. It’s not fool-proof, but it’s a great start to establishing successful communication! Talking through your pain points before they’re a problem will set you up for strong conflict resolution when they show up in real time. 

After all, “conflict” isn’t a bad thing—it’s a natural part of being in a partnership. Over 20 years in a relationship, eventually, we’re going to disagree! And when Travis & I started working together last year, it revealed a whole different set of conflicts. So, we started going back to our original premarital counselor for tune ups. 

Anita & Travis Mid-project selfie

Our therapist really knows us, and she’s our biggest cheerleader. She loves seeing us build our business together, and with her help, we’re able to face challenges together as teammates. We’ve found many parallels between our marriage and our projects together. There will always be moments when we’re going to get tired and fussy—but we know that at the end of the day, it’s how we resolve these moments that counts. 

Looking back, we spent so much of our early career grinding toward our therapy licenses, which require 3,000 hours of client time. This meant more than our fair share of cubicle work in our 20s, and much like in Office Space, Travis has always loved working with his hands. And I love seeing him grow his confidence in his skills with every project! 

More than a Movie

Taking on a DIY is so much more than just a physical achievement. There’s a huge sense of emotional accomplishment that comes from using a power tool, or conquering a bathroom! Of course, there are plenty of challenges that come up, too. Our problem solving styles are so different: I want to plow forward through obstacles, but Travis likes to pause and double check everything. Learning to find the balance has been a new opportunity to grow together. 

Anita & Travis with tools celebrating a DIY

It really makes me think… our marriage has already seen so much evolution over the years! We’ve taken on three kids, two career changes, and one quarter life crisis. We both feel so lucky to be embarking on a totally new type of industry mid-career, especially jobs we both dreamed about! So celebrating this year was vitally important for us both. We made some big changes, and we did it together.

It’s exciting to see that we can still evolve. I think that’s what our favorite movies demonstrate: even when you feel stuck in a stale lifestyle, there’s always a resolution that takes you to where you’re supposed to be. And there’s so much farther to go! I’m excited for the next 20 years together, and all the dinner dates, DIYs, and family movie nights in between. 



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