Staying True to YOU: With Molly & Javi

Interview and article written and researched by: Diana Coulter - 5 minute read


Autonomy... what is it?

Free from control and external influence, autonomy is continual immersive practice of getting to know yourself. And before we can fully give ourselves to others, we need to know who we are and what we stand for. 

Research let's us know that "Becoming an authentic adult is an intricate process of balancing autonomy and connectedness, and much in our lives compels us to avoid the challenge. But a new road map not only defines the skills, it's also a blueprint for putting passion back in relationships." (Weintraub, 2012).


Why autonomy insists we form healthy relationships

Through an interview Weintraub conducted with David Schnarch in an article called HOW TO GROW UP, she concluded that autonomy and interdependence affects relationships in the following way:

  • Getting to know ourselves-- the good, the bad, and the ugly-- is a process of becoming an adult. When we can speak our mind, stand up for our beliefs and values uninhibited, and pursue our dreams and goals, we leave room for our partners to do the same-- creating intimacy and interdependence.

  • If you can stand your ground with your partner ("even when your principles are pressured"), you can do it anywhere-- creating confidence and security within oneself. Interdependence (autonomy) fuels a passionate marriage, creativity, and work.

  • Don't ask for self approval. Seek it in yourself, create a practice of it, and continue to respect your own thoughts and feelings. This allows your partner to do the same.

  • To keep "your marriage intact, [...] you have to learn to soothe your own discomfort, regulate your own emotions, and pursue your own goals. [To] stop being a drain on your partner and to handle problems on your own.

  • All practices of emotionally resiliency, the elements of maturity, or the Four Points of Balance can be categorized in the following ways:

    • "operating according to deeply held personal values and goals even when pressured to abandon them."

    • "handling one's own inner emotional life and dealing with anxiety and emotional bruises without needing to turn to a partner for help."

    • "not overreacting to—but still facing—difficult people and situations."

    • "forbearance and perseverance in the face of failure and disappointment to accomplish one's goals."


What autonomy looks like IRL relationships

When I think of truly healthy couples, most of the couples I admire happen to be autonomous. They are fully committed to each other, and also give themselves time to commit to their own goals, dreams, and life ideals. They have other support systems beyond each other, and fight fair. 

A couple that I believe will really stand the test of time is Molly & Javi. And I can't wait for you to get to know them. 


How they met

We met in seventh grade science class. I just sat down one day next to Javier and we both introduced ourselves. After that we became really good friends. If I'm going to be honest here I had a huge crush on him in junior high but we were only friends (and kids). We remained friends throughout high school but kind of fell out of touch in college. One day at a mutual friend's BBQ we saw each other and then hit it off. It finally felt like what was perfect timing and everything just fell into place.


How they describe "Mavi"

imperfect, understanding, selfless


What they love doing together

Traveling, trying new things, watching movies and then talking about them after, eating at new restaurants, just being in each other's company


Their biggest hurdle so far

The difference in schedules after college. I started a full time job and Javi started medical school that demands almost all of his time studying, researching and attending classes.


On overcoming hurdles

First, we both have had to learn flexibility. I had to learn to be flexible with his schedule and understand that he is living out his dreams. But luckily, we both are. 



Finding balance and seeking support

We both have read The Five Love Languages (by Gary Chapman), so this has helped us to see what each other's love language is and how we can respond to them. I also read a book about his schooling and what it was like dating someone in medical school. A few things that have helped is first communicating. That is 100% the most important when we have a conflict or go through hard times. Honestly, more times I find that after just simply having a conversation about not seeing each other or missing each other I'll feel much better than holding it in. It gets pretty lonely not talking about your feelings to someone you share everything with. We also make time for each other. For example: when he studies, I will grade papers or read. Or for Valentines this year, we had a dinner at Chipotle near his campus :). We also took advantage of our holiday breaks.


Separate, and together

Living out our separate dreams, and still growing together. We both have separate career paths that we'll finish on our own, but we still talk about what life looks like together.


Why autonomy is important to them

In order to keep our relationship healthy, it’s really important to have a healthy and loving relationship with YOURSELF. This is how we both feel when it comes to autonomy in our relationship. I have learned that it's okay that we don't do everything together. We need to have our own independent time to do things we have to do for our own happiness. Javi is an introvert and I am an extrovert. It’s important to understand that as people we all have different aspects that fulfill us besides our romantic relationships. For example: spending time with our friends, our individual work lives, different hobbies, spending time with our families. 


Best advice they've received about love

Like my good friend Joey once said, "It is a love based of giving and receiving as well as having and sharing. And the love that they give and have is shared and received. And through this having and giving and sharing and receiving, we too can share and love and have… and receive."

HAHA! I'm kidding! 

The best advice I've ever received about love is to keep your relationship between you and your partner. Work out your differences yourself. You may be able to forgive your significant other, but your friends and family might not be able to.

Getting in the water was unplanned, but once we all had the idea in our head, there was no going back. Inspired to take this shoot to new depths (hehe, get it?), I've found that shooting uninhibited and and beyond boundaries make for the best experience.


If you want to hear more from me about living in the depths of life, or want to create magic together, click one of the buttons below




Works Cited

WEINTRAUB, PAMELA. Psychology Today. May/Jun2012, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p78-85. 8p.

Diana CoulterComment