William B. Trattler, MD, began his courtship of Jennifer Loh, MD, with a creative introduction, launching the duo into a personal and professional relationship in which they collaborate on research, projects, and articles. Although they don’t work in the same office, everything they do is influenced by both their love for ophthalmology and their love for each other.
How did you meet?
Jennifer Loh, MD: Bill and I met at the local Palm Beach Ophthalmology Society meeting, where Bill was giving a lecture. At the meeting, I was being introduced as a new member since I had just recently moved to the area. As I was mingling with new colleagues, Bill came up to me and said, “I heard you were telling people I was a terrible speaker.” Having never met him before, I was horrified and embarrassed that a false rumor like that was spreading! Of course, he was joking, but I completely fell for it. After that creative introduction, Bill and I started working on several research projects together and ultimately married (Figure 1).
Did you have any reservations about working together?
Jen: We actually do not work in the same practice or office. However, we are constantly collaborating on research, projects, and articles. And, of course, we travel to most of the ophthalmology conferences together (Figure 2). Our careers and our love for ophthalmology are major foundations of our relationship, and we feel really lucky that we can do this with each other every day. Since Bill is not only my husband but also my best friend, I love the fact that he truly understands all the ins and outs and ups and downs of my day. Who else would understand, or care, when I describe my challenging case with zonular weakness at the end of the day?
William B. Trattler, MD: During the entire day, we are in communication with each other about interesting cases, practice management, and new ideas.
How do you maintain balance with home obligations?
Jen: I have the world’s most patient and understanding spouse. He is truly supportive of my work and career and never hesitates to help out with home obligations, even if it means doing more than his fair share when needed.
Bill: With the same attitude of teamwork that we share in our field of ophthalmology, we strive to work together to complete what needs to be done and achieve our goals. While ophthalmology is a main focus of our day, we have worked on setting out time each day, and even some vacation time, to focus on family and each other.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a couple, and how do you overcome it?
Jen: I think that finding the time to do everything we would like to do, both personally and professionally, is the biggest challenge. Identifying what event or meeting we want to attend, and having to unfortunately say no to others, can be stressful. Bill and I are both people pleasers, and we are always trying to make sure that our family, friends, and colleagues know that they are a top priority.
The trick has been to know where to stop and how to make sure that we as a couple and as individuals are taken care of, too.
Bill: It is important sometimes to slow down and gauge the pulse of where we have been and where we want to go in order to focus our time more efficiently. Otherwise, you can quickly start overcommitting yourself to activities that aren’t on your list of top priorities and lose yourself (and your relationship) in the process.
What is the biggest reward?
Jen: The biggest reward is getting to share both a life and a career with a wonderful partner.