An exclusive interview with 'Bravo TV's" The Bramwells by Myesha Hossain
Do you recognize the feeling of knowing how someone is based on their demeanor? That was how I felt when I began my interview with The Bramwells. Their glowing and radiant presence already signaled their deep and respectful love and connection with each other. Richard and Karen Bramwell, father and mother to five children (their oldest being 26 years old!), look as if they are drinking from the fountain of love, preserving their youthful looks well into adulthood.
As interviewees, Richard and Karen harmoniously flowed with one another, their response to each question only built on each other’s former responses.
What is a good marriage like?
The Bramwell’s listed the main ingredients for a long-lasting marriage as God, compromise, and communication. Karen describes communication as being the most important piece to building a relationship with your spouse. The tone is important as well as knowing your intention - are you communicating to understand or to debate? Karen provides an example of what flat, rigid, and closed off communication sounds like: “It means if I feel a certain way - for instance, if one of us is not having a good day and the other asks ‘what’s the matter’ and you say ‘nothing’, that’s not communication. Leave no room assumptions.”
Richard only adds on to her definition of communication by saying, “Talk to me and not at me. Or you will throw me into defense mode if you talk at me.” Healthy communication is key to keeping yourself motivated in the active pursuit of your partner. That means you will continue to want to impress and explore with them, have physical chemistry, and connect in a deeply emotional, and spiritual way. The Bramwell’s share some of the ways they keep that novelty aspect going during a lifelong marriage. Even though they knew each other from elementary school and years up until the eighth grade, their dating years began after meeting at a school reunion 20 years later. Despite reconnecting after such a long time, The Bramwells have been married for just as long, with a continued vitality. Richard explains how they keep their relationship novel by being sexy, spontaneous, and actively dating. “She’s more spontaneous than me,” Richard explains, “Karen will call me out of the blue and tell me we are going away next weekend...She’s my wife, girlfriend, mistress, nurse, chef, and even my mother! There are a lot of roles and ways to keep it fresh.”
Power Couples in Business
Being entrepreneurs themselves, The Bramwells have had their relationship tested several times as they pursued their business endeavors. It can be easy for one partner to fall into the trap of managing never-ending daily operations and getting into the workflow that can take away from the time invested in the home. It isn’t necessarily neglecting but it means family dinners may loop back to discussing business, plans may be moved around too often to accommodate the work schedule, late nights in the office, and from forming partnerships may take away from tucking the kids in at night. Even the best spouses need help reframing what not to lose sight of. Karen goes into some of the ways couples can remain resilient in the face of rapid changes from different areas of their lives. “There is something positive in everything no matter how negative it may seem. If you understand that instead of getting consumed by what the temporary loss means for face value, then behind every mess, there is a message. He [Richard] can get upset with the business deals that didn’t follow through but then something better will happen. Not everything is for you, let some doors close so others can open.”
There are stages where a partner can forget the day to day maintenance of the relationship and family in sight of a bigger goal. Karen provides an example of her husband not always calling back as soon as possible, letting the minutes from the last missed call become hours. “What seems important at the moment might not be if you lost who you love,” Karen says. With COVID-19 changing the way various institutions operate, Richard adds on to how it can be even more difficult to separate work from personal life. “COVID brought business into the house. You have no choice but to do everything together.” Both attested to how having a four-year-old son helps since he does not cater to his needs around the typical workday. Karen does not take away from the necessary sacrifices that need to be made for a successful business, however, she distinguishes between the hour that could sometimes benefit the family more than the growth of the business.
The Bramwells touch upon another concept, critical for maintaining the livelihood of a marriage. You have to become one, seeing each other together as being complete, and not breaking away from that wholeness. Karen explains that if one of them has a rough day it is up to the other person having a good day to pick the other up, she believes this dynamic has been designed by a higher force (God). If the wife feels estranged from the excitement her husband gets from his business pursuits for too long, it can harm the relationship more than his business. No one wants to be with someone too intimidated by their success to the point the partner demands for such entrepreneur advancements to be stopped. Instead of seeing each other as separate, Richard emphasizes the importance of being one, “When she goes out and makes a great deal, it’s a score for us. There is no competition between us, we are a team, I can’t compete with myself!” For the intimidated partner. Karen draws from her own life with Richard and says, “It starts with the mentality of the individual. If my husband flourishes, we flourish, we are one!”
The Bramwells have a comprehensive service real estate business. They own a few firms, including non-property management, development, and a broker. Karen sells houses and manages several clients to close deals while Richard runs the property management shield. They support their clients with every aspect of buying a home, such as finding and maintaining one, procuring construction workers for it, etc. Developing a business is a learning experience. Both outline some of the key starting points that can promote the longevity of a business. Richard highlights the importance of maintaining the business aspect of a business, even if you are a plumber. “Some people have great skills but make bad business decisions, leading to low success. Make sure your accounting and corporate books are in order, and have a budget,” he advises. Karen explains that people need to understand that there will be trial and error, the business might not be what you dreamed of but it’s okay to start over. “It’s either a lesson or a blessing,” she says.
As married entrepreneurs, the Bramwells do not shy away from being honest about how much time and effort goes into creating and sustaining a business. When asked what their thoughts are on people who want to get married after their business, both agreed that having a business is a marriage in itself, since you have to operate so many departments. “It is a good idea to get married afterward. If you are going into a committed relationship, you want to be financially stable. You don’t want to rush and think you didn’t travel or live your life,” Mrs. Bramwell explains. “Find yourself before you commit to a marriage. Become stable and established.”
As they embrace change gracefully, The Bramwells have served as exemplars for practicing gratitude and optimism. Their guest presence on the show Below Deck Mediterranean captured just how natural they are, even on television. The show consists of nine crew members who provide hospitality for their guests on a 150-foot yacht. Besides getting acclimated to having to be camera-ready upon their arrival, the Bramwells expressed their behaviors were very natural and unstaged. The other couples who aired on the episode were lifelong friends of The Bramwells, making it easier to act with ease.
The feedback Richard and Karen received from their audience was surprising - they were shocked that people liked them for who they were. However, it isn’t that surprising since the Bramwells radiate positivity and confidence. Fans and followers recognized those traits immediately and were thrilled for the couple being on air.
Richard mentioned that not every experience was the best but they could see the crew was doing their best to serve everyone, which is what made the experience all that great. “Even when dinner was not that good, we said the food was the best because we loved the service,” Richard explains. For them, the intention and effort are vital for the experience and they greatly appreciated the lengths the crew went to make them and their friends feel at home. “The crew could have been anything, but positivity made the crew act towards us in a certain way,” Richard acknowledged, drawing attention to the importance our attitude plays for receiving a specific type of treatment. The Bramwell's spread positivity, knowing what you put out, you receive tenfold. Their love and drive to understand each other has kept a passion alive that benefits them in every aspect of their lives.
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