Picture this: The year is 2008 and I’m at a crossroads of momentous events in my life. I’m halfway through the Florida Bar Exam and, safely tucked away in my backpack nearby is a diamond from my great-aunt that I had sent cross-country to Michael B. to have set into an engagement ring for my future wife, Marlo. After the exam, I’m excited to sweep her away to my uncle’s scenic house in Dillon, Colorado to pop the question—but first, I’ve got to finish this test. My computer dies…
May is always a big month in the Moody home with Mother’s Day followed by Marlo’s birthday. We dedicate May to celebrating a very special mother and wife who is the heartbeat of our family. This year looked a lot different in light of current events, but we did not fail to shower her with fun celebrations, love, and affection. Watching Marlo in action over the last few months has only solidified my understanding of just how important she is to the success of our family and the business. She balances a ton of responsibilities and can now add homeschooling to her long list of talents. It’s a common misconception that being a stay-at-home mom is easy, but I can assure you that it’s the hardest job in the world and every day presents its own set of new challenges.
One of the most important success factors in a marriage is the desire to support each other. In 2019, I was working the quintessential dream job for any emerging attorney at my stage in the game. I was making six figures as a rising star at a prestigious firm, involved in big, noteworthy cases. I also felt like I was walking a very dangerous line on the edge of a life-threatening health crisis.
The truth is, the glamour of a legal career is not always what it seems. What they don’t tell you is that you can essentially expect to be working unsustainable hours on high volume cases with no time off, and no sympathy for needing a breather. One day, I came home from the office after another 3 a.m. – 12 a.m. stint and I told Marlo that, if I keep doing this, I’m scared I’m going to have a heart attack.
I had anticipated that her logical reaction would be to push back, but instead, she said I’m glad you feel this way. What’s next? We’ve all heard the cliche quote about how behind every a great man is a great woman, but in the Moody family, she’s standing next to me not behind me. She acknowledged the stress of my overwhelming workload and was prepared to walk away, side by side with me, from the vision of “having it made.” Marlo gave me the strength and confidence, along with her blessing, to start my own firm and take the risk. And the rest is history.
When I first met Marlo, I knew she was so much different than anyone else I’d ever met. Her maturity that came from the difficult experience of her mother’s passing at a young age made her stand out from other young women our age. Her goal was to grow up to become “a funny old lady,” and that’s how she introduced herself to me when I was a sophomore in college at Florida State University.
We met in a coffee shop and, at first, she wouldn’t pay me any attention. But like any good love story, I was persistent. She finally agreed to join me for dinner and then I waited a week to call her after that first date (which wasn’t my best move, but you have to create the anticipation!). After graduation, we moved to Atlanta where she worked as a very successful event planner at Eagles Landing Country Club and I worked in investment banking. Sensing that an economic crash was imminent, I applied for law school, graduating with perfect timing to help businesses emerge from the 2008 financial crisis.
A pencil, a hot air balloon, and an email faux pas
When my computer crashed during the Florida Bar Exam, I had to start the test over with a pencil. It’s interesting how when you’re faced with an extremely difficult situation, you’re forced to find a way, and that’s what happened during the bar exam. Spoiler alert: I passed.
We flew from Tampa to Colorado after the bar to the getaway home that belonged to my uncle, nestled in the mountains next to a river. It was the middle of summer and I had planned to propose on a hot air balloon ride followed by champagne breakfast. I knew Marlo might be anticipating this occasion was coming soon, given that we had been together for seven years at this point. What I did not know was that Marlo knew exactly what was coming because I had accidentally sent the Grand Plan email that was intended to go to her sister, to Marlo’s email by mistake! In all her grace and understanding, Marlo did not ruin my surprise by telling me this until after the big day. Another spoiler: She said yes.
As I look back on these memories, I can easily recall the stress of this time of my life – between studying for the bar, taking the bar, and then proposing to the woman of my dreams – but when you have a partner like Marlo in your corner, you feel like you can do anything.
Our differences complement each other in the best way possible. Although she doesn’t always understand what I do on an academic level, she’ll occasionally read a brief I’m working on with a glass of wine in hand to confirm that it makes sense. And even when her eyes get crossed from the sometimes boring content she’s reading, she’ll take the task on with verve to ensure that what I’m working on is readable, enjoyable, and convincing when it arrives on the judge’s desk.
Experiencing such a dark time in our world history is a powerful reminder of how much I love my wife and how blessed we are. When I wake up to see Marlo and our two children, my decision to walk away from the success of a future at a large firm is reinforced. Her unconditional love and support have truly been a rock that’s run parallel to my career and the unique challenges that I’ve faced along the way. I have Marlo Moody to thank for every success in my life, but winning her love was my greatest accomplishment.