This week on Feature Friday we are diving into the soon-to-be #FutureForsyths, Scott and Carmen.
They’re just about to embark on the journey of marriage, all while keeping up an incredible work-life balance. Involved in the Hip Hop Dance community around the globe, these two have ambition and passion in spades, but they keep their feet firmly on the ground.
Along with an inspiring connection around faith, they’ve navigated grief, long distance, social media, and growing together–all while learning along the way.
They have a perspective that we, at The Relationship Project, think contains great lessons for us all. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
S: Scott Forsyth
C: Carmen De Los Santos
S: International Choreographer
C: Dance Instructor and Recent Grad in Health Studies
Length of Time You’ve Known Each Other
C: We don’t actually know
C: I think 6 or 7 years
Length of Time Together
S: Two years and 3 months – math on point!
Any Breaks or Break-Ups?
Not since we’ve been officially dating
Current Relationship Status
Engaged and super excited about it!
August 27th, 2017
C: We met through dance and we started seeing each other 2 summers before we started officially dating. I need some help with this story, babe.
S: I was just too good-looking.
S: I think it just wasn’t the right time initially and it took us not being in a relationship yet, focusing on ourselves, to come back together later on.
C: It took us a while to be together. It was challenging. He went away for a semester after one of those summers, too. So we spent a lot of time apart initially. 2 years might sound like a short time to be together, but we’ve been at it for a while, making it work. But now here we are, engaged and excited about it!
RP: Let’s start off nice and easy, what is the best thing about your relationship?
S: Hmmm…personally, I would say our faith. Being able to share my faith with someone who is on the same page. Being able to share the one part of my life that I treasure most and having that in somebody else. For me that’s the best part. I mean there’s not one particular best part about our relationship, everything is amazing. But something that’s crucial for me is being able to share something so intimate, that is like life or death for me, my faith, with someone else. Other things can come and go, but for me faith is the big one. Oh, and sense of humour. She thinks I’m funny. [laughs]
C: [laughing] I think I’m funny, too.
C: I would definitely say the same. In the beginning of our relationship we had to take some time apart and see if our values and faith positions aligned. Because, for both of us, putting God before each other is super important and we’re on the same page with that. That was something we had to figure out before, that’s what took us so long to be together. I also realized how important it was to have someone who I could share that part of my life with. Our relationship, in the beginning, had a rough start, but since we’ve had that understanding it’s been great.
RP: So what is your greatest relationship challenge?
S: I’m bad at communicating?
C: You’re not bad at communicating!
C: I think we’re still trying to figure that communication thing out. We don’t fight a lot, or ever to be honest, but misunderstandings come up. The times it does happen, like when I’m hurt by something he says or vice versa, we’re still working out how we each deal with it. Do you want space after something happens? Do you want to deal with it right away? What do you need from me? That’s definitely something that we’re working on.
RP: What is your go-to response during conflicts?
S: For me, it depends on the situation. If it’s something that’s happened to me that doesn’t involve Carmen, that’s when I need space to cool off and chill. But if it’s something that Carmen’s done, or directly involves her, I want to sort it out right away. If not, I just keep thinking about it and it becomes a snowball affect where it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and I get consumed by it and it’s all I think about. So the minute something happens, I like to deal with it right away and find a way to get through it.
C: I’m really sensitive, and I know that. I try to figure everything out in my head first, think about what I need from him and what I want to say. But half of the time I end up crying or act out of emotions. [laughs] I can’t help myself, it doesn’t matter what it is. That’s a big thing for me. I can get carried away and overthink sometimes, but I think that’s normal.
RP: Oh, you are not alone! Okay, next question. How do you manage travelling and time apart in your relationship? Has jealousy or insecurity been a part of that?
C: To be honest, no. It never has. I’ve always felt like I could trust Scott. The biggest thing is, I miss him. That’s it. Another good thing about our relationship is, we prioritize each other. We also understand that we need to do what we need to do, and that doesn’t make us less important. Like, when he has to go away and work for a whole month, I know he still loves me and he shows me that still. It’s not like I have to worry about where our relationship stands when he’s away.
S: Yep. Nailed it.
S: The toughest part is the travel. The work I do is tough on a lot of relationships and I’ve seen it a lot in the past, where they’ve crumbled. I think a big thing for us is that we knew what we were getting into. We saw it before hand what this lifestyle was. And some of the issues that have arisen in other couples like communication and trust, we knew we had to work on that. I’m just the luckiest guy on earth, like what other spouse would be okay with it? “Oh hey, I’m just going to be travelling the world and teaching in all these other countries and I won’t get to see you for a month?” No one else I know would understand that. And not only understand it but support it. She’s happy I’m doing these things. Whenever I get a big opportunity, it’s not like she’s saying , “Aww, I think you should just stay home, I miss you.” She’s proud of me, she encourages me to go, she keeps encouraging me to do more. She never holds me back at all and I think that calls me to come back more often. It’s a win-win. The more she let’s me go, the more that I come back in a sense. The more she supports me in travelling and being away, the more I want to come home and spend time with her.
RP: That’s awesome. Okay, what are your partner’s strengths and weaknesses?
S: Let’s start with strengths because those are easy. She’s sensitive, caring, kind, considerate, loving. She’s supportive, she’s humble, she loves God and family and me. She’s super hot.
S: Yeah, she’s everything I’ve ever wanted. She’s my best friend. She’s my future wifey.
C: I’m going to cry!
S: I know that’s super generic but her big strengths are my weaknesses. She’s sensitive and I’m not, so that helps balance the two. Or sometimes I’m not considerate and sometimes she’s over considerate, she thinks about other people so much, it helps put in balance. And the more we’re together the more we become like each other, the more she teaches me how to be humble, considerate and sensitive. Weaknesses? None. [laughs] But seriously, I think her strengths can also be her weaknesses. She’s sensitive, but at times she’s too sensitive, you know?
C: Yeah, I cry over everything. Good or bad. [laughs]
S: It’s hard to see them as her weaknesses, ’cause I also see them as her strengths, but yeah, her strengths can also be her weaknesses. Oh. And she’s time challenged. [laughs]
C: [laughing] Yeah! I run on Filipino time. I don’t know if you guys had this problem, but yeah, I need to be on time more.
C: Okay, so strengths?
S: My gains.
C: Wow. [laughs] That’s all I really like. Just kidding! I’m totally kidding! [laughs] But you are hot [laughs]. He’s just amazing. He’s my best friend, he’s charming, he can get along with anybody, he’s so talented, intelligent, hardworking. He’s the hardest worker I know, it’s something I admire so much about him. He’s an amazing leader. He’s so loving and thoughtful, even though he doesn’t think he is. He makes a lot of sacrifices.
S: [whispering] Money…
C: Stop saying money! [laughs] He’s hilarious, he’s my personal comedian. He loves me and shows me that all the time. He shows me off, I love that. Sometimes guys put up that front, and he doesn’t. I know, he said he’s not sensitive, but he really is. When it’s important and the time is right, he’s just everything I need, he knows how to show me he cares about me and how I’m feeling. I don’t know about weaknesses. It’s not that he’s insensitive, but I think because I am overly aware and in tune with my feelings, that’s hard for him. I overthink and pay attention to everything, he doesn’t and he can forget little things, details, nothing big–
S: Everything. I forget everything. I’m okay to admit it. [laughs] She’s too nice.
S: I’m making more of an effort to remember things. Before I would ask her something and it would go in one ear and out the other. That’s definitely one of my weaknesses.
RP: What’s something you often bicker about?
S: If we want to watch a romantic movie or an action movie. No sappy garbage. [laughs]
C: Oh my gosh! [laughs] That’s true. [laughs]
RP: Has there been a struggle that nearly tore you apart? How did you get past that?
S: I know it sounds weird, but there’s no real time that anything tore us apart?
C: I think it’s because we got everything figured out before we were officially together. I think being proactive about being on the same page, in terms of religion and timing, was our struggle, but we got past it in the beginning. That was key.
S: I think that’s something we’ve learned: preventative rather than reactive. Being able to foresee. Sometime people just jump into relationships and then try to figure stuff out. And it can work that way. But for us, we tried to figure stuff out before we made that commitment. We wanted to find out who we were as individuals first, then moved on to see if we would be compatible as a couple. Versus getting into a relationship and having to compromise what we think and how we feel, that’s when all hell breaks loose. We figured stuff out early on so we didn’t have any crazy issues.
C: It wasn’t easy. When it took longer than I thought to be together, I remember thinking, “Why can’t we work on it together?” I guess that’s something I admire about Scott, he’s been leading me that way. If I had kept saying, “Let’s just be together, let’s just be together.” who knows how it would’ve turned out? But, because he’s so strong in his values, that’s how it was and we dealt with it. And we’re better because of it.
RP: That brings us to the next question. What is something your partner or relationship has taught you?
C: So many things!
S: I think one thing she’s taught me is how important family is. Just seeing her family and how she’s dealt with loss in her family. Her mom passed away a year ago, it was really hard. She’s taught me how to grieve and morn properly, and how that’s okay. How to lean on those around you. If we didn’t have that, I don’t know how we’d get through it. She taught me how to make family a priority and how to make each other a priority. She continues to make time for me and put me first. That teaches me to put her first as well, as my life can get hectic and busy at times, I need to be putting her above other things. It’s something she’s teaching me by example.
C: For me it’s our faith, he really inspired me with his love for God. He showed me that. I developed my own relationship with God, I pursued it on my own, but he definitely inspired me with the way he’s lived out his beliefs, how he carries himself, and how he relates to others. No one, I know for sure, in this world, is like him. Someone who has all his qualities and such a strong relationship to God. Our faith really did bring us together. He’s also taught me to basically dream big! I’m so proud of him and where he is in his career. He’s taught me to put myself out there, work hard and work smart, be confident, and to not be afraid of getting where I want to be. And I’m super thankful that we had a hard beginning, because now it’s amazing and I can’t wait for what’s next.
RP: How do you handle your relationship in the public eye and any pressures that may come with that?
C: I know social media is a big part of Scott’s career, and mine, and obviously our age and where we are in the world. To the public, we want to share our values, how we live our lives as a couple, and how much we love each other through both the good times and more difficult ones. I personally don’t feel any pressure about what we share about our relationship. Like you guys have said, there are highlight reels, and we want to be open and show others what our relationship looks like.
S: There’s so much garbage and mis-information in the world that’s being fed to our youth about what it means to be in a relationship and what it means to be in love. Kids are being force-fed by culture on what to think and believe about sex, love, and relationships, so we try to use our social media platforms to show an example of what a healthy relationship is, and what it looks like. How we put our faith first. We know we have a lot of kids watching us and looking up to us, so we take it pretty seriously.
RP: We love that you guys are using your public platforms intentionally. We also love how you both showed solidarity through Carmen’s mom passing away. You could see your strength in partnership through that.
C: Thank you. Totally, he was so supportive. Ah! I’m crying, see!
S: Thanks, guys.
RP: Okay what is something people wouldn’t expect about your relationship?
C: I have a shallow example.
C: People sometimes think that we do all these crazy things, but our favourite thing to do is just stay home. Order in food and watch Netflix. We binge watch How Go Get Away With Murder. Like, when Scott’s away, we don’t FaceTime, we watch Netflix together. On his computer where ever he is and me on my computer. We go 3-2-1 and press play at the same time. [laughs]
RP: That’s perfect. [laughs]
S: I think we make our relationship pretty public so there’s not much people don’t know. I guess no body knows about the Toll Bridge. That stupid $6 every time we have to cross it to see each other.
C: Oh! Yes! [laughs] We can’t wait to be married and lived together so we don’t have to do that every night.
RP: What is something you want more of in your relationship?
C: Yes. I think that will help when we are married. More time together.
RP: What is something you’re trying to eliminate from your relationship?
C: Eating out. [laughs] I’m trying to learn how to cook and be a good wifey and all that, but sometimes it’s super late, we don’t have time to grocery shop. It’s hard.
S: Finances, spending money on the right things, that’s important.
RP: What is the best relationship advice you’ve ever gotten?
C: That women need to be loved, shown love in the way that they need to be, through the love languages, and that men need respect. You need to build up your partner and support him. Like he said before, it will make him want to love you and show you love, give you what you need. I’ve seen that in our relationship, and in others too, I think it’s something important that couples need to understand.
S: That’s huge. It doesn’t go for every relationship, there’s some people that are different, but from our experiences and what we’ve seen in general, it’s accurate. Even if I tell my guys friends, “Hey, I love you.” It’s like, “Cool, thanks, I love you too, bro.” But if I tell them, “Hey man, I respect you.” That just destroys the guy. [laughing] That means more to me than an, “I love you.” But I know for Carmen, if I tell her “I respect you.” She’s like, “Uh…thanks?” [laughs] But if I tell her I love her, her ovaries will explode.
S: But seriously, it’s important to know what your partner needs.
RP: If you were to tell someone struggling in their relationship one thing, what would it be?
S: Look at where your values are. Where do you get your sense of purpose? Is it from your spouse? Or somewhere else? Not everyone agrees with us, but we really do believe that being on the same page spiritually, is important. What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? The big questions. That’s your compass and what will guide every decision you make. In times of struggle and in difficult situations, the answers to those questions are what you lean back on and if you don’t have someone with the same answers, I can tell you, it’s really difficult. When you both believe in the same thing, at least you can fall back on that one truth or belief you hold dear. Then it doesn’t matter if the whole world comes crumbling down, you both have that foundation you can rest on. Find someone you want to do life with, forever. Not just an, “I’m attracted to you” kind of way because what happens when that attraction fades? What happens when you get annoyed with them, or when you just don’t like them anymore? When issues like this come up in life, how do you work through it? If you don’t have a common foundation to turn to, I think that’s where a lot of relationships tend to fall apart.
C: I agree with that. I would also say that if you’re struggling, no matter how big or small the struggle is, the end goal is more important than what you’re going through in the moment. If you have the same values and foundation, you can focus on the even bigger picture, rather than the small little fight or issue in the way. When you’re on the same page that way, it filters out the small things that don’t even matter. When you can share that with someone, you’ll always be able to get through those struggles together.
RP: So on point! Is there anything else you want to share?
S: On a personal level, it may offend some people, but I believe in it so much that I don’t really care. The idea of putting God before your spouse, for me, is huge and I know can sound odd at first. Let me try to explain: The more I love God, the more I love Carmen because when I love God, I listen to Him and obey Him when He commands me in the Bible to love Carmen unconditionally and to lay my life down for her, regardless of how I may feel in the moment. I’m called to die for her, sacrifice my time, money; everything for her. And that’s super important because I know I won’t always “feel” like doing that. I know there’s going to be some mornings I wake up and not “feel” in love. If I listen to my feelings and do it my way, it’s going to be a disaster. But if I trust in God and trust that He knows more about relationships than I do (because He freakin’ created them), there’s some pretty amazing things that can happen. People quit too soon. They think they should leave when the feeling is gone, but I’m saying stick through it, and you’ll be amazed when you come out on the other side closer to each other, and more in love than you’ve ever been. When I marry Carmen, I make a personal commitment before God, before her, and before all our friends and family, that I will love her to my very last day, even if I don’t feel like it. I’m committed. It doesn’t matter what I feel, it’s what I’ve committed to. People cop out too easy. But with marriage, there’s this clause in there: The only way out is if we die. “Till death do us part.” There’s no option for divorce or cop out, we’re going to see it through to the very end. As you can tell, my faith plays a huge part in my relationship. I don’t trust myself, I know I’m broken and not perfect. I’m a sinner. If our relationship was up to me, if she looked to me for all her happiness, I would let her down every day. It’s important to have that solid rock to lean on and to find our own happiness through. We don’t find our happiness and joy in each other, we find it in our relationship with Jesus. Through that relationship, we can look to each other with so much more love and respect because my purpose in life isn’t found in her. That’s way too much of a burden, a weight, on her shoulders if every morning I turn to her and say,”Make me happy, give me purpose”. Just like if she did that to me, I’d be crushed under that weight. So instead, we turn to God and ask Him for joy and purpose, and then we get to share that and experience that with each other. I also want to re-emphasize to think critically about life and relationships and to not consume what culture is telling you. Society and culture change every day, it’s not a trustworthy source but it keeps getting shoved down our throats. Be very careful with what you listen to and where you get your ultimate truth from. Really think critically. Think big picture and ask the tough questions: What is the meaning of life; why we here; what’s my purpose; what is the purpose of our relationship? Start asking these questions now, because whether you believe it or not, the answers impact every part of your life, especially your relationships. Anyways. That’s just my two cents.
RP: That was more than two cents! That was a full dollar!
RP: Thank you both for chatting with us!
S: Thank you guys! This is awesome.
C: Thank you!
Well, wasn’t that awesome? Such a refreshing perspective into faithful relationships. These two are clearly so much in love, and have a bright outlook on their future in terms of marriage and growth. Our big take-aways from their interview are:
Make your happiness your responsibility. (This inspired a whole article for us!)
Learn what your partner needs, and value alignment is key.
Do what you know is right, not what is popular, be intentional with your actions.
Great lessons for us all. Thank you again, Scott and Carmen, you two were a joy to chat with. We’re wishing you both all the best with the upcoming journey of marriage, and keep inspiring those around you. (Maybe we’ll do a follow up when you’re well in the depths of marriage!)
If you’d like to see more of what they’re up to (hint: it’s amazing) check out their links below.
Photos by: Jamie Delaine