CYSK: James and Michele Batye
Michele and James Batye work together to nurture their high-functioning blended family.
She’s the president of Dave Griggs’ Flooring America; he’s a real estate investor and sales manager. The Batyes dish the details on their unconventional family and nearly quarter-of-a-century relationship.
How did you meet?
James: Mutual best friend.
Michele: The original “Jurassic Park” at the theater. I’m convinced all lasting relationships begin with non-romantic movie choices.
Tell us about your family.
M: Now empty nesters, we live with our schnauzer, Fritz, in Ashland. Together we’ve raised three children who then added to our family by bringing in their perfect mates. Each of them is now in the early stages of raising our three grandchildren. I guess the unconventional part of our family would be that at the age of 26, I fell in love with not only the man I would marry, but also his three young children. I’m pretty sure there were friends and family who were skeptical that it would work, but it’s been 24 years since we all stood on the altar and said our “I dos.” One of the most important things in our family has always been the cooperation of everyone, and that meant faith and understanding of all parents, biological and bonus. To outsiders, we may seem like an anomaly, all four parents working together for all the children, even those who weren’t in our family unit, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to choice and compromise.
How does business play into your relationship dynamics?
J: It’s intertwined in everything we do.
M: In 2017, when I decided to purchase Dave Griggs’ Flooring America, Jim was all-in, even though it meant personal commitment on his part with little involvement in the decision-making process. Even though he is not involved in the day-to-day business, he still is my sounding board for a lot of ideas, and I value his opinion.
How does your competitiveness play into your relationship?
J: It doesn’t — we are a team.
M: I am way more competitive than Jim. I found this out early in our relationship when we would do any type of activity. I’m all about the finish line, and he is all about the experience. That’s why our relationship works. He reminds me every day to stop and enjoy the journey.
What are the best aspects about your partner?
J: Michele is a very driven person: When she makes up her mind, she does it and she does it with grace. My favorite example of this is how she came into mine and my children’s lives and just made it all work. She quickly built a relationship with all of us, including my ex-wife, so there could be harmony and function. It’s a rarity to see split families get along, but it definitely made all the difference in our children’s lives.
M: Jim’s best aspects are probably a checklist of my worst. He is the romantic one of our duo with his small actions and affection. He is patient and rarely angered, approaching life with faith, humor, and stability — the qualities that can sometimes aggravate me into harmony.