Alexis Ohanian and his wife Serena Williams are both amazingly busy people but the secret to how they make their marriage work is pretty simple.
Writing for Glamour, Ohanian opens up about his marriage and life with the tennis superstar for Valentine’s Day.
“I think, if you were to ask my wife or many other people in relationships, it’s often the simpler things that are the most important,” the Reddit co-founder writes. “You have to show up. You have to be supportive. These are the things that matter.”
Of course, given the couple’s hectic schedules, all of that is easier said than done.
“When you’re married to the GOAT, the logistics alone can make the act of physically ‘showing up’ a challenge,” Ohanian admits. “Serena’s tennis schedule takes her all over the world, and my career also requires being on the road, whether it’s travelling to meet with founders, speaking at industry events, or spending time at my venture capital firm, Initialized’s home office in San Francisco.
“Comparing calendars isn’t romantic, but at the start of every year, Serena and I map out our schedules so ideally there isn’t more than a week that we go without seeing each other. I brought Google Calendar into her world so we could see each other’s schedules at any time, which would also make it easier to plan an impromptu call if we’re away from each other—a day without FaceTime is rough when you’ve been away from each other for two weeks.
Then there’s taking care of Olympia, Ohanian and Williams’ daughter, born in 2017.
“My understanding of showing up and being present for my wife was taken to a whole new level when Olympia was born,” Ohanian says. “I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I’ve made.”
He adds that “it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth.”
Finally, there is one extra special secret to sustaining their marriage: Sunday pancakes.
“Growing up, my dad would make pancakes every Sunday. They were delicious, but it wasn’t just about the food. It was about being together,” Ohanian explains. “So on Sunday mornings, I make breakfast for the family and it doesn’t cost me a thing, except for gluten-free flour (I had to modify Dad’s recipe a bit), some eggs, almond milk, a secret ingredient, and berries (Olympia loves raspberries).
“There are no phones, just conversation,” he writes. “And we’ll spend the day together lounging around the house, or playing hide-and-seek, or going for a swim in the pool. Just being a family on those days means so much to both of us—more than a billboard, a video montage, or a whirlwind trip to Italy.”