By Mark F. Gray
Attorney Julius Terrell and his wife Cheryl are from two different worlds but have blended their lives into one thriving relationship that works at the office and at home. The enterprising couple are separate owners of a law practice and dentistry but have learned to strike a balance between family and work life that fuel their success.
The Terrells have been separate entrepreneurs for more half of their 20 years of marriage. Dr. Cheryl Terrell is owner of Dental Associates of Maryland which is a full service practice based in Bowie. Meanwhile, Julius Terrell, Esq. owns JPT Law, whose practice include estate planning, probate administration, business and family litigation and government relations. He also serves as an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
There is quiet intensity that fuels their drive as individual business inside their shared relationship. Most marriages with dual entrepreneurial spouse are often casualties of the careers because of the time spent with their businesses. However, the Terrells acknowledge that balance between their work and the commitment to family life that are more important than what transpires at the office.
“There’s equal priority between our professional and family lives but the family always comes first,” Julius tells the AFRO.
As their respective practices grew the Terrells also learned how to balance the responsibility of parenting. Their son Julius, a graduate of St. Johns College High School, who is in his freshman year at St. John’s University in New York, was an active participant in youth sports. He was one of the DMV’s top lacrosse players which required the family to make sacrifices for him also. With floating schedules, they faced the challenge of time availability to ensure he could compete in youth and high school activities. They shared the responsibilities of transportation to practice and to games while always making sure that “Jay” was aware his mom and dad were always there on sidelines or the stands for him.
“Its important knowing when to cutback on the work life,” Cheryl tells the AFRO. “You learn along the way that there are times when you have to take off and focus on what’s best for [your child]. Having another person to help with that juggling act helps.”
At least three times per year the Terrells turn their cell phones off and embark on family vacations that will recharge them.
“That time is important because it creates memories and a sense of closeness,” Cheryl adds.
Often there is friction in relationships when spouses are independent business professionals. The different approaches can sometimes lead to an erosion of their personal relationship. However, the Terrell’s have found a balance there as well using each other as sounding boards to develop successful strategies for their uniquely different work spaces.
“It’s like having your own personal board [of directors] at your house,” Julius added. “Having someone who understands what it means to be in business for yourself leads to a meaningful exchange of ideas.”
Their commitment and strength were put to the test in 2013 when Cheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer. The battle between the family and the disease put their relationship and commitment to each front and center. Cheryl was able to maintain the dental practice while Julius was vigilant in servicing his clients and relieving her of the worries associated with being a professional mother. Her cancer has been in remission for five years and counting.
“Julius handled all the dynamics of our lives by himself and I was confident he could to that,” Cheryl said. “It took a big chunk off my worry plate which helped me get better.”
This article originally appeared in The Afro.