This Is How Serena Williams Gets the Best Kind of Support From Her Husband

For a piece published on Valentine’s Day, Glamour asked Alexis Ohanian, the husband of tennis icon Serena Williams, about romance. More specifically, they asked Ohanian what “going big” meant in his marriage. And, to be honest, we’ve been curious. After all, Williams is like the human equivalent of the question, “What gift do you get the person who has everything?”

Not because she is massively successful (which she is) or can afford the finer things in life (which she can, because she has put in the work). Rather, Williams embodies this question for the traits that make her, well, her: persistent, determined, smart, ambitious, self-sufficient. So, really, how do you support someone who is clearly so damn capable? This was essentially the question lobbed at Ohanian, whose response should be required reading.

Granted, Ohanian admits that he does occasionally shower his wife with grand romantic gestures — like jetting her to Venice when she had a craving for Italian food. But he also insists that those extravagances don’t carry as much weight with Williams as other actions. “But 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,” he said. “You have to show up. You have to be supportive. These are the things that matter.”

Yet when you’re married to Williams, you have to get creative (and sometimes downright practical) in terms of showing up. “Comparing calendars isn’t romantic, but at the start of every year, Serena and I map out our schedules so that, ideally, there isn’t more than a week that we go without seeing each other,” Ohanian said, noting that being married to “the GOAT” (short for the “Greatest of All Time”) isn’t without its logistical challenges. “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.”

It’s worth noting here that Ohanian’s career isn’t exactly something to scoff at. For starters, he’s the co-founder of a little site you may have heard of called Reddit. He also co-founded and is a managing partner of Initialized Capital, a venture firm based out of San Francisco with a market value over $22 billion. However, Ohanian understands that one of the best ways he can support his wife is to understand and accept that her career is just as important as his. And, if he’s really being honest with himself, sometimes more so.

“I know I’ve been successful in my career, but I’m not the one racking up the trophies. It helps that my wife and I both know what it takes to be successful and bring the mutual understanding, drive and relentlessness to the table. But at the end of the day, sometimes her career really does have to come first,” said Ohanian, who pointed out that research shows a full 50 percent of men are happy to have successful wives — until it interferes with their own work. Rather than be one of those men, Ohanian focuses on “being the most supportive partner” he can be, which often entails touching base with Williams about how he can help her reach her career goals.

“She does the same with me,” Ohanian said of his wife. “I’m far from perfect, but I try to get behind her and let her know I’m there for her and our daughter, no matter what.” On that note, it’s official: we’re now officially in love with the love Ohanian and Williams share.

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