Josh and Katie Butler with their twins, Isabella and Liam

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked clinician couples how they met, what they like to do together and the challenges of being married to a fellow clinician.

Katie Butler, PA-C, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Family Medicine Twin Rose, and Josh Butler, PA-C, LG Health Physicians Hospitalists

We met in undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh way back in 2003. We got married in 2009. We have two incredible kids: twins Isabella and Liam, soon turning 6.
 
Prior to having our children, we enjoyed traveling overseas and are lucky enough to be able to do so again in May. With two young kids at home and difficult work schedules, finding time for each other can be a challenge.
 
A huge perk of being married to another clinician is the ability to have a evening together at development or vendor events.
 



Drs. Denise Cope and Dan Schlegel and their family take their traditional surrey cart ride on the boardwalk at Ocean City, New Jersey.

Denise N. Cope, M.D., LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Abbeyville, and Dan Schlegel, M.D., Program Director, Family Medicine Residency, Penn State Health

We met in 2004, at a welcome picnic for the LGH Family Medicine Residency Program. Denise was a nervous new intern, and Dan was an older, wiser second year. Despite often having opposite call schedules and the general craziness of residency, we managed to go out on a few dates. Romance at work was never the plan for either of us, but sometimes life surprises you! We were engaged two years later and got married March 10, 2007.
 
Being married to a fellow physician certainly has its challenges, but it also has some significant benefits. Neither of us takes it personally when the other is running late at the end of the day. We understand better than most that medicine is unpredictable. It’s easier to talk about work when you don’t have to explain everything.   We have three kids, ages 10, 7 and 3. Like any family with two working parents, we are busy. We keep a detailed combined calendar, plan ahead as much as possible and get help when we need it.

As a family, we enjoy snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, going to the community pool in the summer, and getting together with other families. Our yearly trip to Ocean City, New Jersey, is always a highlight. We try to get away just the two of us now and then.  We managed to combine a medical conference with some relaxation at Nemacolin resort this fall, without the kids! It’s a crazy, funny, chaotic, amazing life!
 


 

Drs. Ashley LaFata and Mike Walker climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Ashley N. LaFata, M.D., CHOP Pediatric Hospitalists at Lancaster General Hospital, and Michael J. Walker, M.D., LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Willow Street

We met at Jefferson Medical College. We shared a few mutual friends and were introduced at our first intramural volleyball game of the fall season. It wasn’t until the annual Jefferson Halloween Party, toward the end of our volleyball season, that we realized how much we liked each other. We exchanged numbers and have been inseparable since. We won the intramural volleyball championship three days later and went on our first date to Lolita the following night. We had so much to talk about that we were asked to switch tables so the restaurant could accommodate more people, and then we were kindly asked to leave at closing time.
 
After two years of dating, Mike proposed to Ashley on a surprise cruise that he planned for Christmas and her birthday. We had a long 2½-year engagement because we were living apart for a year. We have been married for 3½ years.
 
Initially our biggest challenge was living halfway across the country from one another during our first year of engagement. Ashley started her Pediatric residency at Northwestern in Chicago, while Mike finished his final year of medical school in Philadelphia. We considered ourselves lucky if we could see each other once a month. Thankfully Mike was able to match in Chicago at Northwestern as well, so were able to live together during the remainder of our training. However there were months when our schedules were so opposite that we saw each other less often than when we lived in different cities.
 
Overall, though, there are many more benefits of being married to another physician. We understand the stresses and demands of each other’s jobs, as well as the rewards. We are able to share meaningful experiences and ask each other clinical questions. Sometimes we even share patients!
 
We love traveling. Our current goal is to travel outside of the country in addition to visiting a National Park each year. We also enjoy outdoor activities – hiking, biking (leisurely), skiing, kayaking, playing volleyball, etc. One of our most memorable experiences was hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It’s good we like being active, because we also love to eat. We love trying new local restaurants, as well as restaurants in Philadelphia and everywhere we travel. We also love spending time with family and friends, going to the beach and relaxing by playing cards or watching shows (Our current obsession is “The Blacklist.”).
 



Jesse Main, Psy.D., and Dr. Catherine Main with their children, Sophia, Eleanor and Henry

Catherine L. Main, M.D., LG Health Physicians Family Medicine Strasburg, and Jesse M. Main, Psy.D., Postdoctoral Resident, LG Health Physicians Neuropsychology

We met 15 years ago, while working at El Serrano Restaurant here in Lancaster. We quickly learned that we had similar goals, interests and passions, and started dating soon thereafter. We have now been married almost 10 years and have three wonderful children, Sophia (6), Henry (3) and Eleanor (10 months). Our lives are beautifully chaotic at times, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
 
From undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs to the rigors of our respective residencies, we have been through many trying seasons thus far. The greatest challenge through all of it has always been establishing a healthy work/life balance. Given the demands of our careers, managing this balance continues today. To address this challenge, we try to remain intentional in nurturing our marriage and our relationships with our children. The balancing act is delicate and difficult at times, but the payoff has been well worth it.
 
Navigating parenthood with intention affords us the opportunity to explore new fun places with our children. We also like to sneak away on dates whenever possible, take in the wonderful Lancaster restaurant scene or engage in good conversation with great friends. Exercise has always been a priority for us, so we like to stay active and engage in these activities together when possible.  Looking forward, we have always enjoyed traveling and will certainly do more of this as our kiddos get older and can tolerate more travel time.  

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