Meet Garrett & Chelsea
Certified Relationship Coaches & Motivators
Team Zimmerman started their relationship as two people with different, but similar relationship histories.
Garrett was previously married for 7 years and had a son. Chelsea had two boys at a young age with someone she thought she loved, but never really saw a future with.
After leaving that relationship she was in a relationship for 3 years with someone that loved her but didn't want a relationship with her children. After each of their relationships ended, they re-evaluated themselves and what they wanted in life.
When they met, they challenged each other through questions, becoming vulnerable with each other and acknowledging each other's past.
When they became a blended family, their relationship was challenged in ways they didn't know were possible.
Through the many challenges of blended family life, they've become stronger and inspired other blended families, and 'traditional' families, to prioritize themselves and their relationship.
They believe that 'blended families' can go from 'blended to blessed'!
I was the first born in my family of 4 and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. My family enjoyed spending time together celebrating birthdays, weekends and making memories. Growing up, my parents were both highly invested in my life and it taught me the importance of being present in your child's life and how much of a positive impact that has on a person.
When I was 14 years old, my world changed forever when my dad passed away. It forced me to re-evaluate so many things in my life. As I've gotten older, I've learned that in losing my dad, I gained so much! He made me a better person through what he taught me and I've worked hard to instill some of those same lessons into my life and share with the people around me.
Having been active in sports growing up and as an adult, I've always enjoyed the social and physical benefits of being involved with a team. Working with others to accomplish a goal is rewarding and I enjoy the process of learning and growing together.
Relationships and friendships have always been important to me. These realities were reinforced when I moved away for College and University. Outside of learning in the classroom, during these years I learned how much I enjoy human connection, getting to know others, sharing interests and creating community. These realities have been reinforced throughout my life and I make a point to create and grow friendships with others who bring positive energy to my life.
A few years after graduating University with distinction I got married, and two years later I became a dad. I'll never forget my excitement when I held my son for the first time. I realized life was no longer about me, I was now responsible to provide, protect and love my son. Seven years into marriage I ended up divorced. This brought confusion, hurt, anger and sadness. As I tried to make sense of my 'new normal' I fought depression and anxiety. When the pain subsided and I accepted my humanity I started prioritizing self-development, learning how to shift my beliefs and had an awakening I never thought was possible when Chelsea came into my life. After struggling with being vulnerable, I learnt that in being vulnerable it's possible to create such strength in relationship. I continue to be reminded of the power of working together and the importance of healthy habits!
My story began before I was even born. I was adopted to my loving parents when I was only 3 days old. I grew up in a very small town in northern Alberta. So small, that when I tell people where I’m from, they usually laugh and say they’ve never heard of it before. Growing up, my home life was fairly normal and pleasant. I was blessed to have a younger sister and parents who loved me unconditionally. Despite this, I still struggled with my self image. I was bullied throughout my school years, which lead to many insecurities about my value, my worth, and my body. I barely graduated from high school as I dealt with various mental health issues, but my father was adamant about graduating. He gave me the kick in the butt I needed to finish, and I’m so grateful he did.
I became pregnant with my first son only months after my high-school graduation, which started me on a hard path for many years to come. I left what had become a very abusive relationship with my son’s father when my son was only 3 months old. I moved back in with my parents to my hometown to try to get my feet back beneath me. Not long after, I began my career in finance. This helped to re-build some of the confidence I had lost having been abused for so long, and brought back a sense of “normal” in my life again.” However, the cycle of violence is a stronghold like no other. I went on to have another son with the same man 14 months later, despite not living together or being in a relationship with him.
In 2010, I made the decision to move to Red Deer so my boys could live closer to their dad. I spent the next 3 years trying to find myself. I experienced new things and traveled because I had some freedom as a result of co-parenting with my ex. But I also spent this time wrapped up in rose-coloured glasses being in a relationship that was not healthy for me at all. When that ended, I dove into personal development with both feet. I truly got healthy from the inside out, and it’s the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I learned things I never knew were possible and I discovered I was truly made for more. I finally came in to my true power and true worth, and ultimately fell in love with myself for the first time in my life. It was then I was able to believe I deserved the love I’ve now found with Garrett and live the happiest life I could imagine together with him and our boys!
It started on a bus. And we took 8 months between meeting each other and going on our first date. Yes, you read that correctly!
At the time we met, we were working for the same employer and going to a Years of Service Award Luncheon. I (Garrett) stepped onto the bus with the goal of sitting beside the prettiest woman I could see. After stepping on the bus and walking down the aisle I stopped and sat across from Chelsea. The Luncheon was in another city and the bus ride was 3 hours round trip...the two of us didn't stop talking at any point as we asked questions, told stories and learnt about each other. Our spirits felt instant connection. The bus trip was November 6, 2014, but we didn't have our first official date until July 7, 2015.
At the time we met, I was legally separated, but not legally divorced. When Chelsea found this out she was hesitant to get too close. We talked through email and text messages, but were both cautious to jump in too fast given how our past relationships had ended.
Although we were both excited at the thought of finding someone new and moving forward, we both had a lot of healing and self reflection to do. I was coming out of a divorce, where my beliefs about marriage were completely turned upside down. I struggled with a serious bout of depression and anxiety and for the first time in my life I reached out for professional help and support to try and better understand my feelings, thoughts and actions. In acknowledging my humanity, I understood the power of vulnerability and vowed to myself to stop living in fear and reservation and start living more in the moment and appreciating the true value and spirit of others. As a Father with a young son, my primary responsibility was to my boy and myself. I didn't pursue dating and relationships quickly because I acknowledged the need to work on myself and love myself before I could be of value to anyone else. For the first time in my life, I realized you have to love yourself first before someone else will love you.
When we met, Chelsea was also going through a period of self discovery and awareness. After getting pregnant two times at a very young age, and being in a few serious relationships where she consistently tried to change the person she was with or change herself to be accepted by them, she was stepping back from relationships to re-evaluate what she wanted and her worth. Being adopted, Chelsea struggled with her self-esteem and was the subject of bullying through school. She knew she had value and was worthy of love and acceptance. Her two boys loved her unconditionally, but struggling with self-love was difficult for her. After breaking up with a long term boyfriend who didn't want to have anything to do with her and her boys as a 'package' deal, she took time to invest into deepening friendships with the people she worked with and living in the moment.
After our first date, we couldn't wait to see each other again. We continued to talk and coordinate our calendars so we could hang out when our boys were at their other parents house. Anyone who juggles a co-parenting schedule with their ex knows what this is all about! It's like playing Tetris every week and requires some very good time management skills.
Our time together was refreshing, inspiring and enjoyable. For the first time in a long time we were spending time with someone who appreciated us, laughed at our jokes, asked us the tough questions, listened to us and brought air back to our lungs.
We laughed, we cried, we talked, we questioned and we challenged each others beliefs about relationships. Admittedly, we were both hesitant and scared to get too close to each other, after having both been hurt in the past. But we realized that by being truly vulnerable to each other we felt an awakening in our souls that drew us closer than we ever thought was possible.
Our relationship has challenged us, taught us, grown us and motivated us to continue moving forward in the face of life's challenges. We both value the pursuit of personal development and understand that they call it 'growing pains' for a reason. Growth isn't easy and at times it's uncomfortable, but if you're not growing...you're going backwards.
We've have made the intentional choice to never go back to where they were. We feel inspired and strong in our relationship because of our shared values and the relationship skills and tools we've developed and apply in our partnership daily.
No relationship is perfect, but every relationship can get better!