Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal David Bulitt is more than a divorce lawyer – he is a published author of two critically acclaimed novels. Moving out of the world of fiction, David is getting ready to publish a third book, ShopTalk: Core Conversations to Keep Your Relationship Off the Couch and Out of Court, coauthored by his wife Julie, a family therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Bethesda Magazine featured the couple in their September/October issue, where they provided some insight into their own relationship, how they hatched the idea for ShopTalk and the process they employed to write the book.
ShopTalk is written as a series of conversations that David and Julie have had regarding issues that often cause stress within a relationship, including money, children and sex. What they’ve learned about saving a marriage, keeping a family together, or knowing when to call it quits, when to turn to professionals or when to try tough love, could fill a book — and it does. ShopTalk tackles every corner of relationships with the wisdom, knowledge, and best advice culled from David and Julie’s unique experiences. Drawn from notes of their discussions, chats, arguments — not always sober — and frank, funny stories, it openly tackles the basics from getting along, to parenting, communication, and sex, as well as hard-to-discuss issues like addiction, infertility, pornography, and family silence. ShopTalk takes you inside how these two professionals hash out some of life’s toughest personal challenges, revealing what they really think and say to each other.
Their own personal struggles are also laid bare in the pages of ShopTalk. Raising four daughters, one with significant mental health, behavioral and addiction issues inflicted stress and pressure for both of them and years of conflict that could have caused many couples to separate and walk away. “We disagreed, almost daily,” David says. “But what we didn’t do is forget about each other and that we were in it together. We took turns trying to manage our struggles and generally knew when the other needed a breath – some space.”
While relationships can be complicated, David sees a certain simplicity that many people overlook. “People often times don’t need that much to be happy,” he told Bethesda Magazine. “Pay attention to me. Tell me my shirt’s nice.”
Interestingly enough, the two rarely argue. “That’s the beauty of being married to a divorce lawyer,” Julie says. He spends his day arguing so by the time the work day ends, he has had enough and I just get my way.”
David and Julie have been married since 1986, three years after they met at a University of Maryland fraternity party. Together, they have faced both happy and tough years, but they have always worked at their relationship and stay connected to one another. “It doesn’t just happen,” Julie says. They have weekly “date nights” and both of them spend a couple of weekends away each year with friends. I really don’t think that staying together requires two people to always do everything together,” David says.
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David is a family lawyer and the assistant managing director of the firm in Rockville, Maryland. A principal in the firm, David’s practice focuses on complex family law cases, including divorce, custody disputes and other contentious domestic conflicts. His first novel, Card Game, was published in 2015, and his second, Because I Had To, was published in 2017.