Four Year Anniversary

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It's been four years since G and I got married. In that time we bought a house, had a baby, and expanded our business. We like to do something to honor the anniversary each year on the blog, so here's a questionnaire Alina had us each answer without looking at the other's responses (until now).  

  1. Have you learned anything new about each other recently even after four years?

    Emily: Actually yes! I've learned a lot more about G in these past 14 months since Sloan was born than I knew in the last eight years of being together. We were already each other's life partners, but it's a whole other level being parents together and raising a child. G has always been the strong, stoic one and being a mom has helped me get in touch with an inner strength that I didn't know that I had. It's let him depend on me more emotionally, which I think is comforting for him and nice for me to know that I can be the rock in our relationship as well.

    G:
    Considering Emily's a new mom, it's only natural to say the most recent things I've learned about her all stem from raising Sloan. Em has always been caring and compassionate, but there's a new sense of selflessness that has emerged, which has actually removed a lot of her personal anxieties and allowed her to focus on the present, rather than worry about potential issues. In some ways, we've swapped roles, with me becoming more worrisome about small issues and her acting more level-headed and calm.

  2. How is your anniversary celebrated differently now that you have Sloan?

    Emily: Well for starters, we have to be a lot more organized if we want to plan something at night, since someone needs to watch Sloan. We used to try and plan little getaways on our anniversary (we did the first two years), but things are a bit different now. G and I haven't left her on our own yet, but just this past visit when my parents stayed with us, my mom kind of encouraged us to go somewhere for an evening. It makes me a little nervous, but after going on my first girls' trip in a while, I think getting away with G would be even more incredible. But most likely we'll just do something that focuses on us and our relationship (and not on our role as parents) with a great meal and a nice bottle of wine.

    G:
    I love our daughter, but I want to make this day a celebration of our marriage and relationship. There are a lot of experiences that have defined the past four years, so it would be nice to revisit some of those moments, whether it's eating at a memorable restaurant or taking a day trip, while having one of Sloan's honorary aunts watch her for a few hours. I know we'll most likely end up talking about her, regardless of what we do, but this day should also be a reflection of our past and hopes for the future. 

  3. What is your opinion on anniversary gifts? “Go big or go home” or more of a meaningful gift?

    Emily
    :
    We both kind of killed it on our first anniversary, which was paper, but it was so stressful coming up with the idea that I think we both got burned out. G got me Hermes drawer liners that make all of clothes smell incredible and I got him tickets to Nashville (though we had to postpone our trip, wah wah) and a book with all of the best places to visit while there. Since then, we've kind of gotten things for the house/us that we've both wanted for a while. They're never big, just sweet things that help us remember our wedding day.

    G: Shopping for Em is tricky because part of her job revolves around purchasing/showcasing so many items that would make amazing gifts, so lately I've tried to find something "big" she wouldn't normally buy for herself. The category for the 4th anniversary (the modern definition) is appliances, which is not something she'd normally shop for, so my options are a little more flexible this time around.  

  4. What are the things the other can't live without (other than Sloan/family/friends).  

    Emily:
    G can't live without coffee in the morning, crisp, clean sheets, neighborhood walks, Pizzeria Mozza take-out, and listening to Howard Stern.

    G:  Emily can't live without to-do lists, candy, holiday traditions, sushi, and our cats. 

  5. What are activities that you do with each other when you share time together?

    Emily:
    We love trying out restaurants in L.A., taking Sloan to new parks, and binge-watching TV series (we're currently catching up on 'The Walking Dead,' 'Vinyl,' and 'Jessica Jones').

    G:
    Trying new restaurants, catching up on culture (anything on Netflix), and I've also been on a Zillow bender lately, pricing out dream homes for no reason.

  6. Where did you picture yourselves after four years of marriage and have you met your expectations?

    Emily:
    It's funny - I certainly thought about what we would be like, years into our marriage, but it was wayyyy down the line, like at 80 and 89 years, respectively. I imagined having kids around now and knew we'd have fun as parents and my expectations have only been exceeded by our current lives with Sloan.

    G:
    Four years, in the grand scheme, is not a very long time and I never thought about what we'd be doing at this point, aside from the possibility of having children. I'm really happy where we are and wouldn't have changed anything, aside from traveling a little more when Sloan was as portable as a loaf of bread.

  7. What is the most difficult part of marriage in general?

    Emily:
    I think the hardest thing about marriage is knowing that most of your disagreements will all, more or less, look the same. For us, that comes down to having different love languages and not always communicating effectively. I once told this to a friend who said, "Oh definitely. My husband and I have been having the same fight for the past three years...and that will most likely be the case for the rest of our lives." In some ways it's frustrating to feel like you're on a bit of a hamster wheel of sorts when it comes to disagreements, but also comforting to know that everyone deals with the same thing.

    G: The biggest challenge is the expectation that, because you've been together for so long, your partner should understand your perspective, without you having to explain it. Communication can turn into quips and short remarks, because you feel as though you're going through the same motions, but ultimately, it's a failure on both ends to properly convey and listen to what the other person is trying to say. I've often thought, "Hearing is easy, listening is hard," which is essentially what causes most disagreements.

  8. What is Emily’s FAVORITE meal? (Answered by G)

    Spaghetti and meatballs (homemade). 

    What is G’s FAVORITE meal?
    (Answered by Emily)

    Barbecue. 

  9. What are each other’s biggest fears and how do you help each other fight them?

    Emily:
    I think most of G's fears center around being a great father and not doing anything to jeopardize that role. I help him fight that by constantly reminding him that he's an incredible dad and that the light in her eyes when she sees him is reflective of that sentiment. 

    G:
    Emily's fears all stem from the sense of failure, which can be spread across both personal and professional circumstances. I try to help by reminding her to focus on the details she can control and not worry about things that she can't. Whenever she has a moment of doubt, I point out her past successes, how happy our daughter is, or any of the multitude of positive things we share and it usually allays her momentary anxieties. 

  10. Advice for spending four years with someone?

    Emily:
    Appreciate the little things, about life and each other. When you notice and acknowledge them, whether it's in the form of a compliment or thanking someone for putting the baby to bed, each person feels good about themselves. 

    G: Don't let petty arguments linger. Once you get past something, bury it and move on.

  11. Habit that you love about each other/habit that you hate.

    Emily: I love G's habit of keeping his work clothes on once he comes home. When I walk in the door, I make a beeline for the bedroom and change into the coziest sweats I can find, so it's endearing that he always looks so presentable. My least favorite habit is what he does while shaving to leave the sink looking the way it does. You'd think there was a flood or something based on how much water ends up on the counter and floor.

    G:
    Em does this thing where she'll sing the melody of a popular song and replace all the lyrics with a variation of the nickname she uses for me (it's too embarrassing to reveal for either of us), but it's really cute and endearing. The habit I dislike the most is when she kisses our cats on the mouth. 

  12. Describe your proudest moment(s) of one another - a time when you thought, “that’s why I am married to you."

    Emily:
    When G and I were at the market a few months back, we checked out together, but then momentarily got separated while I stalled near the candy aisle. I was about twenty feet behind him leaving the store where I could see an elderly homeless man outside who was asking for money. I was already reaching into my purse, but when I looked up ahead of me, there was G, putting money into his cup. When we got to the car I was teary eyed and thanked him for being such a sweet and thoughtful person.

    G: This has happened a few times, but whenever we see a stray animal, Em is the first to calmly approach it to figure out how to help/find their owner. She'll cross traffic, scale fences and do whatever it takes to ensure the animal's safety. It's one of her most incredible qualities and is always a reminder of how compassionate she is.

  13. How do you give each other constructive criticism when handling Sloan?

    Emily:
     Perhaps it's because we haven't been parents all that long, but G and I are always on the same page when it comes to raising Sloan. I can't think of a time when I thought that G wasn't approaching something in the right way. And of course if there's something little (like making sure to close the lid to her diaper pail), we're just really straightforward with each other since it makes both of our lives easier.

    G: Giving each other feedback is pretty easy, since we usually agree on handling Sloan situations. On the rare times we disagree, we simply think what the best action for the baby and put our opinions aside.

  14. One word to sum up the other. 

    Emily (about G): Sharp.

    G (about Emily):
    Loving.

    P.S. Anniversaries 1, 2, and 3.