Today is our six-year wedding anniversary! Since we're dedicating so much attention to celebrating the company's ten year anniversary with a party later this week and I left town this weekend for a girls' weekend, it feels in many ways like the lead-up to G and my anniversary has almost come as an after-thought this year. That isn't to say we won't be celebrating—we have plans to go to one of our favorite restaurants tonight—but it certainly feels less of a celebration than it has in years past, which in many ways is like a marriage itself. I'm reminded on a daily basis that marrying G was the best decision of my life, but like any marriage, it isn't always perfect. For this year's questionnaire, we asked Leslie to come up with questions that dive into the nitty gritty of a marriage. We haven't seen the other's answers, until now:
Stay tuned for a Facebook Live (and Instagram Live) at 10 AM, PST!
1. You've been married for six years, but together for ten and working together for eight. What still manages to surprise you?
Emily: How good he is at most everything. He's one of those people who knows the answer, no matter the topic (be it '80s trivia or a historical event).
G: The fact that, after all that time, we’ve managed to not only remain focused on our work and family, but that we continue to seek ways to improve every aspect of the relationship.
2. Three words that best describe your marriage at this point?
Emily: Supportive, evolving, collaborative.
G: Communicative, compassionate, nurturing.
3. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in your marriage over the past year?
Emily: The way I see our relationship, it's kind of broken into three separate roles (husband and wife, business partners, and parents) and the vast majority—I'd say 95% of our obstacles—are work-related. The idea that we're always shifting between these roles makes it difficult to know the best, or perhaps most appropriate ways, to address each other. So if there's something that bothers me when we're in the office, I don't address G like a co-worker, but as my husband. It's something we've both actively worked on and it really helped us go from this slightly bickering place to one that's a lot more tolerant.
G: I’ve actively been working on becoming more open and transparent with my feelings, which has also allowed me to become more understanding and patient. We don’t have massive fights, but whenever we do argue, it typically stems from a lack of appreciation of the other person’s perspective, or simply the inability to share what you really mean or want. Either way, the changes I’ve made have lead to a much healthier expression and connection.
4. What's your best memory from the past year?
Emily: This spontaneous Saturday spent as a family. We didn't have any plans and just got in the car and headed to this old-fashioned restaurant where it felt like we were almost camping. We had a wonderful brunch (even Sloan was on her best behavior), then G indulged me and took me to one of my favorite antique marts. We then went to the beach and though it was a lovely day, we had almost the whole place to ourselves. I just remember thinking there was no place I'd rather be than with my two favorite people.
G: The highlight from the past year isn’t marriage related, but family related. Watching Sloan grow and evolve since starting school has been amazing and so rewarding. It’s made us closer as a family and as a couple.
5. Favorite thing the other regularly does?
Emily: G is very gracious about giving me the last bit of coffee in the pot each morning. And when he does it, he always asks, "fill ya up, hon?" like he's this sweet, elderly waitress who works in a diner. It never fails to make me smile.
6. Least favorite thing the other regularly does?
Emily: When he says he's going to do something and then forgets. But at least he's begun to finally realize that he needs reminders and typically sets up two for himself to make sure things don't slip through the cracks.
G: She’s messy, but then complains that the house is a mess.
7. What was your most recent argument about, and how did you resolve it?
Emily: We have a house rule that Sloan doesn't watch TV during the week, but the other day, I called G looking to speak to Sloan and she was watching a movie. I was annoyed that he hadn't admitted that she was just having a rough afternoon and he needed a little break and instead, he kind of snapped at me. I had another call coming in, so I took it, and when I called him back, I realized it just wasn't worth even turning it into an argument. I understood what had happened and instead of hashing it out, I decided to let it go. The term 'pick your battles' really came into play there.
G: I honestly don’t remember. When things are resolved, I let it go.
8. What about the last fight that kept you up at night?
Emily: As part of our wedding vows, we both promised to not go to bed angry. And I can't say for suuuuure that's never happened, but I honestly can't think of a time where that was the case. So I'm proud to say that I've never been kept up at night because of a fight.
G: To the previous question, I don’t let arguments linger in my mind. If it's not resolved, I’ll work to find a resolution, but it takes both people to find common ground. If Em is there and I’m not, I’ll find a way to get there. If she’s not ready and I am, I’ll let her take her time and work through the process, but I’m not going to dwell on what she’s thinking, she’ll share when she’s ready.
9. Do you ever disagree in front of Sloan? Why or why not?
Emily: We do, but never in a way that is anything but civil. I think it's really important for her to see actual human interaction and that a full range of emotions should be shown. Not too long ago, I raised my voice a little and then when she looked at me, I crouched down and in very simple terms said, 'Mommy's a little angry. And that's okay. But it wasn't good that I yelled.' Far too often I think parents put this pressure on themselves to shield their children from everything and I think it's helpful to see people interacting in a way that's of course productive and courteous.
G: Sometimes, but we’re very mindful of talking to each other in a calm tone and if we feel the emotions rising, we’ll move away and essentially use Sloan as the reason we shouldn’t be arguing at that moment.
10. What have you grown to appreciate about the other that you didn't necessarily love at the beginning?
Emily: By no means was G ever an overly cautious driver, but there were times when I kind of encouraged him to speed through a yellow light or something along those lines. And now I'm very grateful for how good of a driver he is, especially when we have Sloan in the car. Plus it's taught me to be a bit more patient behind the wheel myself.
G: There’s a nine-year age difference between us and while it didn’t necessarily bother me early on, she was more emotionally extraverted than I was, which wasn’t my comfort zone. Over the years, I’ve grown more comfortable with how she expresses herself and it’s something I love most about her.
11. What does a perfect day look like for the other?
Emily: Get up at a reasonable hour (even 7:30 is adequate), read a little news in bed, get up and have coffee, go for a long bike ride with friends in Malibu, stop for lunch, come home to take a long shower, read a little, listen to some music, go out to dinner as a family, and then come home to watch a movie together.
G: I feel like we should answer this for ourselves, so mine would be an early morning ride, a massive lunch, followed by a intense massage, then a massive dinner with friends.
12. As Sloan grows up, are you satisfied with the amount of time you spend together as a couple, rather than as a family unit?
Emily: I think we strike a really nice balance. G and I have always prioritized our marriage, even after we became parents, and that remains the case. But we've also found that as Sloan gets older, she's even more fun to be with, which makes going out with her all the more enjoyable. Of course that's not to say there aren't times when at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday, I wouldn't prefer to be eating bagels in bed while watching a marathon of our favorite tv show ;)
G: We’re together almost 24/7, but it’s more about the type of time spent, rather than the amount. We still make it a priority to go on date nights, but also spend active time apart, because it’s simply not natural to be connected to your spouse ALL THE TIME.
13. Is there anything you thought you'd accomplish together in the past year that you didn't?
Emily: I figured we'd do one last international trip without Sloan since we'd done that the past two years (in both France and Japan). I take full responsibility though, since I find it even more difficult to leave her now that she's so hyper aware of what's going on.
G: I thought we might travel more, but that’s happening this year.
14. What makes the other feel most loved?
Emily: For G, it's more about small gestures: telling him he's made me the best cup of coffee/plate of spaghetti, etc, giving him positive feedback about something he's done at work, noticing how strong he looks (he's been doing 100 pushups a day for the past week or so and looks incredible) or just hugging him.
G: Emily is a “words of affirmation” speaker, so I know she feels the most love when I give support or encouragement by expressing myself directly and vocally.
15. You've both faced entirely new obstacles and demands at work this year as the team has grown. How have you kept this from impacting your relationship?
Emily: Lots of words of affirmation. I like to think of ourselves as each other's biggest cheerleaders and so simply recognizing the work someone's done and saying that you're impressed or proud goes a long way.
G: I’ve actively pursued outside contacts and resources to reshape my role and our company, which has been exciting for both of us. It’s given me more confidence and autonomy, which has also changed how Em sees and appreciates the opportunity we have to build something great.
16. What's the other's greatest weakness and greatest strength?
Emily: His greatest weakness is prioritizing things that need to be done. It's hard to narrow down his greatest strength, but if I were to choose just one, it would be the kind of father he is to Sloan.
G: Emily is the most detailed oriented person I know, but doesn’t embrace or welcome change very quickly.
17. What is one thing you would change about your marriage right now?
Emily: It's not even really marriage-related, but more about space. I think if we had just a touch more storage or closet area, that would be nice.
G: We’re constantly changing, so there’s not one thing to pinpoint. Life is fluid and I try not getting stuck on problems that I can’t fix.
18. Is this what you expected marriage to be like? What surprises you the most?
Emily: It really is for me. I have two wonderful role models in my parents who are still very much in love after 35+ years. And our relationship mirrors theirs in many ways, from how we entertain to the way we prioritize each other. What surprises me is that we're able to spend so much time together and not kill each other. We're remarkably compatible.
G: My parents are divorced, so my original viewpoint of what marriage is wasn’t formed by a healthy example. However, that experience shaped how I didn’t want to act and relate to my spouse, so the most surprising thing is how easy it is to be married when you actually care about the other person.
19. What's one thing the other could improve on? And one thing you could improve on?
Emily: G could be a bit more social, which he knows and has been actively working on, which I admire. As for me, I could learn to be a lot nicer to myself.
G: I definitely need to work on following through on a task, rather than pushing things around and deeming certain things important, while ignoring others. Em can work on letting go a little bit and not feeling the need to perfect or control every aspect of her life.
20. What's the best piece of advice you've received about being married?
Emily: Make sure the other person always feels loved.
G: Make her happiness part of your happiness.
21. What's your favorite thing about the other?
Emily: He's the most giving, generous person I know.
G: She’s not an easy laugh, but when I hit the right note and she starts rolling with laughter, I feel like my task on Earth has been fulfilled.