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Our (love) Story

Happy 10 Year Anniversary, Brian

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Brian and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary today. TEN YEARS. It’s actually 16 years together in total. He’s truly my soulmate, best friend, and generally my most favorite person in the world.  And folks, I’m happy to say that after some rockier years we are more solid than we have ever been because of some recent changes that we’ve made. You might be dying to know what those changes are, but first a quick bio of our relationship. No one loves a love story like I do, so while this may not be everyone’s version of a good post, if you are into shows that involve, say, Chris Harrison or Felicity and Ben then you, too, might be into this post. It only took me 14 hours to write/edit but it’s something I want our kids to eventually read, it’s something that many of you might relate to, and it’s a story that is so fun to relive. Here we go. 

The second time we hung out ... I think.
The second time we hung out … I think.

Brian and I met our senior year of college at the University of Oregon, in the year 2000. He was acting, shirtless, and in a play where I was in the audience, falling in love with his surprisingly ample chest hair. My friend was the stage manager and I begged him for an intro. It was all very immediate. That night we talked until 4am about our mutual love of The Coen Brothers and Chuck Palahniuk novels, my love of Dido and his lack of Felicity knowledge, etc. He played with my hair until I fell asleep. No kiss. Nothing… The next day as he drove me home we listened to the radio and both started singing the chorus of the same cheesy pop song at the exact same time and I remember thinking, I am going to marry this man. He felt like home, instantly and I was immediately in love.

He didn’t call for 5 days. I didn’t have his number and it was before social media. I was so hurt and confused, but assertive, so I finally tracked it down and he gave me a “Shoot, can’t talk now, I have friends over” excuse. Of course I’m no idiot, I knew what had happened. There was somebody else. He called back and asked if he could come over and talk. I said, sure and the second he sat down I called him out on it. He said he had been trying to get out of the friend zone for a year with this girl and that they had just gotten together a week before we met. He was super confused and couldn’t stop thinking about me, but he felt like he had to give it a try with her. Blah, Blah. We went out that night and had so much fun. Too much fun. Nothing happened, except that I felt confirmed that we should be together because we were the same person.  The way we communicated, our sense of humor, how much we had in common, how much we made each other laugh was absolutely unmistakable. He dropped me off. I went inside and cried. And two days later I called him, and asked him to coffee. 

I told him that we needed to be together. That it wasn’t up to us, that clearly the universe thought that we should be together. It wasn’t just our chemistry, it was like our personalities met and they melted into each other instantly. He looked at me with a smirk and said, “I know. I broke up with her last night.” 

We were inseparable for months. We listened to David Gray and Coldplay, went to pretentious art house movies and bought vintage t-shirts at thrift stores. As I fell deeper and deeper in love with him I realized that it wasn’t being reciprocated as much, WHICH SUCKED. He started disengaging so instead of me waiting until my heart was demolished, I broke up with him. He told me that he didn’t really know who he was and was unable to go there. I must have had the confidence to know that we would get back together because I wasn’t that heartbroken. Of course weeks later when I saw him on campus at 9am with a girl, looking all disheveled, my heart felt like it was full of warm acid and my stomach felt like the outer lining was made of cement. Then I was heartbroken. 

A month later he called and begged to get back together and while I tried to resist, I took him back. Gladly. I hadn’t stopped loving him and missed his everything. But we took it slow. Clearly this guy wasn’t ready for this. 

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Over the next couple years we graduated, I went to Europe for 2 months with my best friend, then Brian and I moved to Sacramento and lived with his parents to save money for a move to New York. 

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We landed with $3k and 22 year old dreams of adulthood. That pic above is the day we road tripped from Sacramento to New York. We wanted to bring our west coast version of cool to the east coast which apparently meant flavor savers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirts. Dear God. We found a 350 square foot studio in the East Village for $1200 and proudly called it home. He went to grad school at NYU for theater while I walked dogs and bartended, and we slowly grew into our adult selves. But he still wasn’t ready (and neither was I to be honest). Trying to find yourself in New York while tied to someone from college felt strangely constricting and after realizing that we weren’t connecting, and that he simply wasn’t ready to really BE together, we broke up. 

I cried every morning for hours for a month, then one day woke up feeling better. A therapist that was a regular at my bar told me to “exercise my sadness” which meant to wake up, face the sadness, and let yourself cry. Before that I was literally crying while taking drink orders –  I was so incredibly heart broken and not coping well. But it worked, you guys.

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We took 6 months of space, and when you are 22 and a bartender in New York that meant a lot happened (for both of us). Hilariously we have never ever, ever spoken about that time – even now! It wouldn’t be that painful, it was 13 years ago!!! But still – he doesn’t know what I did or didn’t do, and likewise (P.S. He thinks it’s sooooooo much worse which I’m letting him believe). When he came back he begged and begged, saying that he had grown up, that he was ready, that I was his #1 priority, etc. I believed him. Sure, I made him work for it, but I believed him. 

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He moved in with me, we lived our 20’s lives in New York together. We were so happy. We worked on our careers, we went out a lot, we made amazing friends, and lived a ridiculously fun 20’s life. We adopted some cats and as soon as he graduated from grad school, he booked his first big off broadway show and got an agent. He felt like he was ready. He proposed to me when we were 26. Which now of course sounds so insanely young. It was in central park, with candles and his friends playing our song on the acoustic guitar. It was shocking and amazing and romantic and impulsive and yet totally right. We were so young, but at the time we had already been together for basically 5 years and it felt like it was the right time.

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We got married a year later. Our budget was $7k. I bought a $60 dress off eBay, a ring at an antique store, and we had a taco truck WAY BEFORE THEY WERE COOL to cater it. It was the best, laid back, low key, wonderful night of my life – before Pinterest, blogs, pressure, or options. It was perfect for us. He was, and is, the best man I’ve ever met and I knew how lucky I was to be locking him down so young. 

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On our honeymoon in Montreal, we made a list of promises to each other, one of which was that we would prioritize our own personal happiness over the happiness of each other or our kids. Oh how naive (and yet so wise) that was. We were so happy at the time that we didn’t know the cause or result of personal or collective unhappiness. I had no idea how much his happiness (or lack thereof) would affect my own so much. We lived for another year in New York until he became restless and unhappy and, while I couldn’t have been happier in New York, I agreed that following his heart (and the hollywood gold rush) was the right move.

The move to LA was the beginning of our more challenging years – but maybe it was also because we were in our late 20’s, which tends to be a pivotable time in many people’s lives. We moved to Santa Monica 6 days before the writer’s strike which shut down Hollywood for years and it has never recovered. We had no friends, no jobs, and were in this extremely alienating city that made you feel old every time you went out to dinner. After months of crying and drinking too much we looked at each other and knew we had to change our situation. We left for Vietnam the following Monday and stayed there ’til the strike ended. It was what we needed and after we came back we moved to the east side and restarted our LA life. I auditioned for DesignStar, Brian got a new agent, booked a couple plays and it was looking on the up and up. 

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But then I won DesignStar, started shooting Secrets From A Stylist and he was wildly supportive, but LA wasn’t as friendly to him as it was to me. Without ripping Hollywood apart too much it’s fair to say that talent is valued far below most things and my resentment towards this industry was only matched by Brian’s disillusionment towards it. Acting was his passion, and I don’t use that word lightly. He went to a 3 year conservatory in New York that is so intense and basically sets you up for success (or so they were told). He had really dedicated his life to it as an artist, not for fame but as a performer, as his sole creative outlet. To not succeed was devastating to him. As I was shooting 60 hours a week and getting so much attention, he was falling deeper and deeper into situational depression.

We grew apart. After a while we realized we were in a really not so good place. We both knew that we were meant to be together, but we didn’t know how to get it back. We didn’t fight, and we were still being romantic (at times), but his depression and my absence deeply affected our relationship. 

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He made a shift and decided to assistant direct an indie film in Nicaragua for 6 weeks. He left and due to the lack of cell service and the time difference we only spoke twice in six weeks. It was almost like a trial separation that we didn’t label. Neither of us missed each other. After 10 years of an extremely strong loving, border-line perfect relationship, 10 years of being emotionally and physically so connected to each other, neither of us missed each other for six weeks. Once I realized that fact, I was devastated. The night he got back we cried about how much we didn’t miss each other and decided to enact Extreme Marriage Makeover, 2012. We would go on new dates, together, without our friends (crutches). We would avoid our easy local date joints and instead push ourselves into having real experiences and adventures again together. 

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Things got better. Then he decided to quit auditioning. Not necessarily quit “acting, ” but he no longer wanted to do the “soul-stealing, driving-to-santa-monica-to-audition-to-be-a-dead-person-in-NCIS-but-then-not-get-it-and-be-super-depressed” auditioning. Unless you’ve been an actor, or have closely known one, you can’t understand how soul destroying that career can be. 

Things got even better. So much better. He felt liberated and free, and I stopped shooting the show and had more time for him and us. He was still performing and doing improv and during the day was doing real estate. We moved, got pregnant, miscarried, got pregnant again, bought our house, and had a baby. We were happy. Pretty happy. 

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High rollers on a yacht – he shaved a goatie for the costume.

The year after Charlie was born we were really happy. He was, and still is, the best dad that I’ve ever known. He is caring, patient, attentive, responsible, hardworking, sacrificing, full of compromise, and intelligent conversation with both me and our kids. We’re on the same page and we created this extremely loving, happy family and home. The first year of Charlie’s life I was so smitten by him. Being a good dad is endlessly attractive and I spent hours staring at him thinking thank God I married this guy. 

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But then … the stress of parenthood brings its own challenges as many of you know.

When Charlie was about a year old, Brian realized how unfulfilled he was with his career and he missed being creative. He started definitely not liking the real estate gig (I should have guessed when he said “ugh, I hate going inside strangers’ houses”) and he slipped back into situational depression. 

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But then, he found a therapist that has changed his life, and ours. SO MUCH. It’s a particular style called Narrative Therapy and it’s amazing and something that he would like you all to know about, so we felt compelled to share.

Narrative Therapy is less about psychoanalysis or analyzing the past/parents/childhood and instead helping people realize that they are in charge of their own story and how they tell it to themselves and others. I’ve only sat in on a couple sessions, but it’s really about listening and helping understand how they can open up the perception of their life and what steps they need to do to change it. Brian, like many people I know, felt totally paralyzed. He was so devastated from not acting, something he thought he would do forever. He was full of “cannot’s, ” and “no’s, ” and reasons why he couldn’t move forward or succeed despite being one of the best, smartest, most capable, intelligent, funny, and wonderful people in the world. 

It helped so much. He felt better after a couple of months and the changes I saw in him were insane. He was happier, lighter, and full of optimism, motivation and humor. It wasn’t instant, but it was noticeable. 

Then we had another baby, our little Ellie-Bird.

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The last year has been full of so much love and stress, and we did the dance that only two parents with two kids under three do. Some days were great, and ultimately we have been in a really good place, but there was this underlying exhaustion and stress with trying to keep up with life. To cope with how hard we both felt that we were working, we started secretly competing, parenting-wise. Not competing for their love, but tallying our individual sacrifice and work. We just felt so overworked individually that we were unable to see how much the other person was doing. He invited me to his therapy session to talk about it and I said, weeping, how I just didn’t feel acknowledged. I didn’t need a parade everyday, but I really felt that he wasn’t seeing how hard I was working to support us, and how good of a mom I was being all the while.  He felt so bad, so terrible and, yet,  he felt the same way. He was trying so hard to start his now successful video production company and was still so attentive and exhaustingly loving towards our now two kids, but I didn’t really give him the recognition he felt he deserved either. 

Acknowledgment of hard work is highly underused in our society. Appreciation of it is even more rare. Sure, we say thank you for the big stuff – thanks for letting me go out with my girlfriends, or letting me sleep in on Saturday morning, but the daily hard work goes often unnoticed. And after years of feeling unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unappreciated, even the strongest of marriages can breed resentment. Despite how honest, communicative, respectful, faithful, and fun you are with your partner, resentment is a small but powerful poison that without its antidote can kill or weaken even the healthiest of marriages – something I talked about in my anniversary post last year. Our problems weren’t that we didn’t get along, or that we were fundamentally different people, or even bigger, unfaithful, disrespectful, unsupportive. No, our problem was that we were both too busy and exhausted to look at what the other person was sacrificing and compromising on a daily basis and say, thank you so much

This one thing has made us so much happier and has made us fall so much deeper in love. When I go on business trips he now knows how appreciative I am that he is the kind of dad that can handle two kids all night for three nights on his own. And I feel, finally, that he knows that those business trips aren’t a vacation for me and that they are indeed work, work that will never replace the happiness I feel when I’m with my family. It’s gotten infectious and reciprocal – where I know that we both genuinely really, really see and appreciate how much and how hard we are both working as people and parents. 

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I know that we aren’t the only ones that had this problem, which is why I’m writing about it. I know this because every single person in my life feels this way – both man and woman. NO ONE feels as appreciated as they feel they deserve to be, which begs the question – WHY DON’T WE ALL TRY TO APPRECIATE EACH OTHER MORE?????

Additionally, we now give each other a night off GUILT-FREE. Doing bedtime by yourself with 2 kids under 3 isn’t easy, but it’s doable. So now we each know that we can take one night to go out with friends, get a massage, go shopping, or watch a movie without the other saying anything but, “have so much fun.” It’s been amazing. Some weeks I don’t even take mine, but knowing that I have it feels so good. You guys, DO THIS.

Meanwhile now that we are learning how to handle two kids he is going to get back into acting – doing theater, more improv, taking some creative classes so that he feels like he is using that muscle that he spent years developing – something that I get nervous about, but super supportive because I know he needs it.

To be able to say that 16 years in we are happier than ever is something I don’t take for granted. The longer you are married the more lessons you learn, right? One big one that we have learned is while you should put family first, you can’t neglect your own happiness or it can destroy the family you are working so hard to protect. Individual happiness is one of the true keys to a good marriage, and with us both being happy, we are in such a good place with each other. But we have many more lessons to learn, I’m sure.

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If I had to give one piece of advice to someone before getting married it would be to truly like the person you are marrying. It’s so easy to love someone, but it’s harder to really like them. Marry your best friend. Marry the person you have the most fun with and who you want to hang out with. I think you can get through any marital problem if you are best friends and I’m so happy to say that this man is truly my best friend, forever, and I love him more than I ever thought I could.

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So that’s our love story. 16 years. Meeting your person when you are 21 is tricky, but we helped raise each other, we’ve been there for each other through everything, and we’ve gotten stronger, happier, and fallen even more in love every day. I know we are very, very lucky. 

Brian, ours is a love story – not grand or fancy, but still epic. If I didn’t know you and you were in the middle of a room of strangers, I would choose you immediately, I know it. I would be drawn to your face, shoulders, the kindness in your hazel eyes and your loving, protective soul. And your sense of humor. And your still-ample chest hair. No one is as good as you are, and no one loves anybody as much as I love you. Happy Anniversary, my love. 

To quote the end of our marriage vows 10 years ago, Grow old with me … the best is yet to be. 

Here’s to 50 more years. I love you.

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*For those of you who are curious how we are celebrating …. I’m traveling today to Vancouver to speak at IDS West (a design conference), so the week after next we are going to Sacramento to relax at his parents, then leave the kids with them while we head to Napa for two nights of grown-up honeymoon time. Then a week later we are throwing a very intimate party, celebrating here with our best friends where we will watch the wedding video that we haven’t seen in YEARS, which will be so fun. Have a great weekend, folks. 

**Pushing publish on this gives me anxiety even though Brian, Brady, Sara, and Becca all read through it and helped me edit so the tone was neither ‘we have problems’ nor ‘we are perfect’ nor ‘I know everything about everything’. Someone, somewhere will find something negative to say, but ultimately my goal is that by telling our love story and how we handle average marital issues, readers can relate and feel inspired or confidant in their own relationship. We are just two human beings in love, working through life, careers, marriage, depression, and parenthood in the best most positive way possible, like everyone else. Thanks for reading (and commenting). 

*** If you want to see us in action, me pitching Brian our new kitchen design LIVE, check it out on my Facebook Page. Hint: He mostly likes it, except for one thing…

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  1. Thank you for sharing. This was beautiful. Your love story rivals every love story ever told.

    1. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this. Happy anniversary!

  2. Bravo and Congrats to you both! I rarely comment on blogs, but I sincerely appreciate how open you’ve been about the ups and downs of marriage. My husband and I met in college and recently celebrated our 11th anniversary, also with two kids, and your comment about appreciating the other more and verbalizing it deeply resonates with us as well. Yes! That is something that has saved us. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful story- best thing I’ve read today by far. Happy Anniversary!!

  3. Wonderful, delightful post, Emily. I smiled, laughed and teared up several times as I read it. Relationships are hard work and your story will be familiar in subtle ways to many of your readers. The fact that you and Brian always seemed to find your way back to one another says that you were meant to be together. The two of you have created a beautiful family. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary…and may there be many, many more!

    1. What Robby said, exactly.

  4. Simply put, this post gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing your love story.

  5. I would just like to say I really enjoyed and appreciated the real-ness of this post. Wishing you both many more years of happiness!

  6. Emily, I love this! Thank you for hitting publish! I’ve been married 1.5 years and will probably be ready for kids in another 1-2 years. This is all so helpful and real and important. Saving this advice for later!

  7. You guys are amazing. Tears to my old eyes. Congratulations on a truly amazing, realistic life.

  8. Thank you for your honesty. It is a relief to know that marriage doesn’t have to be constantly perfect and rainbows and unicorns to be a happy marriage. Sometimes the picture perfect world that I see on various social media outlets makes me look inside and feel inadequate. Thank you for sharing about your therapy as well. It is truly appreciated.

  9. Beautiful and congratulations! Thanks for sharing! I met my now husband when I was only 19 and we got married young and relatively fast (it’s the Mormon way ;)). We’re now in our late twenties with two boys roughly the age of your sweet kids and while we are still deeply in love and connected, the personal happiness thing has been much harder to figure out! It’s rough when the life you envisioned for yourself doesn’t pan out or ends up not being as enjoyable as you hoped. I feel like we are in the thick of trying to figure ourselves out, and still growing up, but with two kids that depend on us and that has definitely been hard. Your story brings me hope! Thanks again!

    1. Megan, your comment resonated with me because I was married at 21 (LDS also) and, while being a stay-at-home mom to small children, I often wondered why living my “divine nature” wasn’t making me happy. After 19 married years and six kids (the oldest is 17 and the youngest is 4), I think if I had stopped focusing on what I lost or who I wasn’t anymore, and thought about what I had gained, I might have found more happiness early on.

      Sophia, a few comments down, commented on every night thinking about something you love about your spouse, or your children, or yourself or your day. Elder Eyring recently talked about how every night he would stop and remember at least one thing the Lord had done for him that day. It really works. Also, as Emily said, getting time alone just for me is really important. When we were broke students, I would just go to Barnes and Noble and read magazines. I’ve gone out to dinner alone, to the movies, taken a photography class, learned bee keeping, trained for a triathlon or had a friend’s night.

      It’s also okay not to love every minute of motherhood. I loathe helping with homework, getting kids to do chores and potty training. But now as my oldest is on the cusp of adulthood, I have so much joy in who he has become. What’s hard about parenting is that you usually don’t see the results of your labors for years, decades or even a lifetime. I loved to dress my little ones in cute clothes because at least right then, I could be rewarded.

      Also, as I have watched my mother cope with how four of her seven children have made unfortunate life choices, I find myself appreciating more the innocence of my young children. Yes, every wall in my house has been drawn on, my floor has breakfast cereal all over it, and somedays the whining and bickering makes me want to scream, but my kids are MINE right now; they love me unconditionally (even when they say I am the meanest mom); they believe in me unconditionally and I can still fix almost all the problems in their lives. Regardless of what choices they will make later in their lives, good or heartbreaking, right now they belong to my husband and I.

      Marriage and parenting are challenges. And like most challenges, they tax you to your limits; they force change. But also like most challenges, the rewards outweigh the sacrifices. Good luck with your young family.

      1. I love this comment so much, Jamie. You sound like an incredible, hard-working, loving mom. Yes they are ours now, yes we need to focus on our gains. It’s hard but a good reminder. xx

      2. Thanks for the advice about not having to love everything about having kids. These are words we never hear (at least spoken aloud). I have some anxiety about having children because there are gross, irritating, tiresome aspects and a lot of moms whitewash them or will admonish me, unhelpfully, with “Well, you better not have a baby then.”

        I appreciate this middle ground you’ve set out here. Really well-stated and helpful.

    2. Dear Emily,

      you are an incredible person and I think I haven’t meet anyone with such a big heart and honest mind. I’m almost in shock when I read your posts about your private life, they are so truly open and … I don’t know how to explain it … beautiful and powerful. I love to read them to my partner, since we both can learn from your words and experience. I wish you and Brian many many happy and profound years together… an eternity!

      Happy anniversary! <3

  10. BEAUTIFUL! Happy Anniversary from a total stranger, but huge fan! 🙂

  11. Love Love LOVE everything about this! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Emily. This is why I will forever love you and this space you’ve created — for design, for family. Thank you so much for putting your heart out there. We’re on the same train — two babies, two crazy careers and a clock that seems to tick faster each day. It’s so tough and so thrilling. Thank you for reminding me how much I love my husband and how necessary it is to tell him so. Enjoy!

    1. You, too! and thank you. xx

  13. This was so special, actually helpful, and like all good love stories I cried at the end on your message to Brian. Congratulations! And thank you for braving to put yourself out there and share such a close to your heart personal story.

  14. That was a lovely and uplifting love story. Thank you for always sharing your life stories with such openness. Now I want to call all my loved ones and let them know that I appreciate them 🙂

    If you are looking for outings in the Sacramento area, Ashley at hitherandthither.net is based in Davis and has some great looking activities on her blog.

  15. I love this, and love you for being brave enough to write (and post!) it. Happy anniversary!

  16. One of the best posts you have ever written. I’m divorced and it gives me so much hope. Please believe when I say I am _never_ moved enough to comment on a blog and yet here I am…

  17. My husband and I have two kids about the same ages as yours and it is so, so easy to get caught up in how stressful and exhausting life is right now. One thing we do that has really helped me is every night before bed, we each have to talk about somethjng we liked about the day, something we are looking forward to, something we like about each of our daughters, and something we like about each other. It sounds silly but it forces a meaningful conversation even when you’re tired and pushes you to notice and appreciate the positives. After two years of this I can say it’s one of the best things we do for our marriage.

    1. Sophia, that is great advice! After 19 years of marriage, I know that if you look for the bad, you will find it, but if you look for the good, you will be happier and the bad won’t matter as much

      1. I’m going to do this, too. it sounds funny but so does most of the stuff I believe in. thank you for reminding me 🙂

        1. Thank you for this post, Emily! I was really needing this message right about now in my life and marriage. All the best; you guys deserve it.

          Happy anniversary!

  18. As a 22 year old single person, I can only hope to one day find a relationship that’s as loving, honest, sacrificial, and joyful as your’s and Brian’s seems to be. Happy anniversary Henderson’s and as always, thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you. I wish you luck and know you’ll succeed because you are already open to this story which is neither traditional nor modern. xx

  19. Ups, downs, and confusion seem to be a norm in marriages that people don’t prepare you for! Thanks for the reminder of the miraculous affects of acknowledging and showing appreciation for your spouse.

  20. This was such a thoughtful and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing such intimate moments from your life and marriage.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing! Relationships always look perfect from the outside. Your story has inspired me to reflect on my marriage and work on our happiness. Thank you, I am eternally grateful.

  22. So real, so wise, so good. I’m really impressed with you both.

  23. Congratulations! Love you being so frank and sharing your very real story. Marriage often is over romaticized so think it is important to talk about the day to day stuff and that you need to nurture your marriage and most importantly nurture yourself for it/you to blossom and grow. Made me think about how I can appreciate my own spouse even more (and others in my life as well). Thanks for sharing what can happen when you do that and for your being a little vulnerable in the process.

    1. Thank you 🙂 Honestly I did it for us with the slight hope that others would gleam some of the advice from our mistakes and successes, so thank you 🙂

  24. Happy 10th Anniversary!! You guys are such an inspiring couple ; )

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  25. I’ve been a longtime follower and fan but have never commented before…just wanted to say how great it is to get such a refreshingly real story of a marriage, with all its ups and downs. You’re an inspiration!

    1. Thank you. … for your long-time following, your first time commenting and the fact that you said something nice. thank you 🙂

  26. So honest, touching and inspiring. If anyone finds something negative to say, it’s definitely a reflection of their ugly heart and not of your beautiful one.

    1. so far so good!! thank you xx

  27. I don’t usually comment on things, but that was such a sweet post. Thanks for being so vulnerable and sharing your story.

  28. Thank you Emily. Yours is a lovely story. It is thoughtful and true and I appreciate you for sharing it. I have learned something today about love and that is a very valuable lesson.

  29. Lovely! thanks for sharing!

    1. GAh. I cry every time I read it (and yes, this post has been so good for us, too – we both feel so loved, supported and validated in our actions, so thank you). xx

      1. What a lovely tribute to the life you have built together. I needed to be reminded today that good relationships require dedication and continuous work, and that amidst it all, a strong sense of self is essential to maintaining balance. Thank you.

      2. This. THIS. is a love story. Not the Disney princess stories I grew up watching. I’m 24 and have been dating my guy for 2 1/2 years (I met him at 21) and I know what it is to be deeply in love with my best friend, and to be truthful, his ample chest hair 😉 Sometimes I forget how wonderful our relationship is. It isn’t because we don’t fight (because we do) or that we are the same people (we absolutely aren’t) but because no one makes me laugh like him, makes my heart skip a beat every time I see his name come up on my phone. Even if it’s a silly joke at my expense at least I know that he’s thinking of me and I feel like the only girl in the room. I’m scared for a lifetime and the changes and challenges we will inevitably hit but reading every word (and shedding tears at the end) of your and Brian’s story I know we’ll be good, because in a crowded room I would pick him. Every. Single. Time.
        Thank you so much for sharing, Emily.

      3. Thanks for sharing, that’s such an insightful post ! We’ve been through lots of high’s and low’s too in our couple with two kids and 10 years anniversary coming next year, and 15 years together, and your advice about appreciation is the best of all ! Thanks for sharing, and happy more 50 years !

  30. Echoing everyone else who said “thank you for sharing your heart and home with us.” I can appreciate why you had hesitation hitting publish, but am so glad you did. Thank you and have a wonderful 10-year anniversary!

  31. This is why you’re my FAVORITE. You write about real life in such a beautifully, positive way that very few can articulate well. It’s absolutely refreshing. I’ve been with my spouse for 10 years and we have 2 kids the same age as yours (which is why I started reading!), and your posts on your family/struggles/JOYS/lives have been a true encouragement to me. I also adore my imperfectly/perfect life and while I’m personally in the midst of a tougher year of marriage, I LOVE hearing others stories of trying new things, never giving up, and that it keeps getting better. There’s nothing like knowing you’re not alone in this world. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you for sharing this. It was a loving, thoughtful post.

    2. That is awesome! My husband and I just celebrated 5 years on the 24th. lots of ups and downs and kids changes everything but overall I think we are really strong right now. My mom always says you have good years and bad years as a married couple. I think it’s really true.

  32. Thank you so much for sharing this!! And congratulations on 10 years married! I’m so glad you hit publish – it is nice to read honest words about life and marriage. So much of society only shows the good times, and one is left thinking that if you’re life isn’t perfect then something must be wrong. It’s nice to see how hard life can be, and also how rewarding it can be all at the same time.

  33. That was beautiful. Scott and I met when we were 21 as well. I can’t believe it’s been so long. And we have had some very similar ups and downs. Its nice to know that there are a lot of people in the same boat.

  34. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “marry your best friend.” My husband and I just celebrated our 2 year anniversary on Tuesday. We knew each other growing up and in high school I resisted dating him because he was just a friend. I had my mind set on dating and marrying a guy I was in LOVE with. 8 years later, we reconnected, dated, and got married and I can’t stress enough how happy I am that I married him who is now my absolute best friend in the whole world.

    I loved reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing. I think sometimes we get too swept up in looking for that perfect storybook romance, when the real life stories are really the best.

    1. Congrats on your marriage to your best friend. It truly makes life so much easier 🙂

  35. This was such a beautiful post. I really admire you and Brian for using this platform to be so open about such personal struggles, especially on topics like mental health or marriage troubles that are often taboo to talk about (but shouldn’t be). Thank you, and happy anniversary!

    1. Thanks 🙂 We were both nervous but thank god for all of you. xx

  36. What a beautiful love story and gift to your children!

    Thank you for posting this honest picture of a living, breathing, evolving marriage. And a special thank you to Brian for being so willing to share about his struggle in the name of possibly helping others. Y’all are a total breath of fresh air and I’d hug you if I could!

    My hubs and I were also babies (20!) when we met in college. We’ve been together 10+ years and married 5. No kiddos yet, but I’m tucking your advice re: guilt-free nights away for later!

    Cheers to 10 years! xoxo

  37. This is, hands down, your best post ever. I’m not married, nor do I care to be and I believe this to be the most relevant post for everyone. This is real life, mature, open, giving and worthy of replication by us all. Really, thank you.

    1. thank you. What a compliment. thank you. xx 🙂

  38. First, Happy Anniversary!!!! Second, thank your for this authentic, real, post about something that is true for so many of us! The tone was perfect and the wisdom so appreciated. The balance is hard and the needs ever-changing, but being married to your best friend, having a family with them, and each pursuing your passions is truly the best life.

    Enjoy each celebration and best wishes for many happy years!

  39. this post made me cry, and i’m not even married yet.
    beautifully written! thank you for sharing.
    p.s. i wish your love story would be made into a non-cheesy rom-com where you and brian play the adult versions of yourself! 😉

    1. Ha. I just reread the post (as I have 15 times) and I cry every time. I’m sure its because i’m so close to it and I lived those emotions that i’m documenting but its so nice to hear that its not a miopic situation and that the words translate and transend. thank you 🙂

  40. Thank you SO MUCH for this post!! You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now. Well, actually, you probably do since you know how hard, scary, and hopeless it feels when you’re in the thick of those hard times. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your post took a little bit of the weight off my shoulders today. xoxo! And congrats on the 16 years together!

    1. YAY. good luck 🙂 and thank you. xx

  41. This is SUCH a lovely, authentic, REAL love story. Maybe Brian can one day direct/act in a play/movie that depicts what true love looks like, and your story is it! I feel that same real love every day with my husband, and it is completely stirred into the same crazy mix of life that includes being angry, disappointed, depressed and lost sometimes. But feeling the full range of responses to life is what makes the love so much better, not worse. I fully echo your encouragement to marry your best friend… my husband and I didn’t have quite the same “he’s the one!” moment, but we quickly grew to become each other’s best friends and often remark how much it feels like home to be together. Your post helped me flesh out that “home” gets you through the best AND worst times, and that’s what makes it so fantastic. Thanks for your wise words on what it means to be an individual AND a partner. I hope you have a wonderful anniversary celebration knowing that love that strengthens overtime is the sweetest love of all! Congrats!

  42. So relatable. So real. So honest. Loved.every.word. Thank you for sharing–and happiest of anniversaries!

  43. Thank you for sharing this & thank you for being so relatable. Happy Anniversary!

  44. Gah, I love this so much. As someone who married their high school sweetheart, I love hearing stories that show how much HARD WORK being in a relationship is. When people ask me how we’ve made it (15 years together) I say it’s a mixture of fate and perseverance. There are a million ways it could have fallen apart, but we didn’t let it. Loved this NYT article on the topic recently: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/22/fashion/weddings/Secrets-of-High-School-Sweethearts.html?_r=0

    1. Oh I’m going to read that now. thank you. xx

  45. Beautiful Emily! Thanks for sharing. What a good reminder that there are ups and downs in even the best relationships! And no one is perfect. And that bit about raising eachother…SO true. My husband and I got married 11 years ago at 23 (after what felt like we’d been dating forever…5 years, ha!) and that’s a perfect way to think about it!

  46. Aw Emily, good for you, this is a real, authentic love story- messy and beautiful! Happy Anniversary to you an Brian and many, many more!!

  47. I never ever ever leave comments on blogs, but I have to say this was the sweetest post ever! TBH it made me cry. Kudos for such a beautiful post and congratulations on your anniversary. Your blog brings me joy every day!

  48. Childrearing is tough business. no doubt. neglecting yourself and your marriage is so easy to do during that crazy time. So glad you fought for yours. Best Friends make the best husbands. You are blessed.
    Happy Anniversary!

    1. Augh! I love this. I just got married (at 26! #twinners) and my husband has taught me so much about the importance of appreciation. It cannot be replaced or mimicked by anything else.

      Your story is lovely. Congratulations 🙂

  49. Amazing. I love this post so much.

  50. I really enjoyed reading your love story. Thank you for being real and honest. I am gonna send it to my husband to read, and several of my closest friends. I feel like there a lots of little take ways in it a variety of people will appreciate. I’ll probably forward it around more than your design posts which of course I love cause you are my favorite designer. (I mean that, I was thrilled beyond belief when you the picked the picture of my dresser/bedroom that the designer that helped me style my bedroom posted on Instagram)
    So much of what you talked about in your post goes unspoken, especially in social media that likes the polished pretty things. But we (the collective human species) needs to be reminded there is no perfect love, no perfect people. just a bunch of people out there doing their best with what they got for themselves and for our loved ones. Thank you, THANK YOU for your honesty, your bravery and the time and effort it took to write this post. And most of all Happy Anniversary to you and Brian!

  51. I loved this! Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate and am truly inspired by how you’ve worked through challenges and love each other so much. Have a great trip! Congrats! PS I just moved and copied so many of your Target buys from Sylvia’s beautiful makeover:)

  52. Just when I think I couldn’t love you more for your honesty about parenting (I have two littles about the same ages and LOVE your parenting posts!)- you go and publish this about the realness of Marriage. Your authenticity and courage to share is so refreshing in today’s “everything is perfect and my life is amazing” world. Kudos to you! And a very happy anniversary to you both!!

  53. Thank you for being real and open. Your decorating and style posts are my references weekly but this post is an example of why I read your blog.

  54. This is incredibly inspiring and meaningful. Thank you so much for sharing. Happy anniversary!

  55. Thank you x a million. There aren’t enough words about good marriages out there in the world. And definitely not enough that show ‘good’ isn’t ever 100% happy every day.

  56. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story! Brought tears to my eyes. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that a relationship must be perfect, and putting a lot of pressure on to make it that way, so thank you for being so real here. Your post is such a comforting reminder that relationships are imperfect and messy and confusing at times, but can still be amazing. I love how dedicated you two are to each other, I think that is so important.

    I’m 26 and my boyfriend and I have been together for 8 years – we met in high school. So I can totally relate to the whole “raising each other” thing. While it’s been difficult in some ways going through such a huge life transition together, I couldn’t have picked a better person to do life with.

    Wishing you many more beautiful years together!

  57. Congrats to you both! This is a beautiful post – comforting, inspiring, and so warm. Thank you for sharing your love with us all and for sharing your love story. I cried happy, sad, desiring, longing, and guilty tears. You have a gift for creating spaces of intimacy and warmth – physical spaces, and through your writing emotional space as well. Have a wonderful anniversary and I wish you and your family the best in years to come and many more happy memories!!!

  58. If I may offer one other bit of advice–as your children get older, be sure they hear you praise your spouse for his years of sacrifice and dedication to your family. Talk freely as they enter their teen years (often they won’t talk but sometimes they will listen) about how Dad played their favorite game/song/Ninja Turtle with them as smaller children. Makes a world of difference to all.

    1. love this suggestion. taking a mental note.

      1. I agree. we have been making sure that they see us kiss as I come home from work. Of course I run towards the toddler that is running towards me first, then the baby then brian but they LOVE seeing us hug and kiss and then we do a family hug in which everyone smiles and laughs. Its remarkable how much kids love seeing their parents love each other (if they are indeed in love). So yes, it has motivated me to make sure they know how important and awesome their dad is forever. But thank you very much for the reminder. xx

  59. Really lovely Emily, thanks for sharing this! Many congrats to you and Brian and well done for staying together through it all. My husband and I have this saying…..”my life makes more sense with you in it than without.” After nine years, it still rings true everyday.

  60. so beautiful! tears! i just love your openness. it’s so generous. thanks for sharing. so much for me to relate to and for me to learn from too. thank you.

  61. Beautiful.

  62. Thank you for sharing the incredible and intimate story of your relationship and marriage! What a tribute to your husband, your marriage, and your diligence and passion!

  63. I am a recently engaged, confident, independent, career-driven 33 year old who, when I really think about the enormity of it, is completely unnerved by the thought of marriage and the idea of forever. BUT, your story has put so much confidence and ideas into my mind about how I can take this love of mine and make sure that he is the one and forever. He really is my best friend, who I love spending time with and I KNOW we will have a successful marriage. Your candidness about the struggles, the love and the commitment are so refreshing and open and definitely help me get my mind into shape for what I plan to be a long-term love story, just like yours!

    Congratulations to your anniversary and thank you for having the courage to publish this!

    1. I love hearing that. thank you so much (and go for it :)) xx

  64. These are my favorite kinds of posts on your blog! I love how honest you are about marriage. You have a wonderful voice and as a mom of two under three, I so relate to needing the appreciation.

    1. Right? We all do, but ESPECIALLY a mom with two under three 🙂 I know you are killing it. Keep it up. xx

    2. Congratulations and best wishes for the next 10 (16) years. Life will be wonderful together if you keep working at it like you (are) have been.

    3. After 9 years of marriage, 2 kids, and 4 houses I fully agree with marrying someone you really “like” to spend time with. Perfection is widely overrated but forgiveness and personal happiness is not! It’s not an easy road with family but it so much more fulfilling to learn together and push through the rocky roads and depression. I’m more fulfilled than if I traveled it solo and more capable of compassion and sympathy for others after seeing it through the lens of parenthood and marriage. Bravo for sharing your heart with us! Delightful.

  65. Thank you so much for sharing this. The hardest part about being in a marriage is thinking everyone else’s marriages are perfect and people are IN LOVE all the time. When in reality life is not always perfect!

    We’ll be celebrating 10 years next July too. And after a rough patch, and some couples counseling, we’re feeling better than ever. It’s funny how sometimes you need an outsider to help you communicate how much you appreciate the other one, and to feel heard.

  66. I liked you so much already but after reading this, I like you even more!! 🙂 What a brave and beautiful post. Very vulnerable of both you and Brian to share this information but in the end, so helpful to so many readers, I am sure of it! I rarely comment on blogs but I just wanted to voice support for this post to counteract any negative comments if you get any. I see your post as a generous service to people who are struggling and need to know that that’s ok. It’s ok to struggle, normal even, and the advice about how you worked through it is invaluable. And your comedic commentary is awesome too! Thank you so much for sharing this personal and wonderful love story – you both are an inspiration and definitely had me crying at the end. And most importantly, congrats! You both should be very proud of yourselves!

    1. Thank you 🙂 it honestly means so much to me. thank you. xx

  67. Happy Anniversary, Emily and Brian! This was a lovely and affecting post– thank you for sharing it. I definitely cried while reading. I also have a happy marriage and also needed to be reminded to show extra appreciation for my husband. I sent a thank you text to him right away, but I can always remember to do more. Keep up the hard work!

  68. Thank you for posting. Six years into marriage, this totally helped me.

  69. Happy Anniversary! I believe you WILL be married another 50 years b/c you already have put so much into making your relationship work. You did a great deed of service today for so many folks and for so many children. I am a regular reader and commenter who is closer in age to your parents than you. I can only imagine how thankful they are that you two are so solid and have two beautiful babies to share. Love all around!

    I suppose you’re around cameras enough but wouldn’t we all love to see your family on a reality show! Life with the Henderson’s…in all the glory of a real family with two careers, a house under reno, two littles, that wonderful nanny, and all the ups and downs that you so generously share. I mean come on. Netflix, this is a winner.

  70. Such a lovely, raw, real post. Thank you, thank you for sharing! Happy anniversary and congratulations to you and Brian. Marriage is the hardest work, but the best work. Keep up the good fight! To many, many more!

  71. Wow! I actually am currently wiping away a tear at my desk. That final paragraph was beautiful, Emily. I truly love how vulnerable and open you’re able to be with your readers. What a roller coaster ride!

  72. This was so nice to read, thanks for sharing. Happy anniversary!

  73. Emily thank you for sharing your love story. I really appreciate you opening up as I am married now for 4 years with a little one. Great advice. Happy Anniversary!! Cheers to many more years of happy memories.

  74. I am extremely grateful to have a Brian in my life as well. We’ve been together for 25 years and we’re both in our mid-40’s. With the help of therapy and now reading this posting, I realize how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am to have the Brians (and Emilys) in my life.

    How are you so immensely talented and so soulful at the same time?

    Happy 10th to you both!

  75. Thank you for sharing this, it is good to know how it can be loving but still not an easy road.

  76. Once again, you nailed it on the head. We have a pretty similar history- met in 2002 when I was 18, grew up together, moved across the country together and now have a 3 year old. 8 years into marriage, and I can see how resentment could be the thing that can kill a marriage. I feel like not being appreciated is worse than all else / yet just as you said, when you are each working your ass off to make it, it’s hard not to garner that resentment. Marriage is no joke and has to constantly be worked on. So thank god for therapy and happy adorable kiddos.

  77. My boyfriend and I recently had the marriage talk, and are planning to get married in the next year or two, so this topic has been on my mind. (We’ll have been together 6 years next month.) I’ll be sharing some of this with him – this is such beautiful wisdom, that only comes from doing it. Thank you to you and Brian for being open and vulnerable and sharing this with your readers. This is why I come back to your blog – a stylish lady who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Happy 10/16 years!!

  78. Thank you for sharing these wise and poignant words! And thank you for your willingness to write about such vulnerable and private subjects. I need to bookmark this! I’m a partner in a 7 year marriage (10 year relationship) and your thoughts on acknowledgement and appreciation were especially relevant and helpful. We actually just had a week long fight/ make-up discussion about it. Thank you thank you and I love your work!

  79. Love this! Thank you so much for sharing. None of us take for granted that you could easily choose not share the complicated and real parts of your life and I for one, am so grateful you do! It helps soothe the “everybody is doing life better than me” monster and encourages genuine community online. I am one of the lucky ones that gets to see you this weekend at IDSWest and I AM SO EXCITED! I’ll be the blonde desperately trying to be cool and not explode with excitement ?

  80. Thank you so much for sharing your love story, Emily! It’s beautifully told and very wise. I’m in my twenties and I always like to hear how other people’s relationships have evolved–sometimes it’s nice to know that there are bumps in the road but you can figure it out, especially since so much of the advice geared towards my age group is (I feel like) do you! go your own way! if it’s not working, leave! I really appreciate hearing how you persevered for something you thought was worth it. Thank you!

  81. Thank you so much for sharing this. As soon as I finished reading your post, I wanted to share it with all my girlfriends! Both the married & unmarried ones (who are looking). I know it can’t be easy sharing your story like this so seriously: thank you for writing it! Congratulations to you & Brian <3

  82. Crying my eyes out like a fool. Thank you for sharing, you beautiful human, and happy anniversary to you both. XO

  83. LOVED this, Emily. And being in the late 20s anxiety-filled years (how come I don’t love my job, why do I feel like I suck, is this 5 year relationship where I want to be?!) I LOVE hearing how it takes intuition about your partner, hope for the future, and a healthy dose of hard work to cultivate such a solid relationship. I think you struck the absolutely perfect tone. And normalizing therapy is the cherry on top– it works, and no one wants to talk about it, so thank you. Congratulations to you both!

  84. I adore you, this blog post, and the fact that you actually FIGHT for your marriage. I’m a wedding photographer by profession (nearly 9 years, full-time!), and have been happily married for three years myself, and I am more in love with, in awe of, inspired by, and intimidated by marriage now than ever before. It truly is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, all while being breathtakingly beautiful. You’ve described it the same way that I’ve seen it and think of it, but I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it as you have. I’m so, SO glad I stumbled upon your blog. Distant admirer over here.

  85. I LOVE your love story. As an architect and fellow design lover, I have followed your blog for years ever since since I watched Secrets from a Stylist. Your personal style aligns much with mine so I’m constantly pinning images from your blog and liking your posts on Instagram. But what I also love about you and your blog is that you share the real stories in a non-pretentious way. You’re accessible and seem like you’d be everybody’s best friend. The design world can seem glamorous and beautiful family photos often make us think that the family photographed is leading a glamorous and perfect life. But, that’s not reality. Real life is messy and it’s lack of perfection isn’t a fault in my eyes. Your love story is real and relatable and like you said, the main thing is that after all these years, you two still like being with each other, will always support each other as works in progress and will continue to be the best person you can be for yourself and in turn be the best person you can be for someone else. Congrats on all the hard work! Thanks to Brian too for sharing his story on finding therapy success. As someone who has multiple depressed family members (some diagnosed, some not, some seeking help, some not), this is a method of treatment I haven’t heard of that I will be sharing with them. Enjoy your celebration and congrats on all the accomplishments! Thanks again for sharing your story and being so real!

  86. I RARELY comment on blogs (even my favorites-like yours!). This post demands a response from me :). Your candid documentary of your marriage is so important in our world of “is this Pinterest worthy?” I pray that I will share as openly to encourage others in their marriage. You have certainly encouraged me! Thank you for your outreach!

  87. Ugh, I love you Emily Henderson. Posts like this, where you are painfully honest, even though you know how judgy the internets are, that help others accept their flaws by showing that even though things can look a certain way from the outside there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ and that good things take work…thank you. Congratulations to you and Brian on 10/16 years. Much love.

  88. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I am a huge fan of you and your blog!

  89. Emily, you struck the perfect tone with this post. Even the very best and loving relationships (and individual people) hit bumps and ruts, and need work. Life is not a fairytale, and it’s so refreshing to read a love story that feels real and relatable, yet also inspiring. Happy anniversary to you and Brian!

  90. loved it. thank you!

  91. Happy 10th Anniversary! This was truly beautiful to read and I wish you both all the best and many, many years of happiness.

    I, too, met my husband at a tender age (15 to be exact) and feel we’ve grown up together. We had our ups and downs – we didn’t start dating until we were 16 and then were off and on for 12 (!) years before we got married at 28 – but remained good friends (and when we weren’t dating other people, best friends) throughout everything. I couldn’t agree more with your statement that you need to LIKE your spouse, first and foremost. Congrats on making it work!!

  92. Beautiful love story. I love how you always found your way back to each other. Thank you for the reminder to appreciate the little things, not just the big things. I’ll be sure to give my husband the praise he so deserves much more often.

  93. I loved this post so much. Happy anniversary!!

  94. I never comment but just wanted to thank you for being REAL and honest. Your love story is incredible, and you included the hard stuff, which is what makes love stories like yours so amazing. Thank you and congratulations!

  95. This is beautiful, thank you for sharing. All the best to you both, may you have many more happy years together.

  96. Love that you shared your beautiful story, which, like all good stories, had twists and turns, unexpected detours, happiness and sadness, truth and vulnerability. Happy anniversary.

  97. Love your blog and I’ve been following it for awhile but this is my first comment! What an inspirational and real love story! Thanks so much for your honesty and sharing it with us all!

    I met my husband at 18 and we’ve been together 12 years and now have a little 5 month old and your story is just what I needed to hear with the chaos of a new baby! Killing resentment with appreciation and the child free night are things we’ll definitely be doing more of!

    Happy anniversary to you both! Hope the year ahead is the very, very best one yet! xx

  98. I almost didn’t comment just because you have so many comments already, but I just wanted to acknowledge what a lovely, beautifully written and inspiring post this is. I appreciate that Brian was willing to let you talk about him and your relationship in such an honest way. My husband and I met in college freshman year at Cal, were friends with a “spark” for a year and a half, then have been together for 30 years (egads, that makes me 49!) When you know you know, but it does mean that so much of your growing up happens with each other. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for commenting 🙂 and congrats on your marriage. It’s the real deal. xx

  99. just celebrated #6 with twin toddlers and SO much about this post resonated. I have been the breadwinner for the past couple years and my husband is a brian kind of dad, just the best. It’s complicated though – without generalizing too much, I think a lot of men see themselves through the lens of their career so much more that a lot of women I know. When this stage ends for us and my husband finds the next stage of his career, I think it will be a little scary for me after finally finding our groove after the first year of twins. I guess I just want to say I love how well you illustrated that marriage is full of a lot of different stages, and nothing is permanent about the stage your are in, so do your best to go with the flow and adapt!

    1. Thank you. and good luck. We are so lucky to have men like them but yes, it keeps us adaptable, making sure that we are all happy (which is a good thing). xx

  100. Emily, happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing your honest and true love story with us. It is incredibly refreshing and inspiring and romantic to read something this raw and honest. This is real love. I wish you two continued happiness and adventure in the years to come! I also married a Brian who I started dating when I was 21. It’s been nearly 12 years for us so far and each day is better than the last. Brians are special guys 🙂

  101. I hardly ever comment on blog posts, but I wanted to say thanks for sharing this. I’m sure even for a blogger who is accustomed to a certain level of exposure, sharing these intimate thoughts and experiences was unnerving. As a fellow mom with two under three (one month old and two year old), I appreciated the reminder to express gratitude for your spouse’s contributions. It’s so much easier to point out what isn’t getting done, but I’m finding that mentality to be toxic.

    1. yes. well put. it can be toxic. good luck, mama. I can’t believe i’m one of the people saying it but yes, it does get easier (with two under two). xx

  102. Thanks for keeping it real! Marriage is hard, and I appreciate your honesty. Happy anniversary!!

  103. Hi Emily. Thanks for being brave and pushing send. I-and I’m sure others-are envious of your lifestyle, thinking everything is “perfect”, but this post definitely is keeping it real. I recently lost a great love in my life and often think about what you said-why didn’t we appreciate each other? I hope when (if?) i find love again I can be more honest and transparent with my feelings and more encouraging and supportive of his dreams…….even if they scare me. Happy Anniversary.

    1. Thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss but hopeful for your future – i don’t know you but my sense is that you are absolutely lovely and open and what should happen will. xx

  104. I loved reading this post! Thank you for sharing your awesome love story. Happy Anniversary!

  105. This is great. Thank you for sharing.

  106. Emily, this was a beautiful post. Congratulations to you and your wonderful Brian. As a still happily-married woman in our 40th year together, I second your suggestion to speak of your appreciation for your spouse every day. We try never to depreciate each other (out loud ?) either in private or to others. Have to admit that it hasn’t always been peaches and cream, but we are still grateful for the love and support we get from each other. Wishing you many more happy anniversaries to come.

  107. this is fantastic. thank you for the realistic picture of marriage. we’re 3 years (4 together) and one 2 year old in and i don’t know how you do this except that you just gave me a little window into it. sending to my hubs now. xxoo enjoy napa! go to aonair (you need to make an appt and i recommend taking a driver). grant is an amazing wine maker and your afternoon will be magical.

  108. Happy anniversary! It’s not easy but you guys clearly know each other well and are willing to do the hard work! Wishing you many more happy years!

  109. Thank you!!! Too often blogs can come across as unachievable perfection, because we’re seeing such small glimpses. Thank you for being genuine. Your blog is my favorite. Happy Anniversary you two!

  110. Such a good post, Em. I can relate to a good chunk of this. (And I was just thinking the other day how embarrassing it was when Felicity’s cassette tape diary was accidentally played out loud at a party, and how that couldn’t happen these days. Unless someone was using your iPhone to play music and you had your voice memos saved… I guess it could still happen…)

    1. HA. 🙂 That was a great episode. xx

  111. Thank you…just thank you.

    1. You are welcome (and thanks for your comment). xx

  112. Had to comment bc I LOVE this. It made me so happy and I really enjoyed watching your kitchen pitch as well. I met my husband when I was 14, got engaged at 19 and married at 22 and now 10 years later have 4 kids with the man. And I agree with you 100%, marry your best friend, the person you really like. There is no one else I’d rather hang out with. And becoming adults together is pretty great as well 🙂

  113. Big hugs and high fives for writing and sharing! Your perspective reminds me of this exchange from Still Life with Woodpecker (in response to the recurring question “Who knows how to make love stay?”) —
    “The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn’t that be the way to make love stay?

    Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

    Loving makes love, you don’t just sit around and beg it to stay. You become an accomplice and do the work of loving.

    This isn’t new info to you, but I liked the parallels in your story. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    1. So beautiful. I had to read it twice but so glad I did 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting.

  114. I’m getting married in two weeks and this was such a beautiful read. Honest, challenging, and loving. Thanks for sharing.

  115. I appreciate your authenticity, your story and your advice. You are a real gem and I’m so happy you get to go through life with your person 🙂 I look forward to forty years from now when we get to read your 50th anniversary post. Xo

    1. Emily, this was a wonderful post. Putting yourself out there is risky, but you are human like us all. I applaud you for portraying marriage and your own personal relationship “warts and all,” because it’s even more beautiful to look back on those “warts” and say you not only survived them, they made you stronger. Well done to you and Brian, and a very Happy Anniversary to you both.

  116. Relatable, inspirational, honest and lovely. Congrats on your anniversary and thank you so much for sharing. Xo

  117. Happy Anniversary to you both! Thank you for sharing. Your story reminded me that in our first year of marriage we received a marriage devotional book and the one I still remember was on appreciation. We wrote out 10 things we appreciated about each other and I still have it and often read what my husband wrote. And we will still remember to say ‘I appreciate you’, which sounds so cheesy but does it ever work! We celebrated 15 years this June and while not perfect in any means, I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. Wishing you many more years together!

  118. This was beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to write and share it, and the wisdom that 16 years of being together brings.

    This post is exactly why yours is the blog I’m most excited to read. You have the loveliest voice, and although we have never, and will never meet, I feel like we would be best friends. 🙂

    1. that is so nice of you to say and thank you so much. xx

  119. What a beautiful love story. Thank you for your authenticity and honesty. It’s so refreshing to hear about the experiences you’ve had and the work you’ve put in to have a rich marriage. I think we all would benefit by sharing our stories and encouraging each other more! Marriage is worth working for! I’m glad for your example of working and putting in the effort when it may have seemed easier to quit. Thank you for the reminders of really appreciating each other. Why is it that we show the least amount of appreciation for the ones we love the most?! We don’t have kids yet but I want to do better at appreciating my husband, parents, siblings, friends… Happy happy anniversary to you both!

  120. This was amazing and so beautiful and I love your story. That is all.

  121. You are so real, honest and awesome! Happy Anniversary to you guys!

  122. Oh what a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your ups and downs, and most importantly, such constructive advice for other couples. xo

  123. Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  124. Emily I think your tone was great!! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  125. You have such a way with words. Thank you for sharing such a raw glimpse of the beauty and struggle we all have in our relationships. Wishing you both many more loving years!

  126. Dear Emily,

    You are absolutely crazy to post this story publicly, but I so appreciate it. Such a romance (& the pics!) Happy anniversary.

    1. Ha. I know 🙂 but thank you. xx

  127. What a beautiful real post about marriage, thanks for sharing! Happy anniversary! Greetings from a mexican fan ?

    1. Hola 🙂 thanks for reading! xx

  128. Thank you for sharing. This resonates with me so much. My husband and I “fell in love” with you during design star and I’ve been reading your blog since. Marriage is not an easy road but it is so great to hear stories that remind you that it is worth the work to build an amazing life with your best friend. Of course there are really good years, really bad years, and average years, but when you are in a bad time it can feel so crushing and it can be hard to see your way out of it – what you say about appreciation is true – the day to day efforts need to be seen – we have two kids as well and respect each other immensely as parents but it needs to be said more! thanks again for sharing and Happy Anniversary!

  129. I’ve never ever commented even though I read your blog religiously. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been with my boyfriend/partner (we live together) for 9 years and sometimes I look at people who make it look so easy and wonder why it’s not THAT easy for us every day. I love your honesty and now I know that it’s completely normal to have to work at it. Happy anniversary

    1. Yep. It’s easy the first couple of years but then …. life … 🙂 good luck (and thanks for commenting). xx

  130. What an honest perspective on the roller coaster ride that is falling in love, growing up together, marriage, careers, moving, children, and more growing up together. My husband and I also met in college, married at 26, have 2 kiddos 3 years apart, and have endured an ever shifting balance of professional triumphs, tribulations and festering resentments. Thank you for sharing your story and putting into words what so many of us bury under a veneer of perfection. Life is messy, family is hard, but the work is beautiful and I remain convinced that raising new humans with your very best friend may just be the most important thing of all. Happy Anniversary!

  131. Congratulations on 10 years. That truly is an accomplishment and something to be proud of…because, as your story indicates, marriage can be hard! I always wince when I hear people say “marriage shouldn’t have to be hard” or “if you’re having to work for your marriage, something’s not right.” That’s ridiculous–anything you want in life you have to work for. Any project you’re put on at work, you’ll put effort into to make it great. Why would your marriage be any different? It’s the biggest project of your life! It requires effort and care. Nothing wrong at all with acknowledging that everything isn’t always happy-go-lucky and “easy.” It’s very relatable and you shouldn’t feel anxious or judged at all. Good for you guys for sticking with it when the norm sometimes seems to be to quit when things get tough. What a great story…thanks for sharing. It makes me want to write out my own love story, just for the exercise of it.

  132. I love that you get detailed about your experiences with therapy! I’m a therapist and practice narrative work with my clients and of course think it’s amazing like you, so it’s just so fun and exciting to hear you talk about it so enthusiastically. Awesome.

    1. YAY!!! Keep it up. I have had like 12 friends and family text me since this post and ask where they can find a narrative therapist in LA or Portland so if you know any…. xx

  133. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! We also met when we were 21, and just celebrated our first year of marriage this past August. We’ve been together a total of 8. It’s crazy to think of how far we’ve come, and I’m so proud of it, but man those hard days/weeks are HARD. In the end though, he is my best friend and I can never imagine my life without him. THANK YOU FOR THIS!

    Also…congrats! 10 years is AMAZING!

  134. Tears. Literally. In my eyes. One of the best depictions of a true and honest love story.

    1. thank you 🙂 I just reread and cried again (although its my story so not so surprising) xx

  135. Your love story made me cry it was just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing! I liked your thoughts about personal happiness in a relationship. It makes me so thankful for my own husband. We’ve been together so long we finish each other’s…sandwiches! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and love and great stories together!

  136. What a beautiful story. So authentic and honest, and full of love. It’s so refreshing. I agree with you, it’s most important to marry your very best friend.

    I am so fascinated by the narrative therapy. My friend was just telling me today to think of your very first memory and that is how you see yourself and write your life’s story. It was very eye opening to me. Made we want to change some things.

    Anyway, I think you’re pretty amazing.

  137. Wow- so inspirational, relatable, and actionable. Thank you for sharing your experience. I thought I was dealing with my own issues of needing validation and recognition, but after reading your honest post I understand how normal this is, and how I need to reciprocate the acknowledgement and praise to my husband that I myself crave. Thank you so much for sharing this

    1. Oh good. this is exactly my intent. we are all craving it. I thought I was the only one, too, but all my friends and then all their husbands .. EVERYONE!! its both daunting and motivating. xx

  138. Happy Anniversary! Similar story here too, been together since senior year of college (17 years), married 10, 2 small kids, and 2 full-time jobs where we both travel a lot. Some days are amazing, some days I’m wondering where we go next. Appreciation, realistically setting expectations, & communication are so important. We have literally lived half our lives together so we have so much common ground, it helps a lot during stressful times. Date nights (without friends or kids) are a life saver. Best wishes:)

  139. Love this post Emily!
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  140. Really love this so much. I appreciate your honesty and condor. I met my husband in college and we’ll be together 14 years this November (married 7 years now with two kids). I get it…we get what you’re going through. Thank you!

  141. Emily, this is beautiful. Happy Anniversary to you and Brian!

  142. Thank you for this. As a parent to an almost-1 year old and as a wife to a former actor, so much of this read so true (thankfully, the parts about being BFF with your husband read true as well!). Every marriage is so different and I appreciate anyone who shares the reality of their relationship. It can feel like your soul is on the line in sharing something like this but I know there are lots of people reading this that have a renewed sense of hope! You’re the best!

  143. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your love story. I’m in the thick of things in my marriage and your words of advice give me so much hope. Thank you again and happy anniversary!

    1. good luck 🙂 (and thanks for commenting). xx

  144. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love and appreciate your honesty. Wishing you and your family much happiness.

  145. Thank you to both you and Brian for your honesty and courage to tell your story. This post was so touching and authentic. It was very personally meaningful for me to read, and for many others, too, I can see by the comments. What a bright spot this blog continues to be in my life. Thank you, Emily.

    1. thank you so much. what a lovely comment that made me feel so good. thank you. xx

  146. Inspiring honesty and zest for life, in the flavor of every day, Happy anniversary! ?
    @spacesbyleah

  147. I adored this and will take your advice to heart. Happy ten years!!

  148. Yes yes and more YES. Thank you for being real, transparent, encouraging and just plain awesome. Happy Anniversary to you both!

  149. There’s really nothing else like it. I’m reminded of a Randy Travis song that talks about love songs and says “every one is different, but every one is the same.” Because our love story is so so different, and my love and marriage advice would be exactly the same as yours.

  150. ❤️❤️❤️ Just loved this. Well written too! I seriously sometimes laugh aloud when I read your posts. We’ve been married 4 years and It’s refreshing to hear a good honest timeline of another’s love story.

  151. Beautifully written. What a sweet Anniversary gift to your huby. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  152. I loved this. Thank you! It doesn’t feel like average marital problems in the thick of them but it’s a good reminder that you’re not the only one & that it can get better with work & that we are in charge of our perspective AND to be more appreciative. I think it resonated with me a little 😉 I love all you do!

  153. On our third date, I knew “this is the man I’m going to marry.” We were married within months. Being together was so easy I couldn’t figure out why other people would say “marriage is hard work” – what were they talking about (?) certainly not US. Now, 31 years in, I so appreciate your honest unveiling of your marriage. I think it will help prospective couples know that it is the reality of daily sacrifice and compromise you have to commit to, especially when it is difficult. It is tough. (If you are a couple who has never had “trying times”, just wait a minute – )

    There were many times over the years it would have been so helpful to know that ALL couples go thru the rollercoaster of life and you CAN come through it with a better understanding of each other and an even deeper love. There were five years that were so hard on us, we would have divorced in hope of healing, but we couldn’t afford it, so we stayed together. (In our case, poverty saved our marriage.) We made it through that time and fell in love all over again. I am so happy we are together. I can’t imagine life without my best friend and greatest love either.

    1. I love this comment and so glad that you stayed together if it was the right thing. I do secretly feel that marriage is a good thing because it does make it difficult to leave. Of course there are times when it should be easier (for the sake of the kids) but I know a few couples who have stayed together and were ultimately happier because they had that commitment. thanks for commenting. xx

  154. You are the one and only blog I read every day Emily and I have been reading you for years and this is my FAVORITE post ever. Thank you! I am an actor and now a teacher of acting at a CA University. Im sure I must know Brian’s teachers back in acting school. (I too attended acting grad school in NYC). I have had similar struggles both with the “biz” and with finding a balance with my husband and our dreams/depressions. Thank you for your candidness and for sharing your journey. Im glad Brian’s dipping his toe back in the waters. If he ever wants to come talk to one of my classes about his journey I would surely welcome it! Love and respect to you both!!

    1. Wow. we should probably be friends. thank you so much for reading/commenting and relating. We get each other. We should have coffee 🙂

      1. Thank you for sharing Emily. I’m sharing this with my 35 year old daughter who lives in Texas. A must read for couples
        ! Happy 10th. Greetings from Iceland.

  155. It really should not be this hard — sorry but that is the truth

    1. It’s actually not hard. Re-read the post. It’s just life and life moves and you have to follow it and sometimes you don’t know where its taking you and you are worried and nervous, but then you realize that the journey you are on far surpasses the quest you began. Sorry, but thats the truth.

      1. in an Instagram-only-the-pretty world, it’s so refreshing to see someone acknowledge that we all have our own stuff and that we will all be OK in whatever form it ends up in. So many of your sentences could have been written by my own hands. We CAN do this.

      2. You’re incredibly brave to post your love story, warts and all. I think too many bloggers feel pressure to present this perfect, unattainable picture of their lives, but you always keep it real, and as a result, really, really, relatable.

        Thank you. And my best wishes for another 10 (x10!) years of marriage to your best friend.

    2. Lucky for you if your relationships had not been hard, but the truth is marriage IS hard.

  156. I loved your story. Thank you for being honest and open. Cheers to sticking through the harder times. P.s… I love your instagram page and your style!

  157. Thanks Emily, beautiful honest story..

  158. I’m a rare commenter, but I loved, loved this post. We’ve been together 5, married for 4, one kiddo, and as we like to say, a few bonus bumps in the road for what seems like a short time together. I’m definitely taking your suggestions/lessons to heart. Thanks for posting.

  159. What an awesome piece! Thank you so so so much for sharing, it is an incredible love story, but also little bits of knowledge and wisdom to share. Happy Anniversary!

  160. I identify with so much of your story–my husband and I met 17 years ago, when I was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. We got married almost exactly one month before you guys (2006 was a big summer and fall for weddings!), and we had two kids 23 months apart (a boy followed by a girl we call Ellie or Ellie-bird) just a couple years before you guys (they’re 4&6). I’m even from Eugene, which was what made me first perk up when you appeared on Design Star! Marriage is work. You have to choose to keep it solid, and I identify completely with the struggles to keep balanced during the low times. My husband’s dad died while we were on our honeymoon and as a result we started our marriage at an unspeakable low, but eventually those struggles and that pain brought us closer together. Same with having kids–we definitely had some rough patches, but the family we are raising together is everything we’ve dreamed of since we met. Keep working–we will too. Happy 10th!

    1. Wow. At first I was like ‘are we the same person??’ and then when I read about his dad I got chills. Thanks for the comment and support and wow, we have a lot i common (ellie-bird??? that’s what we call her!)

      1. You’ll have to come over for a cocktail if you’re ever near Boston! (I’m expecting our 3rd now, btw–will we stay on parallel tracks?! 😉 )

  161. It’s so great that you guys never gave up on each other or the relationship. You continued to grow and push through! Bravo!! Congratulations…and Thank You!!

  162. Wow Emily, thanks for writing this post. I am 30 and my husband and I met when we were 20 and also helped raise each other. We are going through some very similar themes to what you guys had a few years ago (damn miscarriages and situational depression!). The perspective of the ups and downs and changes and priorities is exactly what I needed to realize that I might be in a down phase right now , but overall everything is actually good! Your Instagram feed and blog look like they come from a magical fantasy place, but seeing that this was made by a real, struggling, appreciating person makes it come from a beautiful piece of reality. Thank you!!

    1. I’m so glad 🙂 I wish that instagram was the place for real personal stories but its not anymore (too much negativity or absense of positivity). So I’m sorry that i come off that way because honestly its not my intent, its just the format. Come back here. In blog we trust 🙂

  163. Thanks for being so brave, open, and sharing your incredible story.

  164. Happy Anniversary to you and Brian! Your story is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing and being so honest and vulnerable. I love your work and I now love you even more for this!

  165. Great post! Best advice I ever got was – resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die

  166. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful!

  167. I guess “hard”is subjective. I had 4 kids under 3,so i think 2 is a walk in the park!

    1. Ha. yes. you had it harder for sure!! xx

    2. Let’s not play the comparison game.

  168. Brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful post. Happy Anniversary to you both.

  169. Thank you for sharing. It’s easy for us to put people we follow in social media on a pedestal and believe they live a perfect life. So thank you for sharing such intimate parts of your marriage. I’ve been with my fiancé for 6 years now and really enjoyed hearing your struggle and victory! Thank you again for sharing.

  170. Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who is going through what may be just a rough patch or what may be the beginning of a split with my partner of 11 years (so strange and confusing), it brought some tears to my eyes. It’s good to hear about how y’all have worked through tough times. Best wishes for many more good times for you and your family.

    1. Even during the rough times we knew it was right. that’s the only piece of advice I can give. I’m also completely supportive of knowing when to fold ’em. there is no shame to becoming a happier person (especially when kids aren’t involved). Good luck 🙂

  171. An old family friend once said “you should both feel like you’re doing 70% of the work– that way you’re both probably doing about 50%”

  172. Oh Emily,

    This made me tear up! I too met my person at 21 and you are SO right about raising each other. This post was honest and pure and also incredibly inspirational. When you put this out there it makes me feel not alone, and that we too can survive if we find the right tools.

    I legit love you. And thank you.

    xo,
    Kira

  173. This made me cry. Love your love story. Thanks for sharing!

  174. I’ve been married 41 years and now wished I had written our love story down on paper every 10 years. You are very inspiring to me. Life will continue to amaze and scare you but you have a firm foundation and I know you two will make it, but not without work. Stay strong and best wishes you two!

  175. Thank you for this moving & relatable post. Marriage is hard. I’ve been with my husband for 8 years, also getting together when we were in our early 20’s. I like stories like this because they help you see that even the good lookin’ couple on the blog has to work at it too. Happy Anniversary! Your family is beautiful.

  176. I love this so much. Everyone who read it was right– the tone was perfect. Thanks for opening up not just your houses to us, but also your home. And you’re so right; we all need and want to know that we’re appreciated and acknowledged. (if it makes you feel any better, I rolled into NYC from Texas in a similarly awesome outfit, and I still haven’t figured out how to be chic).

  177. I don’t have cable, and I haven’t watch Design Star. I’m not sure which rabbit hole of the internet I fell through to get here, but I’m glad I did. My husband and I got married at 23 and 25 and just celebrated our 10 year anniversary. We have been through similar ups and downs, and this is something I needed to read. When the lust wears off, what’s left is the friendship. We *choose* love every day — and that’s something we don’t necessarily understand when we get married young. So thank you. 🙂

  178. I generally don’t comment on posts because so many others do, and who has time to read them all. But, this time, I have to! Thank you for choosing to share the realness of your life with your readers. Social media has created this superficial “everything is perfect” mentality and when people choose to go this route instead, it reminds all of us that life is hard, and that while someone maybe appear all smiles, that each of us has “stuff”. Kudos to both of you for all of the work, fertilizing your plant. My husband and I have done our share and its worked wonders. Brian, thank you for being comfortable sharing your personal journey with all of us. Oh and, if you get a chance, when you’re in Napa, go to Frog’s Leap! It’s one of our favorites. Killer Rose and just about every other varietal. Here’s to many more years for you both! Cheers!!!

    1. WE all have stuff for sure 🙂 (and thanks for the recs).xx

  179. Thanks for sharing beautiful. I love hearing how other people make it work. Xxxx

    1. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  180. Wonderful post! An honest portrayal of marriage. The circumstances are different for couples but the struggles are the same. Wishing you many more!

  181. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on a blog. I’ve always loved your style, and now I have a whole new appreciation for you. Thank you for being so open and honest about the ups and downs of parenthood, depression, and just how much it takes to make a family work. Life is MESSY and it’s equally beautiful and that’s ok–and we need more people like you who are willing to be real about it on a public stage. Loved this so much and thank you for the courage to share.

    1. Thank you. And thanks for commenting. We bloggers live for your comments and insight so thank you. xx

  182. Beautifully told, thanks for sharing your heart(s) with us and Happy Anniversary!

  183. Just chiming in to say thank you for this (and happy anniversary!)! It is so refreshing to read such an authentic post. My husband of 3+ years and I have the sweetest ten-month-old girl, and while we are so happy, we are simultaneously tired and figuring out this new life, which has been a bit stressful on our marriage. We will definitely be implementing your tips. Also, seeing how you gush over Brian is SO sweet, and makes me want to call my husband up right now and tell him everything I love about him. Thank you again!

    1. That made me smile. Honestly since I wrote this post we have even gotten closer. He knew how I felt but I think having it published for all of internet to read and to read the comments has really validated us in a lot of ways. So thank you. xx

  184. This made me teary. I felt the love, and that is always a great reminder. 15 years into marriage, and yes, struggles have come our way too. Thank you for the honesty…marriage is challenging and beautiful.

  185. I loved reading this! We celebrated our 10th back in May, have been together for almost 17 years, and were so young when we started dating too. My babies are very close in age to yours too, like my youngest was born two weeks after Elliot! I was a designer, but stay home and take care of the kids now, so I love reading your blog because it sparks my creativity, and let’s me imagine some of what I might be doing if I had stayed working. Very sound marriage advice, and some extra words of appreciation go a long way. Happy Anniversary!

    1. thank you 🙂 I love knowing who people are and why they read so thank you.

  186. Ok, I’m PMSing (lol) and got all teary eyed, at realizing how REAL this is, despite the image of you on the blog. 🙂 Also, you made me find someone beautiful just by describing what you like about him, and that’s amazing!
    Hope you have a great time in your fun activities in the coming days, and never lose will and power to try and work on things, fix things, improve things for each other and for your family.
    I want to hug you guys now! Ha!

  187. I love everything about this: honest, wise, funny, and real.

  188. Bless you and happy anniversary. It’s funny — my husband and I are childless, so we don’t have as much to stress over (but I still am a completely stressed person, it’s just my nature), and when I tell him Thank You, which is so important to me, he scoffs and says that I shouldn’t need to express that to him. But as you have shown, it IS so important that we appreciate each other and SHOW and EXPRESS it.

    You’re a courageous human being to have shared this story and to have had your husband and colleagues review and edit. I indeed feel it will speak to SO many people. Thank you.

  189. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for being so open and honest.

  190. This is a beautiful and honest story, that was a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing!

  191. Thank you for writing this! It is very relatable. Again, thanks.

  192. This post is perfection.

  193. Thank you for being open and honest about your beautiful love story. You’ve inspired me. Congrats on 10 / 16 years!

  194. Like several others who have replied to this post, I have never commented on a blo post until today, but felt compelled to say thank you for the honesty and the “realness”. Your story is brave and beautiful, and I truly appreciated your candor, not only about marriage but struggles with happiness. Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you. honestly your comments keep this train driving and inspire me to write more personally, so thank you (and keep it up). xx

  195. This made me cry! (Happy tears) I can relate to this so much, especially on Brian’s side. You guys are the best, thanks so much for sharing! Happy Anniversary!!

    1. Happy Anniversary Emily!! I loved your post…it’s real! Have a great time in Napa, enjoy your alone time with your man, it’s so important for your marriage.

      Also, it was great meeting you at the HGTV Blog Party in NY (I have a group pic of you, myself, my sister and John & Sherry. It’s funny how that happened because your book and theirs are stacked on top of each other in my LR – “law of attraction” : )

      1. I knew I loved your style, but now I know I love your honesty. This post is so transparent, real, and personally mirrored my marriage. My husband and I have a similar story. Have known him for 22 yrs, together for 17, married for 12, and now have 3 kids together, which we started growing at the ripe old age of 25. Life has gone so fast, and our marriage has traveled up, down, and all around together while growing up together in the process. We hit a point where we were growing apart, without realizing it. The kids, work, life just pulls you in so many directions that unless you are present and aware of feeding the marriage and your partner what they deserve then something is going to give. We have recognized this, and are in the process of healing ourselves and our relationship. Life is full of challenges, and the best part of that is that you get to grow, learn, and change…that is if you want to! Best of luck and love in your lives together!

        xxoo
        Jen

        1. thank you 🙂 glad to know we aren’t the only ones. xx

    2. Thank you for your honesty. My husband and I met 12 years ago (married 3 years now) and are probably in the darkest point in our relationship. Your account gives me some hope that we can make it through and hopefully be stronger than before.

      1. WE’ve been dark before. we came out. don’t give up but I know its hard.xx

  196. Thanks for posting and happy anniversary! My husband and I have been together since high school- 18+ years now and the roller coaster you described is all so familiar. Mine is a stay at home dad/musician with never enough time for his creative outlet while I work my 50-60 hour a week job. Although he’s made great strides in curbing resentment and putting value on his craft, the situational depression is so real. I have never heard of narrative therapy but I am going to look into it for us. I think it could be so helpful. Thank you for sharing. And Wishing you many more years of love and happiness

    1. I can relate, certainly. thanks for commenting (and good luck :)… i’m pulling for you). xx

  197. This brought tears to my eyes. So well written and so raw and honest.

  198. Oh man, good timing. Thank you so much for your candor and willingness to share this honest love story. I really needed to read something like this. My husband and I have an amazing 10 month old boy, and while I have never been happier thanks to my son, our marriage is ROUGH right now. Your part about resentment and keeping score resonated deeply. I’m in the midst of feeling so underappreciated and desperately wishing for some acknowledgement of how hard I’m working, but I also know that I’m not doing a good job of recognizing my husband’s contributions and sacrifices either. So we both end up feeling like we are each the one doing the most work and are angry at the lack of acknowledgement. It’s not like we are fighting all the time- we’ve just kind of withdrawn from each other, which is kinda worse. I was trying to articulate to him recently how we are still around each other all the time, but I feel so lonely- I miss him and us.

    This post was a wonderful reminder for me that we both need to be more mindful of how hard we are BOTH working, and that we need to take the time to appreciate one another. I think sometimes with with work, a baby, and just managing life in general, one can get so swept up in your own narrative and trying to keep your head above water on a daily basis that it is really easy to be neglectful of your relationship with your partner. I always knew that a marriage requires hard work, and I never anticipated that I’d take mine for granted, but, man, with everything else life throws at you it can be easy just to think that you can set it aside on the back burner for a bit while you ride out other stuff. But, nope! Your own story helped make me aware of the need to work harder, put forth more effort, and be more forgiving for the sake of our relationship.

    Sorry for offloading all my thoughts onto a stranger’s blog. 🙂 Thanks again for your willingness to share, it made me feel a lot better!

    1. YES. This is what so many of my friends are saying, too. You and we are not alone. It’s so hard, especially when they are so young. You get set into roles and then those roles seem so easy but they aren’t. Notice what he is doing. See it. Acknowledge it. Appreciate it and encourage him to do it back. We have to help them become appreciative people by doing it first. xx

      1. Dear Emily,

        Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! Thank you, thank you so much for sharing this. This is my first time ever commenting on a blog post. Reading your story has made me teared up and I have realised what I need to do now to get our relationship back on track after a stressful year of being first time parents with jobs change and depression. I could relate to Laura’s comment as well. A little appreciation really does go a long way. Thanks again for this little piece of reminder and thanks for keeping it real. I will be sharing it with my husband. I’m so glad I’ve stumbled upon this blog (sorry, I’ve been living in a rabbit hole for a long time). Love your style! Please keep posting, you’ll never know how many lives you’ll change 🙂 Thanks for making this internet world a brighter place.

        Cheers,
        Your new fan from Down Under

  199. I want to thank you for your bravery in sharing such a personal post. In this weird online/social media world it’s easy to think everyone else has it all together with the perfect marriage and house and kids. Comparison is brutal and while I love reading your blog for inspiration it’s easy to become dissatisfied with what I have. Thank you for being real and reminding us that marriage and parenting is hard work

  200. Love love love your candid honesty! Shout out to Felicity & Ben was my favorite!

  201. I loved this! Thanks so much for sharing, and for being so real. I’m sure this was definitely a tough one to publish, but so glad you did. Happy Anniversary! 🙂

  202. Feel quite moved reading this. What a kind and sensible person you are. I wish I could have read this 20 years ago when I was a in a similar position. I wish I could have been as wise. Bravo Emily.

  203. Wow! At first, I’m thinking “Is she really going to go there? Is she really going to get this personal? Did Brian read this first?” But then I’m sucked into your beautiful story and can more than relate to so much of what you said & have gone through together. Thank you for having the balls to get so real, honest & personal. It’s so refreshing and nice to see how you’re navigating your lives together. We can all take away something from this. Happy anniversary! Enjoy your trip to Napa! xx

    1. ha. he did. he, too, feels the confidence in sharing a now successful story 🙂 xx

  204. Wow what a beautiful (and realistic) love story!! Thank you for sharing. I ate up every word. Congrats you two!

  205. Thanks for sharing, Emily!! My husband and I met at 18/19, have been together for 9 years, and married for 3-ish months.

    We’ve been through moves, grad school, job searching, and the works. Depression was also a big part of our story as well, except it was coming from me, not him.

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing because you don’t even know how many strangers out there share very similar life paths or life issues. It’s comforting to know that problems might arise, but there’s great advice and experience out there and we can all learn from one another!

    1. Thank you and you are welcome 🙂 (but thanks for commenting). xx

  206. Thank you for sharing your story, especially since it isn’t an entirely “easy” one. It’s so common to feel like a failure if your relationship doesn’t always go well or if you need time apart, but it’s comforting to read that committed people in love do still go through hard times or need therapy. Thank you for bearing your soul a little for us.

  207. Thank you for sharing your love story. Your words were so beautiful and heartfelt, that I was crying tears of joy by the time I got to the end.

  208. Emily, wow, thank you for this post. Thank you for being honest. My ex husband suffered depression after many years of not being able to achieve the career he wanted, and it ended up ruining our relationship, as he refused any form of therapy. Our daughter was 3 when we split. Five years later, I have found a partner who I KNOW is my person. Its just right. And we have a 1 year old son, and although we like each other, love each other, and are in love with each other, what you said about showing appreciation is SO true. I will never take my relationship for granted, and this post just reminded me how important it is to appreciate what your partner does and take care of your own happiness (because I found out the hard way, you cannot force someone else to be happy). Thank you. I don’t know if you’re reading as there are so many comments here, but thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    xoxo Noa

    1. I am reading and thank you 🙂 I’m sorry for your ex but so happy for you now. we all just need to see what each other are doing and say thank you, right? its strangely simple. xx

  209. Emily, I’ve followed you and your blog since the early Design Star days, back when I was a young newly wed too. Thank you for this beautiful post! I think all my single friends should read it. You’ve captured what a long term relationship is really like. How much hard work and tears and failure is involved. But also how, if you keep putting in the work, eventually you realize you are building the most precious and special bond together and you wouldn’t give that up for anything.
    I love how you showed that falling in love at a young age is beautiful but also complicated and confusing.
    Thank you for the great advice about personal happiness. It is something to keep in mind as we go into our 8th year. The happiest of anniversaries to you and Brian! Xx

    1. thank you and you are welcome. xx

  210. Really great Emily. And Brian.
    Your tone is perfect, and honesty appreciated. So refreshing on the internets! I’ve followed you for years (since post-DS*) so I get the context. I’m 31 and 9 yrs in rel’ship with my guy in London, Eng and this is helpful and realistically reassuring.

  211. Thank you for sharing the anatomy of your marriage, it is a gift to anyone who reads it. An honest evolution of how you got to where you are. It confirms that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, that each one has it’s story and , as with most things I think, you get back what you put into the things you declare as “worth it”

    1. You are right. no one has a perfect marriage. we all just do the best we can while loving the hardest we are able to. xx

  212. congratulation both for your ten anniversary , love your honesty about relationship and life
    you are such a beautiful person couple and family. happy life for the next 50 years

  213. What a great story. I love that you put yourself out there, warts and all (not warts, exactly, but the phrase gets to what I mean!). I remember my cousin telling me that marriage is not 50%-50%; it’s 100%-100%. It’s a lot of work but worth it, and she was so right.

  214. Thank you!

  215. I love this post. Thank you for being authentic, brave, and giving a wonderful example how how choosing to trust the best in each other changes everything!

  216. I think this story is way better than ANY of the several Felicity/Ben storylines (including the Javier-induced drama;) and as a die-hard Felicity fan, that is saying something. Three kids under 6 and we are right where you were and I so needed to hear this. Thank you.

    1. ha 🙂 i’m glad you appreciate (felicty and the post). xx

  217. I cried. It was beautiful, because it was so real, so relatable, and so full of love. No ones is perfect, no relationship is only happy, and it’s just so easy to quit when there is hard time. Working on us, on it, is hard. But oh so beautiful. You are inspiring.
    I hope in ten years I’ll be able to have had hard times like you had, I hope I would have been able to grow over them, and to be stronger.

    Happy 10 years anniversary to you two!

  218. Someone on Instagram wrote that this was your best post ever and my cynical side said, “yeah right, no way”. I’m so glad that I took the time to read this. You literally captured the battle that I’ve been having with my SO. I couldn’t put it into words but you did it for me. I called him into the room to read this with me. Thank you for having the courage to share this. This post is valuable.

    1. yay. that makes me so happy. thank you very much. xx

  219. i love this. thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. it is all too rare these days and much needed in a society that doesn’t tend to value stick-to-it-ive-ness within marriage. thank you.

  220. It’s creepy how similar your story is to mine and my husband’s. Same struggle of meeting young (I was 18!) and marrying young, and knowing on the first day I met him it was destined to be. We’ve been married 11 years now. Despite all that parenting two kids is seriously insane! It is so much work every day to keep your marriage strong. Congrats to you both.

    1. Congrats to you, too! xx

  221. THANK YOU for being brave & for your husband’s support in sharing this story!!!! Bravo!!!!

  222. Happy Anniversary! I’ve been married for 26 years and this might be the most honest essay, about marriage, that I have ever read! Thank you for sharing.

  223. My husband left me to be with another woman. and wanted him back. i was jealous and it made us argue all the time until he vanished away, I was desperate to get him back, I wasted so much time and money on getting my lover back after I have tried almost all possibilities to have him back and nothing worked. I became lonely for 2 years. To make it short, I found a spell caster Mr Robinson buckler by accident. I don’t know how I found him and i cant remember. But, when I first saw the good testimonies about his wonderful work and after reading the Testimonials, I decided I had to try and give it one last shot. After the spells, a miracle happened, my husband came home. it was awesome, anyone who needs help, should email robinson.buckler@yahoo. com He is the best. whoever need a spell caster that will work for you and bring back your lover should contact Robinson buckler. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  224. Dear Emily, this post was so beautifully written. Your children and grandchildren will cherish it, I know. You’ve inspired me to get my creative juices flowing to follow in your footsteps, to write my love story for my grandson to read and share with my great grandchildren, in my future. After 30 years of love with my best friend, I am a widow now almost 3 years. Reading your story, caused me to smile with recognition of similarities in my story. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting. I’m so sorry for your loss, i’m emotional just thinking about it honestly, and i love your commitment to writing it all down. thank you thank you xx

  225. First, thank you. Thank you for being real and honest, even if it made you feel vulnerable. I married my best friend and we’ve had some pretty rocky times, but I know we will weather whatever life throws our way. I could really relate to what you said and am going to read it to my husband. I think with both of us working demanding, full-time jobs and raising a child we forget to take the time for appreciation and taking time for ourselves. We are going to enlist the once a week, “me” date night this week for starters! I enjoyed reading your love story. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Happy Anniversary! Xo

    1. do it! go to a movie or a massage (or i get drunk with my best friend). its AMAZING. good luck and thank you 🙂

  226. Thank you so much for sharing. I cried.

  227. I’m so glad I took a few minutes to read your story. It’s really wonderful to hear about your love story with all its facets. I know you didn’t have to share and I know Brian didn’t have to share, but I’m grateful you two decided to share it with us and with your kids when they’re old enough.

    For the record, I’ve always admired your relationship and both of you just seem like great people. Happy anniversary! Enjoy your time together in Napa. 🙂

    1. thank you 🙂 its nice to hear that before this post you had positive feelings, honestly. xx

  228. Happy Anniversary Emily!! I loved your post…it’s real! Have a great time in Napa, enjoy your alone time with your man, it’s so important for your marriage.

    Also, it was great meeting you at the HGTV Blog Party in NY (I have a group pic of you, myself, my sister and John & Sherry. It’s funny how that happened because your book and theirs are stacked on top of each other in my LR – “law of attraction” : )

  229. Beautiful. Having just had our first baby, I am a few stages behind, but on a similar journey. I hope to travel it with as much grace as you two have given each other. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Happy Anniversary and can I suggest that Brian take the bull by the horns and make his own acting opportunity. He’s gorgeous and has a wonderful nice quality combined with masculine appeal. Write a sit com or a drama series,he’d make a great detective who is a super sleuth but looks kinda harmless and naive. I know he could do a thousand times better than my suggestions but I am 76 and yearning for something on TV that is interesting,or funny or intelligent entertainment and if you love him to pieces so will a huge audience of bored humans.

      1. I’m going to tell him this!!! thank you 🙂 xx

        1. Also, this is a MUST watch for anyone doing acting auctions. It’s an interview with Bryce Dallas on auditioning and making it in hollywood. She has a really inspirational perspective on how to deal with rejection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-DF4LUm0Rc

  230. That was so beautiful to read. Thank you for always being brave enough to share. You are so authentic. This is my favorite blog! I have a total girl crush on you 😉

  231. Thank you for being brave and honest! I appreciate You and your story!

  232. We’ve been married for almost 32 years and were friends for thirteen years before that. I met him when I was 22 and engaged to someone else. He was married. And we were just friends who got each other’s brand of humor. I married the other guy, was very miserable, got divorced and moved out of town. I had lots of time to make mistakes, learn from them and eventually grow up a lot.

    And one day we ran into each other. He had just gotten divorced. And he called me for a drink after work which turned into dinner and then into spending the rest of our lives together.

    1. I love this story. it gave me chills. perhaps you are nicholas sparks? 🙂

  233. I love this! My favorite part of marriage is the story we are building – all the ups and downs and twists and turns and the memories that are stacking up. You two have a beautiful family! Happy anniversary, Emily and Brian!!!

  234. I loved reading this. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your marriage…as someone who is about your age (38, actually) and has been married for 11 years (and together 2 more than that)…I can relate to a lot. Mostly the hard parts. While I don’t know if my marriage is as solid as yours, or if it will even last, it is always comforting to not feel alone in the struggles of life. I wish you guys the best! xo

    1. Well, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. Im positive that it will be very popular. It has good and valuable content which is very rare these days. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thanks… http://www.benca.co.uk/

  235. What a lovely story, epic in the honesty that you shared and all the love that comes through the text. It’s really an inspiring love story! I think everyone goes through ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ but not everyone is ready or brave-enough to share. So thank you, I really enjoyed reading it.

  236. I loved reading your love story. It made me think a lot. Those little resentments can really get you & individual happiness is so important. Lots of things I want to remember with my relationship. Plus, how important it is to admit when you have a problem & seeking help. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Thank you.

  237. This is an amazing read, thank you (and Brian!) for being brave enough to share. I need to go tell my husband how much I appreciate him… and maybe give him a night off!

  238. I truly enjoyed reading your love story. I’m so happy you guys have always found your way back to each other. Love, marriage, kids- its hard. I met my husband when i was a baby- freshmen year at college- and we have faced similar struggles. Its nice knowing that I’m normal and not alone! Best wishes to you guys!

    1. You are not alone 🙂 xx

  239. Great read Emily! Thank you for sharing. Happy Anniversary!

  240. I have read and enjoyed every blog post of yours, but this is the first time I have commented. Thank you for posting such a real, honest narrative of marriage. It was moving, poignant, and reassuring all at the same time.

    1. You are welcome and thank you so much for commenting. I live for comments so thanks for being a part of that. xx

  241. I have been following you for year and have never made a comment. I love your style. Friday was my 10 year anniversary . Thanks for putting this out there! It makes me feel normal:) Wishing you many more happy years!

    1. Happy anniversary. that’s 10 years for both of us. xx

  242. Thank you. Your post is so open and touching and loving. It has made my day and I am sure it will be a beacon for many.

    Wishing you love and happiness.

    Jane

  243. I loveddd reading this so much <3 I am not one to post on blogs, but this post brought me to tears. You are so brave to share this, and I can totally identify with what you've discussed. Thank you for taking the time to share this-it just adds to the many reasons why your blog is the one that I visit regularly : )

  244. Ok, now I’m crying. So beautifully written, Emily. Bob and I have loved sharing your journey together and look forward to the next chapter. LOVE you.

    1. As a young 21 year old, it is so refreshing to hear a real story of how marriage can be. I hope some day to have a love like yours.

    2. Thanks, suz. You know we love you and you guys (and my parents) are our marriage gurus. xx

  245. Dear Emily
    I just love your blog, everything about it and about you. I must say that what I love most is your sense of humor. I am so so glad you opened this chapter for us today and we know all about it. And especially with humor!!! I needed this story from you. When we love you, we love all of you!!! Kisses!!!!! To another 100!!!

  246. Happy Anniversary and thank you for sharing!
    An hour after reading your story, I was/am watching The Newsroom and just had to shout, “THAT’S BRIAN HENDERSON!” at the screen.

  247. My husband and I have had a really, really hard week. We’re moving for his career the 4th time in two years and it can definitely sow some seeds of resentment. Thank you for this. I needed a reminder and encouragement.

    1. Good luck. that sounds challenging, so challenging. Be open/honest and ask him for what you need before the resentment builds. I don’t know why I’m all of a sudden a relationship expert (I’ve had 2 glasses of wine) but just communicate so openly, with expectations on the table. that sounds challenging but absolutely doable. xx

      1. Hey, after 10 years of marriage and two kids, if you’re not an expert then who is?! But seriously, thank you for the advice. I’m a long time fan and your authenticity is what has been keeping me coming back to the blog every day for years <3

  248. That was beautiful. Congratulations!

  249. I’m very, very late to the Emily Henderson train, as in I just hopped on a month or two ago, but I just wanted to let you know how much I loved this. Honest and relatable, with some great advice.

    1. thank you and welcome 🙂 xx

  250. So beautiful and brave and real. Thank you for ALL you do, Emily. You’re an inspiration! 🙂

    1. Oh, wow! Felicitations! Thank you for taking the time to write this, and to share it. It was very reassuring. Like you and Brian, my husband and I have ‘raised’ each other out of late adolescence into fully-fledged adults/parents! We met at uni when I was almost 18, and he was 19, and were friends for a year before we started ‘going out’, as we say in Australia. So far, in our late 30s, we have weathered a few bereavements, a major separation in our early 20s, and career ups and downs, not to mention the insane rollercoaster of parenting two young boys. I couldn’t agree more about really ‘liking’ a person before marrying them. Nothing is ever certain in this world, but a solid friendship is an excellent basis for long-term promise.
      I hope you have a wonderful celebration, and many happy years ahead!

  251. Loved this post and thankful you shared! Much love from a reader and fan living in Thailand.

  252. Thank you for sharing your story with such authenticity. I’ve really enjoyed following your and Brian’s story on your blog throughout the years and really loved reading your entire story. Happy Anniversary!

  253. WOW…just wow…love this post so much! So glad you guys have made the effort to make it work!

  254. I loved this post – -what a great start to a Monday. My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary, and, I agree with you, these milsetones really does feel like an accomplishment. You have such wise, thoughtful, and truthful advice to share — clearly borne of experience and experimentation. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about expressing appreciation. I remember once in a rather heated exchange with my husband (one of very few over the many years) simply saying “I can’t hear what you don’t say!” And it has stuck with me– I have to remember that he can’t hear what I don’t say either. So say all the kind stuff, not just the angry stuff. The other bit of wisdom I’ve picked up and tried to follow as well as share with friends struggling in their marriages: Assume your spouse is acting with your best interests at heart, or from a place of love. Even if they screw it up, assume they did not do it to hurt or undermine you, but rather that the actions were a misguided effect of a sincere intention. Reminding myself of that helps me to calm down and assess things more reasonably when everything appears to have gone off the rails.

  255. Aw Emily!!! How SUPER sweet your story is. One your children will love reading as adults. I love your blog. I love how real you are! Praying much success for you and your little family. Happy anniversary!!

  256. You GUYS. Emily, way to make me cry, laugh, and basically feel all the feels! Thank you, for sharing your beautifully real, raw version of your story– that is bravery right there, standing in your truth and living it too. Your kids are going to love reading this one day and learning more about the awesome people that their parents are.

    I adore and admire how you guys have gone through so many of life’s stages and individual changes while growing together as a team– that is not an easy feat and it’s a true testament to your relationship. I hope to have this for myself one day!

  257. I love how honest and raw this was, Emily! Perfect tone 😉 Happy anniversary!

  258. This was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  259. Congratulations on 10 years! And I think it’s wonderful that you shared a true look into what marriage looks like. We celebrated our ten year anniversary this year as well, and it’s not always easy but always, always worth it. Congrats again! <3

  260. Thank you for your honesty. My husband and I are both creatives dealing with rejections, lack of fulfillment, desperation and disappointment, while at the same time finding happiness in our one toddler and soon to be born baby. It’s a unique life, to have dreams that depend so much on the market and the whims of readers and agents. And it’s a hard contradiction to deal with. We love our family collectively, but are both struggling individually, and that definitely affects our appreciation for each other and for what we have. I really appreciate hearing how you guys are dealing with it, and may have to look into this narrative therapy! So happy for all of your success and the way you share it with us.

  261. Thank you for sharing such a real love story. It warms my heart to know that you guys have worked hard to be together. I can relate in so many ways and still have so much to look forward to (kids). It’s such a great reminder to honor and love my husband and always approach this life as partners – what we have is too great to give up.

  262. Such amazing honesty in this time of sarcasm and judgmental attitudes and jaded outlooks. I mean, I love sarcasm more than the average human, but I’m finding people are becoming harsh in their humor. I loved reading an honest representation of the ups and owns of a relationship. I married my husband a year after we started seeing each other, and it wasn’t always easy because we didn’t *know* each other. However, he has always made me laugh, he is my best friend, and he has a wonderful heart. He is the best father I could ever ask for for our girls. He is strong and patient and we just had our 22nd anniversary. We celebrated simply, and it was the BEST.

    Happiest of anniversaries to you guys. I don’t normally do this sort of thing, because eeeek, but I really appreciate your openness. Plus, I live in Sacramento, so when you talk about hitting the antique stores, I get all warm and fuzzy inside. 😉

  263. Ours is a love story…not grand or fancy, but still EPIC.
    Am I the only one who totally thought of Logan and Veronica as well?? 🙂
    From one Veronica Mars fan (and I was also OBSESSED with Felicity & Ben and wanted them to marry in real life) to another….Thank you!
    I LOVE everything about this post and your blog and the “real Emily Henderson”. Thank you so much for taking the time and courage to share your life with all of us strangers.
    I adore reading your blog and your personal stories and I especially love your honesty.

    PS I’m one of the many fans as well, who has never commented until today. I just couldn’t resist after reading the EPIC line.

  264. I am a long time reader and follower of your work, but this is the first time that I felt I had to comment. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, you are incredibly brave to put this information out in the world–don’t let anyone hurt your feelings if they say something negative. You are a wonderful role model for people being real and honest–not to mention you have a wonderful sense of style. Keep keeping it real and I wish you all the best in the world!

    P.S. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and we met in a very similar way–I was in the audience and he was acting in community theatre (he also has a lot of chest hair, but I didn’t find this out until later because he was not acting shirtless:)). Even though we love each other very much, we both struggle with artistic desires that can be frustrating (while still working in non-artistic traditional jobs), but I’m hoping we can follow your lead and make some changes to be happier with ourselves and each other.

  265. Thank you for sharing this post. It was beautiful and helpful.

  266. Thank you for being real and transparent! This post is a breath of fresh air. And Happy Anniversary!

  267. This was so refreshing to read. Too often we see prose about the doom, gloom and eventual death of marriage because of the unfairytale like moments juxtaposed with the ethereal perfect couples goals littering Instagram promising a life void of the reality of two imperfect individuals coming together.

    Thank you for being brave and open and willing to share. And thank you to Brian for doing the same. Keep at it! Especially in the hard times…because after all it’s easy to love the lovable (moments, people, experiences) but love is really demonstrated {and needed} the most during the difficulties, the times when we struggle individually, when it’s not all rose colored.

    For better or worse. Not just words.
    Diamonds are made under pressure.

    Your story is #Beautiful.

    xxo
    -D

  268. Your love story is a beautiful one… full of real life moments, along with personal struggles + successes. Thank you for sharing and being so authentically honest. It’s hard to tell the ‘real story’ but you chose to and it was inspiring. I’m in a 16-year relationship too (only married for 5) but our love story is very similar… it was refreshing and relate-able to read yours.

    – jaime

  269. Emily, thank you for being vulnerable, raw, and real all at the same time.

    It’s so nice to know the story of your marriage and how marriage is hard work, but if you are truly committed you do what you can, seek help, and just keep at it until the problem is fixed; you don’t just give up.

    Cheers to you and your beautiful family and many more years of being together!

  270. Long time reader, first-time commenter. Thank you for sharing your love story and being authentic. Not enough blogs like yours. You set the standard! Also – as a mom of 2 under 2 I love the parenting/life posts as much as the design stuff. Keep it coming and thanks for all the great content!

  271. Marriage, commitment is hard work. Thank you for sharing. Apart from being a brilliant designer, you always seem so optimistic, cheerful and together-never the appearance of a ripple or a problem. But that certainly is never the whole truth, because we all have our paths and our struggles in life. I appreciate and respect your honesty and bravery. As a new mom, your sage advice to appreciate your partner, has been taken note of. Thank you!

  272. wow, this made me cry…what a beautiful story, Thanks for being so honest and open. Congratulations and many more in the future!!!

  273. this made me teary. so real and raw. best post yet.

  274. Emily, you raise the bar every time! Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your story. One thing I missed was how you got from being in L.A. to auditioning for Design Star? I seem to recall you were working as a photo stylist, right? Please tell me you didn’t go from bartending to winning Design Star or I’m afraid I’ll have to quit what I’m doing and start looking for bartending jobs…
    It’s hard to have two creative people in a relationship and I think you showed the value of heart-felt support and appreciation. Thank you!

    1. Wow. What an amazing declaration of love. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Es tan bella tu historia es un amor verdadero. las muchas agua no podran apagar el amor. Ni lo ahogarán los ríos. Cantares 8;7
      yo estoy casada por 37 anos y mi esposo y yo hemos luchado mucho por nuestro matrimonio nos casamos muy chicos yo 18 y el 21 tu historia es muy gratificante Dios fortalece nuestros matrimonios si luchamos juntos cada dia (trasladate for English please) Dios les bendiga.

    3. Thanks for sharing this post! I loved hearing about your love story and all you guys have been through. Keep sharing 🙂 Happy anniversary!

    4. Fellow Duck (class of ’00 here too!)

      This is wonderful. Just celebrated my 10th anniversary with my college sweetheart too. Eugene was good to us!

      ?

  275. Congratulations on your 10th wedding anniversary, Emily and Brian. What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve just sent it on to my husband as an early 10th anniversary ‘present’ – we’re on Friday. Hope you have wonderful celebrations.

  276. Thank you so much for being honest! I feel the same way – having just had a second baby and I’m in the trenches of that lack of sleep feeling unappreciated no one can be as tired as me phase. We have been married 5 years – same day as you and he is still my best friend and the best dad. But it has been really hard and I’m hopeful we have been through the toughest. We need to be reminded that it’s also not always about us either and competing who has it more rough. Like my mother always says – if you love someone try and make their day a little bit easier, whether it make them a coffee or get up with the kids or know that they can’t stand taking out the garbage and you take care of it. It’s the little things that make your day. Thanks again!

  277. I love this. It’s so real and raw, but so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  278. Thank you so much for sharing, this was very beautiful to read and inspirational. I have been with my boyfriend since we were 16 (now 25) and I hope we get to grow and evolve in the loving way you and Brian have. Thank you.

  279. Saw this had 399 comments so I had to make it 400!! Great read. Congrats on 10 years. that’s no small feat today and thanks for your words of wisdom.

  280. Thank you.. I think I read the whole post without taking a breath!

    I’m a new mom & the family breadwinner & the responsibility can feel so heavy… And of course it affects my marriage. So thank you for keeping it real and reminding me we’re all fighting the good fight.

    P.S. Your pregnancy/birth/ family posts have been so incredibly helpful! Thank you so much!!

  281. Thanks for your story. It’s real and honest and relatable. Glad you’re in a happy, loving, place.

  282. Bravo! Wonderful, honest, epic post. Congratulation & Happy Anniversary. My husband & I will celebrate 20 yrs next summer. Our 2 kids (similar in age apart to your 2) are middle & high school aged now which is SO WEIRD and adds a whole new kind of stress, chaos & excitement to our lives. Sometimes it’s actually is harder now to get in a date night or weekend away than when they were smaller, because the kids have so much going on in their lives, too. But that’s a long long time away for you guys — in the meantime, just enjoy this phase of your lives. (And to that person above who said it shouldn’t be this hard — PPFFFTT. I guess ignorance is bliss.)

  283. amazing. y’all are amazing and share this is AMAZING. one thing i think women/men/relationships need more of is pure, honest sharing so thank you! when i have a bad day with my husband or twins and i can talk to someone who has experienced something similar or know that even emily henderson’s 😉 relationships have ups and downs, it’s pretty humbling and makes me take a deep breath.

    congratulations on 16 years!!!

  284. Emily,

    As a young, married person this was just the thing I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing and showing that the tough times and bumps along the way are just that – moments that pass and give way to something better. You’ve made me hopeful for the future.

    xoMariam

  285. This is a wonderful post! Thanks for being so vulnerable and opening up – your sincerity and genuineness shine through. Congratulations on ten (16) years! I married my husband when I was 21, and just celebrated my 20th year anniversary. We have had our ups and downs, but I am so grateful to be married to him. I think people underestimate how much work relationships take – but how worth it in the end. I love your advice. You nailed it. Have a wonderful celebration!

  286. I love how open you were.

  287. I’m late to the commenting game, but I just wanted to say that I echo the sentiments of the other readers regarding the real down-home emotion of this post. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading such an inspiring post from a peer! We must be about the same age (I graduated from college in ’01) and I dug the David Gray/Coldplay references…brought me back to the soundtrack of an era that doesn’t always feel so far away but clearly is these days! I also was in the two-kids-under-three phase until recently (now they’re 3 and 4 1/2) and man, there really is just something about doing solo bedtimes at that age. 🙂 A night off is truly refreshing in every sense of the word, so thanks for the reminder. And Happy Belated Anniversary!

  288. Not at all what I expected, but in a good way! It’s crazy that you were so honest, but it’s amazing how one person’s story can help smooth out so many others. Well done, Emily!

    PS: My only concern was whether or not Brian knew how much you were sharing, so I was very relieved that he read it all pre-publication. Also, I’ve wondered what he did for a living for years.

  289. Thank you, Emily, for being brace and sharing this story with us! Your openness with talking about real life problems makes me not feel so alone as I struggle with similar issues that WE ALL EXPERIENCE, yet don’t talk about all that much. If there are haters, just know that you’ve helped me! Xo

  290. Thank you so much for this post and congrats on 10 years of marriage. I can relate so much to your struggles as a married couple that it’s nice to know that we are not alone.

  291. Emily – this post came at the exact right time for me. And, I wanted to comment because I want you to know that your story also resonates with those of us who are not married or have children… but just find ourselves in a relationship in which we have, as you put it, grown apart. My relationship is going on 11 years (with some breakups mixed in) and while we are not actually married, we refer to ourselves as married and it is our version of it for now. We met in our 20s and have seen each other grow up and struggle to find careers. And what you said about how our personal level of happiness effects the others is so on point. We are at a crossroads right now after a particularly rough year. We don’t know what to do, but all of your advice is sound and I am going to take it. I believe the relationship is worth it – I believe HE is worth it – so thank you SOOO much. I think I will be sharing this post with him as well. Thanks again and Happy Anniversary!

  292. Emily, thank you so much for taking us with you along your journey. I’m honored to be able to witness it. It’s epic indeed <3

  293. I LOVED everything about this – it was so real, relatable and you didn’t gloss over anything. But you both were upfront that it IS hard and the work you had to put to get through it. So, thank you for sharing. We need more real life vs pinterest pretty of what marriage is.

  294. Oh Emily! We are kindred relationship spirits. I see myself and my husband so much in your story. We started dating at 21 (actually just before), but broke up after college, in that first pivotal year after and I felt the need to spread my wings and find myself in the big city (well, Atlanta, so medium city). But we were broken up for TWO YEARS. We remained best friends the whole time though. And then I was ready again. I had grown, he had grown and we found our way back to each other. We married at 27 also and had our baby (also named Charlie!) in 2014. But it’s me who has struggled with depression and I still do. I’m a few years younger, 31, so I feel like we haven’t quite gotten to that sweet spot that you guys have but this gives me confidence that we will. Because I feel exactly the same way about my Parker as you do Brian. All those things you said at the end – samesies. And taking care of ourselves and making time to be happy is such an important lesson that we are failing at. Good reminders abound in this post. Anyway, so happy for you. Happy anniversary. ❤️

  295. Thank you for posting this wonderful story. You are truly a superb writer and captured whats at the heart of all good love stories – struggle. Sometimes its so hard to look at the fashion/decorating blogs because everybody looks so perfect. Your family is one of the MOST perfect looking families ever! But it’s your openess about how hard it sometimes can be to be in a relationship, raise children AND have a career that makes your blog posts so AMAZING. Thank you to Brian for being open about therapy. It’s so important that people know that there is nothing to be ashamed about in seeking help! It’s a sign of strength. After I finished reading your post, I immidiately sent my husband a text telling him how much I appreciated him and his efforts to make our family great. I gotta get back to work now. Tear stained face and all. Once again, Thank you.

  296. HIGH PRAISE Emily. This is wonderful to read. I read you daily and know you don’t often talk about your personal life but when you do you are always beautiful and honest. I just wanted to tell you how poignant and meaningful this article is to me; truly beyond a few characters in a comment box could express. Thank you for writing this. I am sharing it with a few of my beloved friends who would totally get it.

  297. Thanks so much for sharing this! I am 26 and engaged (will also be married at 27). I also started dating my fiancé when we were 20 and at college. I am always trying to grow as a person and as a partner and I am so confused why it is not something that is discussed more. I want to have “mentors” in this just like you would in a workplace. Thanks for being open, honest and sharing. I am grateful to learn from you. I think that you did a great thing in sharing this. Happy anniversary!!

  298. Oh man I have tears in my eyes reading this. So much of your story rings true for me. I spent so many years more passionate and committed to a career in theatre than I can admit now that I’m a mom of 2 under 3 not working in the biz. It is so soul sucking. The rejection just becomes overwhelming. I appreciated this little look into your life! <3

  299. This!! Beyond amazing. Emily, you are amazing. Thank you for sharing. Happy Anniversary!

  300. Since your life is so different from mine, I mean I don’t even need design advice because I don’t have that kind of life, but I still love your style of design advice and seeing all of the beautiful things and photos, I sometimes wonder if I should even be reading this blog, like maybe it is for all of the people with families, kids, places to design, etc. While enjoying and looking forward to posts, yet noticing the differences, I’ve wondered how Brian was doing while you suddenly had seemingly endless opportunities open up before you. I cried while reading this post as my heart broke a little to find out things had been difficult.

    1. Since your life is so different from mine, I mean I don’t even need design advice because I don’t have that kind of life, but I still love your style of design advice and seeing all of the beautiful things and photos, I sometimes wonder if I should even be reading this blog, like maybe it is for all of the people with families, kids, places to design, etc. While enjoying and looking forward to posts, yet noticing the differences, I’ve wondered how Brian was doing while you suddenly had seemingly endless opportunities open up before you. I cried while reading this post as my heart broke a little to find out things had been difficult.

      1. I am sorry for the hard times both of you had to go through and happy for all of the things that are going so well. I agree with some of the other readers who said this was their favorite post, it was mine, because of the compassion you have for yourself and Brian, and because of the humanity apparent in your descriptions of your experiences. Thank you.

  301. Love it. You continue to be my favorite- designer and blogger who actually shares real things. Thank you and keep it up!

  302. About cried reading this. Thank you for this post and being so open about depression and the different forms of depression. Also being appreciative of one another is so important and can’t agree more! Thank you for all your honesty!

  303. Emiliy I’m a follower from Spain.Thank you very much for your honest post.I have read your love story in a day I need it,thank you for your help.You are a brave woman. Contrats for your beautiful family.

  304. That is beautiful and inspiring!

  305. As I read this post, while finishing of another glass of white wine, I can’t stop the tears from pouring from my eyes. My fiancé and I are young and and love and looking forward to a life time of happiness, however this doesn’t come without many years of heartakes and bumps along the way. We began dating when I was only 18 (he was 22) and sometimes it feels like no one understands our relationship. It’s incredibly refreshing to read about a story that feels so similar to what ours has been, and what ours could be. Thank you so much for sharing.

  306. What a beautiful post! My children are similarly spaced and my husband and I similarly value our parenting roles while trying to juggle careers, a marital relationship, and personal happiness. I applaud anyone out there who is TRYING–that is the key to being successful (not perfect) in this dance that can sometimes feel like a seizure/death march/marathon. 🙂 Your comments about personal happiness being linked to your marital happiness are so on point. Thank you and your husband for your vulnerability and willingness to share your experiences. I’m sure it has helped many re-examine their own lives/marriage…I know that I’m going to give my husband some encouragement tonight as a result of the reminders in this post!

  307. Hi Emily
    I follow your blog but never comment. I felt compelled to do so after reading your (very honest) post about your relationship and the ups and downs of marriage. I cried and your words about resentment resonated with me. No marriage is perfect but it is perfect with all its imperfections.

    Wishing you and Brian a very memorable anniversary and another 50.

    Angela

  308. Gosh this is so amazing. Recently your election post made me love you but this is somehow even better. (your writing is ril good 😉 I’ve been with my husband very long as well and though we dont have kids yet – you’re about 5 years older than me – and so much of this resonates with me. Brian, Brady, Sara and Becca were right, nailed the tone of this baby. muah

  309. Your story reminded me that in our first year of marriage we received a marriage devotional book and the one I still remember was on appreciation. We wrote out 10 things we appreciated about each other and I still have it and often read what my husband wrote.

  310. I NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS WORLD’S TOP SPELL CASTER. HE IS REALLY POWERFUL AND COULD HELP CAST SPELLS TO BRING BACK EX LOVER, I’M HAPPY & A LIVING TESTIMONY COS THE MAN I HAD WANTED TO MARRY LEFT ME 2 WEEKS BEFORE OUR WEDDING AND MY LIFE WAS UPSIDE DOWN COS OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ON FOR 2YEARS… I REALLY LOVED HIM, BUT HIS MOTHER WAS AGAINST US. SO WHEN I MET THIS SPELL CASTER, I TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINED THE SITUATION OF THINGS TO HIM..AT FIRST I WAS UNDECIDED,SKEPTICAL AND DOUBTFUL, BUT I JUST GAVE IT A TRY. AND IN 3 DAYS WHEN I RETURNED TO MY COUNTRY, MY BOYFRIEND(NOW HUSBAND) CALLED ME BY HIMSELF AND CAME TO ME APOLOGIZING FOR EVERYTHING HIM AND HIS MOTHER HAS DONE TO ME..I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT COS THE SPELL CASTER ONLY ASKED FOR SOME VITAL INFORMATION WHICH I FORWARDED TO HIM…I AM HAPPY TO SAY WE ARE HAPPILY MARRIED, IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THE SPELL CASTER FOR SOME HELP, HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS; DR_MACK@YAHOO. COM…… HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT

  311. I’m 26 and my boyfriend and I have been together for 8 years – we met in high school. So I can totally relate to the whole “raising each other” thing. While it’s been difficult in some ways going through such a huge life transition together, I couldn’t have picked a better person to do life with.

    Wishing you many more beautiful years together!

  312. Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.

  313. Désolée, j’écris en français parce que je ne maîtrise pas du tout l’anglais ….
    Un grand merci pour cette magnifique histoire, celle d’une femme et d’un homme qui se respectent avant tout. Votre histoire est belle parce qu’elle est remplie d’amour et qu’il vous à permis de franchir les étapes parfois difficiles de la vie se couple. Personnellement, j’ai 3 enfants de 2 pères differents desquels je suis séparée parce que si je les ai aimés, ils n’étaient pas mes amis et j’ai cru que nous serions capables de surmonter nos différences. Aujourd’hui, je partage ma vie avec un homme merveilleux que j’aime et qui est aussi devenu mon meilleur ami, mon confident.
    Merci à vous aussi pour votre blog que je suis depuis bientôt 2 ans, après avoir tardivement découvert IG. Vous faites un superbe travail avec votre équipe.

  314. I love your designs and started reading your blog. But thank you for sharing your life and marriage story which brings a whole new dimension to the essence of “you”. I admire your courage, honesty and bravery… courage to love, to hurt and share it all with us!