Year Two

Monday, June 18, 2018

Today marks two years of being married to this incredible man. We’ve jam-packed so much into these past two years that sometimes it feels like we’ve surely been married for more, while other times it feels like it was just yesterday that I was anxiously sitting in a Barnes and Noble cafe, waiting for an almost-stranger to finish class so we could hang out for the first time (but that was eight years ago!). Thank you for loving me, Brian Hayes, through my good times and my terrible times and all the times in-between. Thank you for always putting us first. You're a really special person, and I'm so happy you're mine.

To celebrate year two we're sharing a small glimpse into our lives with a few questions we both answered separately (just like year one!). Responses below! I love you so much, B xo

1. Three words that best describe your marriage at this point? 

L: Supportive, nurturing, fun

B: Fun, loving, loyal

2. What's your best memory from the past year?

L: While there were some major highs this year (surprising Brian at O’Hare with an Arsenal game in London, trips to Croatia and Japan, seeing my favorite band and favorite comedian, to name a few), when I look back, my best memories are from the simplest nights. It’s a common occurrence for us to have one glass of wine too many when relaxing on a Friday night with friends, come home and blast some throwback Kanye songs and laugh about silly things for an extra couple of hours (or, sometimes, argue about things like education reform). We say we regret staying up so late in the morning, but those are some of the happiest moments of my life. I can’t believe I get to have a sleepover with my best friend every night and that it doesn’t stop being fun.

B: It's pretty hard to top a lot of the moments from the surprise birthday trip to London/Amsterdam. Getting surprised by friends and family along the way really was amazing and will always be so special to me. It was such an amazing trip and all the hard work that went into it really meant a lot to me.

3. What have you grown to appreciate about the other that you didn't necessarily love at the beginning? 

L: When we first started dating, it used to stress me out how long it took Brian to answer questions or make a decision. We took a LOT of road trips in our first few years together, and I’d often ask questions like, “Would you rather be lost in a desert or at sea?” and it felt like he wouldn’t respond for HOURS. I remember telling a friend that I feel I can’t let him decide where to eat, or that I need to ask him hours before or I’ll die from starvation. Eight years later, I think B makes decisions faster, but I’ve also come to appreciate the thoughtfulness in his responses. As someone who talks too much, too fast, too often, it’s really nice that he puts thought into every single one of his words and actions. It’s why so many people trust him, ask for his advice and why we always eat our best meals when he chooses.

B: I'm having a really hard time with this question. Maybe her willingness to fight for things. I'm typically non-confrontational and more likely to let something go, while she isn't afraid to tell someone when she's aggrieved. I think at the beginning of our relationship I didn't understand why she would bother getting worked up about what I perceived as little things. Now, I enjoy seeing her fight for herself and share her stories of victory with Grandma Hayes (who's also always willing to fight the good fight).

4. What's your favorite thing about the other?

L: He’s the most giving, generous person I know.

B: Her passion and commitment. When she loves something, she really loves it, and when she decides to do something, she is determined to do it no matter how hard it is or how much work it takes. She's so dedicated and works so hard to achieve her goals, whether big or small. Once she has a task, a goal, or a want on her list she won't stop until it's been achieved.

5. What’s a guaranteed way to make the other happy after a terrible day?

L: Pizza, beer and a sports game/video game go a long way for Brian. But, surprisingly, so does a chill night with friends. People expect me to be extroverted and for B to be introverted, but it’s the opposite. As long as we haven’t had a marathon few days of social engagements, he gets his energy from those close to him (and I get it from the Real Housewives).

B: Back scratches while lying down somewhere comfortable. I'm not sure it's a guaranteed way to always make her happy per se, but it helps relax and remove some of the stress after a long day. This is so embarrassing, guys! Makes me sound like a pet, haha! 

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

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

B: One thing that can be challenging is balancing our lives. I think we both have a tendency to want to "do it all" sometimes, whether it be with our friends, families, doing things with people separately, or having time alone, and then we also want to have time together with just each other. We do okay managing it, but sometimes it can be hard to say "enough" and just set time aside for us to have those days or nights where we do nothing together.

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

L: The week after the inauguration last year, when the country and our household needed a boost in optimism, Brian asked me if it was OK if we donated $1,000 to the ACLU and the National Iranian American Council and shared with our family and friends why he did and supports others to do the same. It brought me to tears. It’s a true symbol of how generous he is and how passionate he is about his beliefs (and has made my fights his fights). Similarly, after my grandma passed last year, our family was worried about how we’d maintain the interest free bank she had created for family and close friends. To keep it going, I asked him if he minded if I donated my recent bonus to the cause. He encouraged me to do it and tell my family in Iran they could count on it yearly.

B: Simply the way she embraces family — whether it be the two of us, my family or hers. She cares so deeply for all of those people and would do anything for them, and it makes me so proud. It's definitely one of the things that makes me feel so close to her.

8. What are the biggest changes you've seen in yourself?

L: This isn’t unique to this year, it’s more encompassing of the past few years, but I think I finally am myself. I’m more at ease and comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been, and I definitely have Brian to thank for that.

B: This is probably a better question for her to answer about me! I don't know. I don't feel like I've changed too much in the last two years. My Farsi skills are better than they were two years ago!

9. Advice for spending two years with someone?

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

B: Just enjoy it and cherish it, whether it's been two years or 60. Life can change so much so fast, and one of the things I try to do is simply appreciate and enjoy what I've been given in life. I'm not always the best at that, but it helps refocus me sometimes, and I think remembering that perspective helps me be a better husband.

10. What are you most looking forward to for year three?

L: I have a feeling year three will be a big one for us. Something unique about our relationship for me is that we’ve always talked about the future, even when we had just started dating. In the past, I’d always let my mind race about where a relationship was heading but never vocalized it. From day one, B and I talked openly about our goals and dreams as a couple (which was strange because I wasn’t keen on even jumping into a relationship but felt oddly comfortable discussing where we might be in our 50s with a stranger). I was cleaning out my email inbox the other day and saw that Brian sent me an email about a vacation deal for five days in Waikiki a few weeks into dating — we obviously didn’t go, but I read the thread and it was such a natural conversation about wanting to travel together in the future. While many of our goals have already come to life (not Hawaii, though!), I think this year will be the start of a few more, personally and professionally.

B: At the moment, I think I'd have to say our upcoming trip to Australia this fall, but who knows! Every year has been filled with so many great memories, it's already crazy to me to look back and see how much we've done together. So, I'm sure there will be lots to look forward to.

P.S. You can see all of our wedding and honeymoon photos here!


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