8 years

June 5, 2010 |  Category:   family life

But a lot of you know it’s really been 18 years, although we got married “only” 8 years ago today in Hawaii. (mmmm…how many of you want to be in Hawaii right about now?).

18 years is a long time to know someone, so if I could talk to my former self knowing what I know now, what would I say?

It’s ok to fight once in awhile. It’s healthy, even.

Take some pictures, damn it! You’ll wish you had them to look back on when you were both long-haired youths. Also, don’t keep Mark’s hair for months after he cuts it. It’s sorta creepy even if you are superstitious about someone making a voodoo doll out of the hair or whatever you were worried about.

Your 24 year old problems aren’t that bad so stop worrying and being so grumpy about it. Because you’re going to have some real problems when you’re an adult and you’re going to have to learn how to cope and deal with it. Start learning how now.

Don’t nag so much. You’re just lucky he’s not the type to complain about the nagging.

Travel more. Go overseas to Asia. Because once you start having kids and your own business, you’re not really going to have the chance to travel much again.

Sleep. Sleep now while you can.

Don’t wait till you’re 30 to start saving money. That was real stupid to wait so long because you could have had more money in the bank at age 40 if you started saving when you got your first job out of college.

Talk to each other. Don’t just make major decisions about your life on your own (like moving back to NY) and then just announce them. Make decisions together.

Don’t waste your time wondering if he’ll ever go bald or develop a beer gut and become one of those skinny fat people. He won’t.

Even though your small Hawaii wedding was relatively cheap, don’t spend 3k on your wedding dress, even if your aunt was generous enough to pay for it as a gift. Because your brother is going to step on it and rip it right after the reception and you’re just going to hang it up at your parent’s house and never look at it again. Spend the money elsewhere or save it.

It doesn’t really matter that you think you have little in common in terms of pop culture references. So what if he can’t recall any episode of the Brady Bunch or share how the deep lyrics of Morrissey or Robert Smith saved you in high school or get any quotable references of any John Hughes movie. That stuff doesn’t matter later on and it won’t play a factor in any major life decisions that need to be made.

Don’t worry so much about any lack of ambition that you might think he has. Because he’s going to prove that he’s a harder worker than anyone you know and you’ll discover that actually, of the 2 of you, you’re the lazier one.

Don’t question whether or not you’re making the right choice. You won’t be rich and have a country house and you won’t ever get to be a stay-at-home mom, but you’ll have a nice life and 2 of the cutest and smartest kids you’ll ever meet. Money is not everything.

We’re not really big on gifts and stuff on anniversaries, so we’re just all going out for a family sushi meal. The weekend has been given over to Etsy orders anyway, but things are actually quite calm and manageable. Oh, and this goofy picture? Mark and I can’t take a good photo of ourselves if our life depended on it. I had considered it for our Etsy feature, but decided last minute to use the one with Claudine just because it makes me laugh. Also, I am standing on a box. Mark is 6’3″ and I am 5’6″. Just in case you were wondering…

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  • Adele @ modernemotive June 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Such a lovely post! I love how you had that chat with yourself. It was a pleasure to read.

    Happy Anniversary.

  • kristina June 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    huge congratulations (16 years and counting with my lovely guy).

    hope it’s all right to send a missive after being a quiet reader of your blog, and browser of your shops.

    wishing you many more years of love, happiness, and togetherness.

  • J June 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations to both of you!

  • rifferaff June 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    i <3 this list alot and i love that pic (cute shirt).

  • June Shin June 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    What a great post and cute picture! Happy Anniversary and enjoy your sushi!

  • Katie June 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Wow, the girls are so much like their dad! (And you too of course) Congratulations.

  • Jennifer June 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Aloha from Hawaii! It’s lovely I came across your website today for the first time and it is your anniversary!!! I love to bake too and I owned a makeup company in Hawaii. visit my blog at http://justminerals.blogspot.com

    Congratulations, 18 years is a long time you guys have 2 precious little girls! Just lovely!

  • Amber, theAmberShow June 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    “Travel more. Go overseas to Asia. Because once you start having kids and your own business, you’re not really going to have the chance to travel much again.”

    I hear you, loud and clear. Thanks for the advice. Childless, 28 year old me is going to take it.

    Also? Let me know if you want me to do a portrait session with you guys, totally on the house. I’m just now starting to take it seriously as a business (AmberMarlow.com) and it would be good PR for me.

  • alexandra June 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    i have to say first that i really like the photo! congratulations for both of you, it is really nice to see a couple like you. *

  • Mrs. Limestone June 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Great advice. Im with you on most everything (except the wedding dress). My husband and I haven’t been together quite so long – just 15 years -but its so true about the photos and the problems.

  • Dinah June 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Happy Anniversary! I knew I didn’t remember your being that tall, heh.

  • ChantaleP June 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Happy Anniversary you two! After 18 years, you both still look good. Young even. lol! Have a great weekend.

  • Anna @ D16 June 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm


    Excellent post. You guys are great.

  • Lecia June 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I *love* the photo – I looked at it awhile before reading your post. I love this introspective, sweet, thoughtful look at your past 8 (18) years together. I could say many of the same things about myself and my marriage. Happy anniversary! (Now, how about a picture of that dress??)

  • jennifer June 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    i love this post.

    congrats guys!

  • patricia June 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Awesome post and great photo. Congratulations! :)

  • Amy Blogs Chow June 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Congratulations! Jenna your post almost made me cry. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your eight almost perfect years.

  • lauren June 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I LOVE this photo of you two! Congratulations on all your love and successes.
    And thank you for your words of experience, I’m getting married in two weeks.
    Wishing you many, many more years of love and goodness!

  • Nidhi June 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    such a sweet post! Happy Anniversary you two :)

  • unha June 5, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    aww.. happy anniversary you guys.
    what a sweet post. xoxoxo

  • RJ June 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Love this.

  • Rowaida Flayhan June 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Happy Anniversary! love this post Jenna! wish you both health, happiness, success and prosperity!

  • Annie From Seattle June 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

    My favorite part is that the guy with mild ambition has turned out to be such a bad ass worker. I love surprises!

    And I love that you had to stand on a box!

    Happy anniversary, you two!

  • bronwyn June 6, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Happy Anniversary! This is a great photo. The bit about keeping Mark’s hair made me laugh!

  • Parisa Mahmoudi June 6, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Happy anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
    Wish you the best

  • Shannon June 6, 2010 at 4:11 am

    Hi Jenna,

    I just have to say I love your blog. I’ve been following it for a while. What you said- telling your past self not to worry about his ambition really hit home for me. I’m only 20 but there’s this guy I was crazy about and yet I was worried about that of all things…

    Great post. =)

  • nichole June 6, 2010 at 8:23 am

    happy anniversary, Jenna and Mark! Lovely post, and this picture is perfect. :)

  • Chuzai Living June 6, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Happy Anniversary! Ours is only a week later. We are not big on exchanging gifts on our anniversary, either and I asked my husband a couple of days ago if we could go out for a sushi dinner on our anniversary with our kids!! So cute that you are standing on a box! 5’6″ for Asian women is pretty tall. I’m also Asian, 5’7″ and my husband is 6′, but when I am in a photo with him wearing flat shoes, I feel like I’m short although I’m not. If you ever decide to travel to Indonesia (Bali is one of the most popular resort destination) in the next 3 years, we’ll be there. :)

  • Caddy June 6, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Happy Anniversary! This is such a sweet entry. 😀

  • Christine June 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Congratulations — on the anniversary and the Etsy feature. Anyone who lists Feldman along with The Smiths as their faves (and just about any of the other artists you mentioned, for that matter) is pretty cool in my book!

  • holly June 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Dear Jenna and Mark-Happy Anniversary !!
    I love you !

  • Jenn June 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm


    you have the most natural and lovely way of putting life in perspective.

  • Claudia June 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Beautiful story! Next June 13 my husband and I will complete 15 years together and all your tips and advices about “life together” are totally truth and real. Congrats for both of you and for your great journey together! You´re so motivational!

  • Melissa June 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Congratulations! My husband (to whom I showed this post) got all smug and “See there! See there!” when he read your stats. We have known each other for 11 years and married (also in Hawaii) for almost 5 – and I still give him a hard time about it. 5’6″ is pretty tall, really, don’t you think? I’m the same height and have only met one other Korean woman taller – an aunt who is 5’7″.

  • mandi June 6, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Ha! I’m over from etsy- fun to find that we have the same wedding anniversary! We celebrated 11 years on Sat. but have been together 19. Since I was 15. Uh-huh.
    I loved your thoughts about pop-culture references! haha- that was so me!

  • mau June 7, 2010 at 12:16 am

    congratulations jenna and mark! you’re a lovely couple and jenna, i don’t know why you don’t like showing pictures of yourself. you’re beautiful.

  • Linda June 7, 2010 at 1:22 am

    sweet and lovely post. enjoy the sushi celebration. congrats jenna and mark!

  • ftenshin June 7, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Happy Anniversary, wishing you many more lovely years ahead! Love the picture of you two. Sweet post!

  • Cynthia June 7, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Happy Anniversary! You’ve been with each other almost half of your lives! That says a lot right there. I love the picture of you both in front of your shelf of labels….quite a partnership :) I really like your notes from your experience….like start saving before 30 and letting people know when your moving across the country. My husband and I have been together 14 years and married for 12 and have loved the adventure that life brings..twins, cross country move from SF Bay area to the midwest six years ago, renovating buildings, making jewelry and baking for all the kids fundraisers. You both are a great inspiration, may you have a gazillion more wonderful years together! Thanks so much for your blog, it’s always a bright spot in my day!

  • Michaela June 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I love the facial expressions of both of you!
    And I love reading your posts very much,
    they are refreshing open minded written.
    Wish you and your family all the best.

  • The French June 7, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Thoughts going through my head as I was reading this… “uh huh. Yep. Oops. Totally. Of course. Ouch. I do that. Preach. I’m a jerk.” Good reminders for me, especially after 10 years together. Thanks so much for the laugh and the look in the mirror:)

  • joslyn June 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    this is totally fantastic…and so, so true.
    you nailed it!

    happy anniversary to the two of you!

  • scentual soundtracks June 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Love it! I’m definitely with you on the travel before kids — I’m trying to make that happen with my husband soon! Best wishes and happy anniversary to you.

  • charlie June 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    hi hi! i have been reading your blog forever but i have never commented, which is officially becoming weird. you have such a beautiful family and i love reading your blog. congratulations to you and mark! also, now that i have broken the comment seal, i will be commenting like mad. i may go back and read older entries and just make a day of it! j/k, congratulations again guys!

  • lori June 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Happy anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been exactly one year since I’ve read your last anniversary post. It’s been about a year since I’ve been following your blog and I find everything you write so inspirational, especially this blog in particular. I’m 25 and have been with my boyfriend (hopefully fiance someday!) for about 8 years now and I can relate very much to your post. To many more years of happiness! :)

  • aubrey June 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    happy anniversary!
    thank you for the great post!

  • Laura June 9, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Great post and Happy Anniversary! My husband and I have been together since 1991 and will be married 11 years come August. So I totally understand this post! 19 years altogether for us and I could come up with some what I know now thoughts too! Ha

  • Danita Luna June 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Hey this is my first vivit here, congrats on the lovelyness. this post rules! i love it!

  • Marisa and Creative Thursday June 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    this is awesome in every possible way. happy anniversary

  • rachel June 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    hi jenna… I’m just reading this post now, linked from your 9 years, 19 years post. it really resonated with me. not just the year part (I’m getting married next month on our 9th anniversary of dating)… but everything you said. so thank you for sharing. happy, happy anniversary.