Relationships

Our Eighth Anniversary

Joanna Goddard and Alex Williams

Last night, Alex and I went out for our anniversary…

NYC Schooner Sail

We’re going to our fancy dinner — all dressed up — next month because that’s when we could get a reservation. (NYC, man!) So, last night we went to Manhattan instead and took a schooner sail on the Hudson River. A million years ago, we got engaged on a sail, so it felt extra romantic to be out on the water.

Alex Williams

It was a truly gorgeous evening — warm air with a breeze, a pink and blue sky, many sailboats on the water. One thing I’ve learned about marriage over the past eight years are that ups and downs will happen. Of course I knew this going in, but now I really know it. We’ve dealt with depression, career stress, three moves, the loss of loved ones, anxiety, sleepless nights, small arguments, big arguments, grief, parenting difficulties, special needs… the list goes on. I’m sure future years will bring more challenges, as well.

NYC Schooner Sail

But we’ve been together through everything, of course. I love Alex, but I also just really, really like him. And there have been so many good times: we’ve had two beautiful children, taken road trips, ridden bikes along the water, read books in bed, laughed so much at the dumbest things. He’s made 8,000 chicken quesadillas because he knows I like them. I love his salt-and-pepper hair, his laid-back demeanor, his Seth Rogen laugh. It was a great night, and I can’t wait to get even older and grayer together.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading, as always. xoxo

P.S. 8 things I’ve learned about marriage, and favorite photos from our relationship.

  1. In my life I haven’t had the best examples of happy or even successful marriages so the fact that you’re so open about the struggles in your marriage, but also the sheer amount of happiness in it, helps to renew my faith in the tradition so thank you.

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  2. wishing you many more years of adventure together, sweet tribute to your husband and marriage!

  3. Congratulations Joanna & Alex! How lovely! And how it is beautiful and touching insights. I just dreaming to be so happy as you are.

  4. Mel says...

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! <3 Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us, insights on everything basically and just being you. I'm sure we all appreciate it more than you know.

  5. Maranda says...

    Happy anniversary! I just got engaged this weekend (hooray!) and I really love reading your insights into marriage. Hopefully my future marriage will be filled with as much happiness as yours sounds like it has been.

  6. Charlotte Blanch says...

    I’ve been following your blog since your wedding. So many years ago, I discovered Cup of Jo through my favorite photog, Max Wagner. I was a photog & journalism student with my live- in boyfriend. Now, I’ve been married 6 years and dated my husband for 9 years prior to marriage. We certainly know about marriage ups and downs, parenting difficulties and special needs. Our eldest of three is 5 years old and was diagnosed with high functioning autism last spring. You’ve hinted in the past about a story that’s not yours to tell and drop hints of having a special needs child (I think). If this is the case, I so wish you would write a post on special needs parenting. I’ve started to realize there’s autism/parenting code words and most are unsure about sharing their situation for fear of alienating or disgracing their child. Autism awareness in our society is fairly new, and I’m just trying to figure out where to start. The last thing I want is it to be the “thing” we don’t talk about even if most will not understand. I guess I’m looking for something that’s not all clinical or difficult. Autism has opened my heart and I was hoping you could relate. Thanks for sharing your life with Alex with us.

    • Annabelle says...

      “You’ve hinted in the past about a story that’s not yours to tell and drop hints of having a special needs child (I think).” I have also gotten this vibe, and if this is the case, I’m really pleased it’s something that Joanna hasn’t exploited, much like a lot of Autism Parents (aka, parents of autistic children who co-opt their child(ren)’s identity for their own), not that I think she would! However, like you say, a post or two would be really good. I’ve been reading Cup of Jo for a very long time now, and I feel like Jo would handle it with integrity and nuance and acceptance.

      I’m autistic myself, and it makes me very anxious and upset seeing so many parents out there acting like their child’s been stolen from them, or it’s the worst possible thing that could happen, or making a huge Thing about it, whilst almost forgetting the kid themself even exists, not even considering how they must feel about being used in such a way. So, seeing people like yourself makes me very happy, that you want to learn and understand and appreciate! Having supportive voices is welcome, and talking about it is good, just please never forget who you’re talking about! Autism acceptance is a huge benefit for everyone, autistic and otherwise.

      One resource I recommend is ASAN, although they’re focussed more on the viewpoint of the autistic person themself, however I imagine they’d be a good starting off point for you all the same, they have a lot of resources and links and such. I hope this message finds you well! :D

  7. Celeste says...

    Your words about marriage brought tears to my eyes. They made me realize that in the struggle, the love is found. That’s what gives a marriage roots and strength and depth. Happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Isabelle says...

    Thanks for the real talk about marriage. Your honesty is one of the main reasons I like this blog! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to keep up much with Cup of Jo over the summer and it was nice to come back to such an real post. My husband and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage this winter and to be honest, this part year has been the hardest one yet. Balancing tensions between careers and home life, anxiety, depression, a big move, many changes … this shit is HARD! We’re making it, and the best part is that when you’re on the other side of those challenges, you realize how much stronger you are as a couple. Here’s to more living and loving!

  9. Elinor says...

    Wow, so wonderful!! Congratulations :-)

  10. Callie says...

    Congratulations, love birds. I love your relationship and family. Many happy returns to you all.

  11. How lovely! And what touching insights. Congratulations Joanna & Alex!

  12. Ruth says...

    This is great. This is really really great. :) Happy anniversary, you two! I just got married in March, and I am so excited to see where we will be when our 8 year wedding anniversary comes around. xo

  13. Ruth says...

    Ahhhh….that’s so lovely……
    I remember years ago I saw a birthday card my friend gave her hubby. It said “every year I love you more”…… sounds like you two. Happy Anniversary.
    Ruth. :)

  14. Trisha says...

    This is so very sweet. I wish I knew you Joanna. You’re obviously a very genuine person. I always appreciate your very honest writing. Best to you and your very “real” and lovely family.

  15. Anne says...

    Happy anniversary! I took a boat trip after your engagement story, because the pictures were so pretty!

    I don’t know that I really think marriage should have ups and downs. I feel like life has PLENTY of ups and downs, but my marriage is my constant. Not to say we don’t bicker occasionally, but I don’t think we’re ever mad towards each other, just situations (decisions, emotions, etc.).

  16. I feel lame admitting this but I’ve taken that schooner sail with girlfriends and by my own and it’s still one of my favourite things to do in this town. That being said I loved your sentence – “I love him but I also really like him.” It’s a sweet sentiment that holds so much. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s amazing to take it on your own! i love that so much. very cool.

  17. Sasha says...

    Congratulations!! I started reading back when you were living together and got engaged- time flies! I remember thinking that a sailing trip is such a romantic place to get engaged, and that my bf and I should try sailing sometime, which we’ve yet to do, now that we’re living far from the ocean!
    That bf is now my husband, and we got engaged (well, talked about getting married- the engagement ring came months later) while walking on a chilly, windy Scottish beach. I hope to be able to take my future kids there one day and tell them that their parents decided to get married here.

  18. aga says...

    What a sweet and honest post! Happy anniversary and congratulations!

  19. “I love Alex, but I also just really, really like him.”
    such a strong message in a sentence. i totally know what you mean.

    and you know what…? I love this blog, but I also just really, really like it!” :)

  20. Jane says...

    I love this line: “I love Alex, but I also just really, really like him”. Happy anniversary!

  21. Meredith says...

    Congrats! Love your blog, and I also love being married. We’re coming up on 8 years, and I really like my husband, too! Thanks for all of your NYC tips. We moved here almost 2 years ago and I use your suggestions around town. :)

  22. Happy Anniversary! Looks like a wonderful evening. I love how said you love your husband and also really really like him. What a wonderful sentiment – happy to say I feel the same way about my husband. We are a few days away from welcoming our first child and I know that having both love AND friendship will make this new chapter even more special.

  23. Emma says...

    This is so sweet–also makes me think of the post you did about how you know someone is “the one.” The only thing that freaks me out with my partner now is thinking us both getting old… and one of us not being there. I want to be old and gray together!

  24. Maria says...

    Happy anniversary!

  25. Meagen says...

    Happy anniversary!!

  26. Emily says...

    Happy Anniversary! It just keeps getting better, in my opinion, especially after 8 years and small kids becoming bigger kids. My husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary this year. In our first year of marriage, we ran the Boston Marathon together. I have always felt that an apt metaphor for the life of a marriage and in the trickiest times (which I sometimes compare to Heartbreak Hill), I am reminded that if we crest the hill there is a beautiful downhill waiting for us on the other side. Keep enjoying one another!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, congratulations on the marathon! that’s a lovely analogy.

    • sarah morabito says...

      That is the TRUTH! those hills and valleys are what make it great…but I sure do love the downhill parts :)

  27. Alyssa says...

    This is so lovely and makes me look forward to the day when i’ll have something similar…but first, I need a man. :)

    So happy for you both! <3

  28. Cláudia says...

    Lovely post! Happy anniversary! :)

  29. Meg says...

    Happy anniversary! As a not-even-close-to-marriage twenty five year old you two are the cutest example of something amazing to look forward to!!

  30. I remember the day you wrote you were engaged! Time is FLYING. It’s been so much fun to see your guys’ love grow and evolve. Such an inspiration. <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      seriously flying! sometimes i can’t believe it!

  31. A big congratulations! Every year is an achievement – in the best possible way, but an achievement nonetheless :-)

  32. Alice says...

    Aw happy anniversary! You are, and always have been, such a beautifully sweet couple. I’ve always admired how you two seem to be a solid unit, taking life on together. Here’s a strong, loved up, laughter-filled future for the two of you x

  33. Helena says...

    WHICH DRESS DID YOU PICK

    <3

    • YEAH!!! Which one???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha the black one! :) :) :)

  34. Such a beautiful post, I love that you “just really really like him too”. Thank you for being willing to share so much of your lives.

  35. Mrun says...

    Happiest anniversary to you two!
    I have nothing insightful to say about marriage (married for 3 years), but I have loved to follow you guys on your journey. Thank you so much for sharing and keeping it real.

  36. lauren says...

    Happy anniversary, Jo! thanks for sharing your special night…

  37. Jeanelle says...

    What a lovely post. To “like” each other after all those years is really special. Thank you for your honesty about your marriage and sharing this online, even despite the hard stuff – it is really inspirational.

  38. Beth Nesbit says...

    Happy anniversary! I love your blog and enjoy the peaks we have into your family life. All the best to you!

  39. Heidi says...

    Congratulations to you and Alex! You two make the loveliest couple, and it made my heart smile to read the things you wrote about him. I’ll be married one year come October, and I have to say… I love my husband, but I really, really like him too. :)

  40. Alaina says...

    Happy Anniversary to you both! I love your sentiments. We hit 10 years this year and I was nodding along with your post. xxx

  41. Kristyn says...

    I love how you always articulate things so perfectly and gracefully. Happy Anniversary!

  42. Hannah says...

    Lovely! Reminds me of the Parks and Rec sentiment “I love you and I like you.”

  43. Dottie says...

    Great summary of 8 years of marriage and everything it entails. Love, laughter, grief, anger, resolving problems, working together, bike rides, boat rides, postponed dinners, babies (if that’s what you choose), joy, partnership, friendship — growing old together! I’m about to celebrate my 29th wedding anniversary (there were lots of years together before marriage). It’s been great. We are so about that growing old together thing. Best wishes to you.

  44. Libbynan says...

    Beautiful pictures! I’m feeling romantic and I wasn’t even there. I love what one of the other women said about ebb and flow. We just had our 49th anniversary and sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long and sometimes it feels like forever. Some days have better than wonderful and some days have been worse than miserable. We, too, have been through depression, euphoria, grief, joy, anger, happiness, resentment, contentment, etc. It’s all part of the whole ball of wax that is marriage. Congrats on your eighth and much more happiness in the future.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      49th! that’s wonderful!

  45. Happy anniversary to you guys! I love this blog, and reading about relationships. You guys are the awesomest couple.

  46. Lauren Wessler says...

    The weather this past week in the city has been out of control amazing! What a way to enjoy it!

    Happy anniversary!

  47. Brettne says...

    Happy happy anniversary! As always, you hit the nail on the head. It’s so important that you like each other first and foremost. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary, and I have to say he’s still my favorite person to hang out with. I like him so much, and I love him a lot too. Wishing you heaps of delicious quesadillas for another 8, and then another, and another…

  48. Colleen says...

    Happy anniversary! Thanks for sharing your lives on here :)

  49. Congrats!

  50. Arianna says...

    I never comment, but….I loved how REAL this post was. I have been married for 7 years and with one toddler! I follow a few other blogs but always check yours first because it’s not always a perfect story but it’s real life. A real marriage with ups and downs. It makes me feel warm and supported to know that we all have easy, breezy, picture-perfect days in our marriage and tough trudging days too. I feel happy for you when you share your joys and accompanied when your share your difficulties. Thanks Jo for being here and bravely showing us your world.

    • Dottie says...

      What a wonderful comment. I agree wholeheartedly.

  51. Yukie says...

    Happy Anniversary, Joanna! I’ve followed your blog for over a decade now, and it’s held such a special place in my heart/ internet life in my twenties :) So happy for you two!

  52. Christine says...

    I was at the Oakland Zoo today (California) and saw the cutest senior couple. They said they were celebrating their 54th anniversary and that they had gone to the st. Louis zoo for their honeymoon. How cute is that???

    • S says...

      Very touching. And I almost went to that zoo today too

  53. CIL says...

    My husband and I have been married for 27 years (and worked together for 20 years, happily)… and I’m STILL obsessing about the small things I would have differently at our wedding, just to show how close it seems: like yesterday! My sweet boy took a gap year in between closing one business and opening a new one and it was the best most magical time. He always has said after every no-fight vacay: the more time we spend together the better we do…and this year proves it. Here’s wishing you and Alex a happy, happy anniversary!

  54. Evel says...

    Happy anniversary!

  55. Jayne says...

    Beautifully said.

  56. Sarah says...

    Congrats guys. What a team! We’ve been married five years and – after two moves, two kids, surviving ppd, and pulling our preschooler through cancer treatment – it feels like we’ve been through a war. But we look for the good in each other and that has gotten us through. Here’s to many more xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, sarah, amazing, congratulations to you guys!

  57. Happy anniversary!! Two things – you reminded me of Leslie and Ben’s vows (Parks and Recreation) – “I love you and I like you.” And lastly, you guys are really good at taking selfies. Perhaps you should share a selfie tutorial!

  58. Anna says...

    Little bit hungover and on the tram to work, and now weepy. Lovely words.

    Australia takes a big step in deciding on marriage equality later this month. I really hope that by the end of it, all people will be able to marry their loved ones and have their chance at 8 year anniversaries. X

    • Celeste says...

      I hope so too! My male friends from MN just got engaged and shared the moment on fb. So exciting and loving.

    • Lizzy Smith says...

      Oh me too!! I’m waiting with baited breath – would love to know that I could propose to my girlfriend knowing she and I could marry in Australia. She’s the love of my life – so hoping Australia gets it right and comes through for us and for everyone in same sex relationships 🤞🏼

  59. Such a beautiful read while I plan my own wedding. I hope that 8 years later we’ll be as happy as the two of you look.

  60. Maywyn says...

    Happy Anniversary!

  61. Erica says...

    Happiest Anniversary you two! Thanks for always keeping it real, Joanna, and not trying to present a false, unattainable image like so many blogs do these days. You guys are so cute together and you’re really on to something – the most important thing is to truly LIKE each other. My hubby and I eloped in March and I told him the other night that he legitimately teaches me something every day, and that is the truth… Sometimes it’s something very handy or useful or interesting, and sometimes it’s just an incredibly random piece of trivia that I’m sure I won’t ever refer to again, but I never stop learning from him and that’s what I love. Thanks for sharing your life with us Joanna and congratulations to you both!

  62. Congratulations! This was absolutely beautiful to read ❤️

  63. Katie. H says...

    This was so sweet. And I agree. Love is great, but you have to really, really like the person you marry too. :)

  64. Jen says...

    Awe congrats. I have been reading since then and I wish many more moons together happy anniversary!!!!!!!

  65. Jenn says...

    Looks like a gorgeous evening :] I’ve been reading your stuff forever, since the Glamour and Smitten days, and I remember way back when you first wrote about asking Alex out! you guys are super adorable together after all this time, cheers to many more years together for ya :]

  66. What a lovely thing to write about your marriage and your partner. Mazel tov on your anniversary and best wishes for another 8 (or 80).

  67. Happy Anniversary! Your words are so sweet and heartfelt and TRUE to your relationship. They made me shed a tear. Cheers to many more beautiful years together!

  68. Bridget says...

    I love everything about this- a million sappy smiles coming at you haha. Congratulations!

  69. Johanna says...

    It wasn’t million years ago. You’re not old yet, so just stop. Congratulations on a real true love together though. I hope you have eight more. And more.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha it feels like it! i guess it was nine technically :)

  70. What a wonderful tribute to you and Alex. You’ve been through so much in eight years! 💟

  71. jac says...

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, Joanna! <3 Cheers, guys. XOXO

  72. Cynthia says...

    Congratulations on your 8th wedding anniversary. One of the most important virtues is, “Having and not Possessing.” Best wishes!

  73. Katie says...

    Beautiful words Joanna! Happy anniversary to you two.

  74. ECH says...

    Congrats! XO

  75. Kimberly Jewel says...

    Congratulations!

  76. Charlotte K says...

    Many congratulations! Thank you for sharing your family with us here!

  77. Rachel Simmons says...

    Happy happy Anniversary!

  78. What a lovely evening. Happy anniversary, Joanna and Alex!

  79. Ann M Hanson says...

    Happy 8! I just visited my dear daughter in NYC two weeks ago and we did a schooner sail; easily one of the best things I have done in NYC!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad you had fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so funny. people at work were telling him that too.

  80. This is so beautiful. I just love you two even though I don’t know you! Many more years of joy to you both.

  81. samantha furry says...

    oh, i so so love reading this. we’re rounding off just five months of marriage, but we have these moments where one of us is just kind of in awe at how cool and funny and great the other person is, romance aside. i FREAKING LOVE those moments. it’s been awesome getting to know my husband in a way i never knew possible. and i can only imagine what more time will allow.

    what a wonderful way to spend the evening. it looks like beautiful summer up there!

    cheers!

  82. Beautifully written Joanna. I’m 1 yr married with 2 step children, 2 of our own small children and 1 on the way. We have had challenges, and many small arguments, but I know the real turbulence is to come someday, and I hope to ride the waves hand and hand with him. It’s beautiful and resassuring to hear your transparency of your ups and downs, and how you remain not only in love, but in like as well :) I love your blog so much! Happy anniversary!

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  83. yeah, girl! Great perspective on marriage :) Congrats!

  84. Quinn says...

    Congratulations! My husband and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary this October! I can relate to a lot of your sentiments. :) Wishing you and Alex many years of happiness to come!

  85. Melanie says...

    Happy Anniversary!!! Our 10 years anniversary is early October and I can’t believe we’re here so fast. You couldn’t have described marriage any better.

    Cheers,
    Melanie Price

  86. Jessica says...

    Congrats! Every anniversary deserves a fun celebration the day of. And it’s always a nice time to reflect on the ups and downs of the year and how you’ve weathered them as a team.
    Thank you for sharing- it is always evident, especially in your Instagram posts, that you really, really like each other ;)

  87. Jasna says...

    Happy Anniversary! What a match you two are!

  88. Katherine says...

    Congratulations! Cheers to the next eight, and the next, and the next…

  89. Lauren O says...

    Happy anniversary! Thanks for being so open and candid about your marriage and marriage in general. It’s really refreshing and I love hearing about your “best practices” so to speak – several of which I have adopted including but not limited to scheduled naptime hookups ;)

  90. Egle says...

    Congratulations! Our 8th anniversary is on Tue and i can’t agree with you more, as much as i love my husband, i do like him a lot as well. I can truly say he is my best friend as well.

  91. Jill says...

    This is lovely, and made me tear up a bit. As someone just about on the cusp of marriage myself, your words just reminded me how properly REAL a marriage is. Thanks, as always, for sharing. Eight years is a tremendous achievement – congratulations to you both. xx

  92. Cristina says...

    This is so sweet! Thank you for sharing. I’m getting married on Saturday so sort of felt like you wrote this little note just for me! Happy anniversary to you both!

  93. Jen X says...

    So very sweet and touching. I hope to have a marriage and love like yours. Happy anniversary and many, many more.

  94. That is so sweet! Happy Anniversary! To many more challenges, wins, and good times.
    Also, I know exactly what you mean by – ‘I love Alex, but I also just really, really like him.’

    xoxo
    Th Piedpiperess

  95. Liz says...

    Cheers! Thank you to both you and Alex for letting us see so much into your marriage and life, the ups and downs and honesty. I love how you love each other- the tenderness is apparent in every photo.

    “There is no greater risk than matrimony. But there is nothing happier than a happy marriage.” -Benjamin Disraeli former British Prime Minister in a letter to Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter on announcement of her engagement. <— (I used this in my vows!) In a time when many balk at marriage, its even more powerful to see a couple who loves and likes each other, takes shelter in each other, empowers each other and radiates that light out to to world.

    Cheers!

    • Lauren O says...

      Takes shelter in each other… I love that

    • Maggie says...

      YES! Seeing the good, empowering each other, being the harbor for the other and radiating the light! The world needs loving committed people to exist – and marriage is hard and work and thus the good times and the deep love is well earned. But everyone, all people, benefit from this work.

      Congratulations, Joanna and Alex! Its a true accomplishment for all of us to celebrate.

  96. Lily says...

    Happy anniversary! Here’s to many more!

  97. OAW says...

    Sweet sweet post. Keeping it real as well as romantic!

  98. Sarah says...

    #goals

  99. Lynn says...

    Happy anniversary! 8 years seems so short, I’ve been married 32! I always say it ebbs and flows, right now it’s flowing and it’s really good! What a cool way to celebrate! Having visited NYC last year for the first time, and loving it so much I had to come back this past June..I can’t think of a better place to have a special celebration! Congratulations and enjoy!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      32, that’s amazing! congratulations, lynn!

  100. Congratulations on eight years! I still remember reading when you were just moving in together! <3 Thank you for letting us cheer you on in your journey together!

  101. Laura C. says...

    Happy anniversary, I love your relationship. You are a lovely, lovely couple. Lots ot love.

  102. Kerry says...

    It’s the dimples. Rowwwr.

  103. Jill C. says...

    Beautiful! Happy Anniversary to you both!