1) Names: Zack & Emily Barna (twitter: @zackbarna and @emilyb44)
2) Years together/years married: We have been together 8 years, and will have been married 5 years in April.
3) How you met: We met through a special friend named Megan who has been one of Zack’s best buddies since they were on swim team at a ripe five years of age. Megan and I became good friends in college, and the summer after graduation, Megan told me, “I have an old friend who is perfect for you, but his heart is on the mend. If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.” She introduced us at her birthday party, and a few months later after many dates and wild nights out, I told Megan, “I’m going to marry that old friend of yours; mark my words.” Less than two years later, we were engaged, and the next year, we got married! Now, we have a beautiful 8-month-old baby girl named Camryn Grace, who is absolutely the light of our lives.
4) What would you say are the top 5 important things in keeping a relationship/marriage strong? Is there anything special you do for your partner/vice versa? What would you say your "keys to success" are in a healthy/fun/loving/etc. relationship?
- When in doubt, talk it out. I’d have to say that communication is the key to keeping our relationship healthy. I figure, if you’re communicating openly, you have trust, honesty, understanding and a connection to each other. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as talking “too much” when it comes to a relationship.
- Never stop dating. After a few years of marriage, it’s so easy to let everyday stresses get in the way of romance, and to fall into the: “Go to work. Pay bills. Talk about said bills. Go to sleep.” routine. If you’re not careful, you turn into business partners instead of the partners in crime you were when you were first dating. But it’s so important to keep the chemistry alive! So we totally prioritize our quality time without the distractions of Blackberries and laptops and kids and friends and household chores. Just us, having a quiet dinner together so we can look each other in the eye and enjoy a deep conversation and just RECONNECT.
- There is an ‘I’ in Team. You may have seen Alana’s post about how Zack refers to us as “Team Us,” by which he means: what we face, we face together. And we absolutely are a team unit bonded by our love, and by mutual respect and shared values and ideals. But one of the reasons I believe we are so strong together is because we stand strong on our own. We each have our own outlets and hobbies (and opinions), and have stayed true to these things throughout our years of marriage. It’s so important not to sacrifice your identity on account of your relationship. Your uniqueness is what your partner fell in love with, after all!
- Live and love like there’s no tomorrow. Cliché, right? But it’s so true. When you’re thinking something good about your partner, SAY IT. Write it, email it, text it, Tweet it! Take time each day to tell them how much they mean to you. There are times where Zack will catch me totally off-guard with a compliment as simple as, “you are such a good mom.” And it gives me such a positive jolt, and makes my day.
- Be active together. This tip is less prolific than the others, but it is absolutely one of the keys to our happiness. We run, lift weights, do yoga, and otherwise work out together, and it is such a fun bond to share. The endorphins feel good, and that time together is just really special. And we figure it balances out the time that we spend drinking wine together. ;)
I love the fact that I get to share every aspect of my life with my biggest fan and my favorite person. I seriously feel like I am having a lifelong slumber party with my best friend… with benefits (hee hee).
6) Include anything your partner would like to add here about ideas/tips or favorite part about being married.
Zack says: I love being part of a kick-ass team.