Hailey: Despite having plenty of mutual friends, Zack and I actually met at work when we were 16 and 18! We worked at a retail outlet store and Zack was my boss.
Zack: Our love bloomed in a world of multi-colored polos and mom jeans. I was Hailey’s manager when we were in high school.
Hailey: For our first date, Zack took me to an arts festival in the city (we went to high school in the suburbs of Phoenix). I’m pretty sure Zack wore a t-shirt and jeans and I wore lots of layers (I was going through one of those wonderful and embarrassing teenage phases! Ha!). We went out for burgers, and as we made our way back home, he introduced me to his mom, sister and best friend. It was super intense looking back, but in the moment it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Zack: Our first date was to a TGIFridays (don’t judge, we were teenagers) and then a record store in Phoenix where I bought her Copeland’s Beneath the Medicine Tree because I was a little emo boy. Then I brought her to meet my mom.
Hailey: I got a scholarship to FIDM when I was in my senior year of high school and without question, Zack agreed to put college on hold for himself and move to LA with me. Once we moved into our first home together, it didn’t take long before I realized he was “the one”!
Zack: I mean, she didn’t run away screaming after that first date, so I felt pretty confident I had found “the one” if by “the one” you mean “the one person crazy enough to continue dating me”.
Hailey: Zack and I got married really young the first time. I had a really tricky time navigating our first rough patch after we both had graduated college and instead of splitting up for the summer like most couples would, we actually filed paperwork. I think we had a better understanding of what being in love was the second time around, and that has been essential to the success of our relationship. It’s not a constant honeymoon, and our struggles have made us that much stronger today. Our first wedding was one of those large parties where you’re meeting your parents co-workers for the first time and our second wedding was much more private. Our ceremony took place at the courthouse with my brother and Zack’s sister as our only witnesses and the reception was an intimate dinner with the twenty people we’re closest to.
Zack: We separated because we were young and hadn’t ever grown up as individuals, always as a unit and at the time, things that weren’t “us” felt more important and incapable of coexisting with the life we had created together. We got back together because we realized we were completely and totally wrong and that none of those things mattered if we didn’t have each other to celebrate with. I don’t think we were more in love the second time around, just more conscious of how precious our relationship is and how close we came to not having it. The second wedding reflected that: it was all about us, a celebration of our ability to overcome the seemingly impossible rather than a big, decadent extravaganza.
Hailey: Such a tough question! I absolutely believe that everything we’ve gone through has made us better, but that being said since I know our paths led us back to each other, I wish we would have stuck it out. By divorcing, I think we honestly worked through things quicker and with more intention when we came back together – the space really allowed us to take a step back and see what was important and how we both needed to change to make things work. This method involved a lot more heartbreak than if we would have stuck together, but we’re here and I couldn’t be happier. I try to find the beauty in our story rather than thinking, “what if”.
Zack: Hailey and I talk about this sometimes. On the one hand, I’d love to not have that blemish on our relationship. It’s been three years since we remarried and I still look back on that time and only feel pain. But, on the other hand, I do think it was necessary. We wouldn’t be the couple we are today if it hadn’t happened, I can say that confidently.
Hailey: Hilarious, intelligent and loving.
Zack: Timelessly beautiful, compassionate and nurturing.
Hailey: Hardworking, kind and beautiful.
Zack: Loyal, loving and no butt.
Hailey: Zack’s primary love language is words of affirmation. Since our schedules are so busy and there isn’t always a ton of one on one time I make an effort to always share how much I love and appreciate him even if we won’t be seeing each other much that day. My go to’s are a handwritten note for him wake up and read in the morning, a midday text or if there’s something small he’s been needing or wanting I try to messenger it to his office as a surprise with a note.
Zack: We know each other’s love languages. Hailey is all about quality time, which is challenging with each of us working as hard as we do and having a toddler at home. It’s all about the little things; I try to make sure that when I am home and it’s just us, I am present in the moment, not scrolling mindlessly through my phone or zonking out on some dumb TV show.
Hailey: I recently expressed to Zack that I was feeling a little disconnected and in need of some quality time together. He immediately took action and planned out a few different date nights for us – we tried a new restaurant one night, went out for drinks another and to a comedy show in our neighborhood. It’s taken time, but because we each receive love so differently it’s important that we check in with each other and make sure we’re filling each other up. Zack is especially great at responding to my needs and being extra thoughtful.
Zack: Hailey does a better job of tangible, thoughtful acts, partially because my love language requires more of that. Recently, I forgot my umbrella at home and it was raining cats and dogs when I was at the office. She Amazon Now-ed me an umbrella and a package of my favorite candy. It was such a sweet, thoughtful surprise.
Hailey: Our parents all live in Phoenix so going out is a little tricky. Zack’s cousin lives in NYC so we have her babysit often, and we have a few pals we can count on as well, but I would say unless the grandparents are in town it’s close to one or two times a month.
Zack: A couple times a month. We don’t have family close by as everyone is in Arizona. We have a few close friends who are willing to chip in here and there, but generally we have to pay a babysitter to come in and give us some relief.
Hailey: Most date nights include checking out a new restaurant, stopping for drinks and if we really plan well, a concert or comedy show. When either of our parents are in town we normally do a little staycation in the city and honestly, that’s pretty perfect for us! While you’re never able to completely check out as parents, it’s always nice to have a full night out where you can enjoy yourself, let the grandparents take charge and get an uninterrupted night of sleep.
Zack: We’re both big eaters, so everything centers around food. There’s so many great places to go in NYC, so we try and pick somewhere new and mix things up. Typically end with a few drinks somewhere where we inevitably end up being the weird couple who looks at pictures of their kid at the bar on their night away.
Hailey: We are both t-shirt and jeans kind of people, but really enjoy dressing up for a night out together!
Zack: We rarely get the chance to dress up, but when occasion calls and Hailey is all done-up in a nice dress, it’s like catnip for me.
Hailey, finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is snuggle Owen, grab him a bottle and make coffee. The last thing we do at night is kiss each other goodnight and say I love you.
Zack, finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is make coffee and get Owen some milk. The last thing we do at night is get a foot in our faces from our co-sleeping toddler.
Hailey: When our son, Owen, was born Zack was the only one in the room with me besides the nurse and doctor. My labor was close to twelve hours and aside from the two hours that I pushed, we really just had the best time together. He helped keep my mind off things, made me laugh and encouraged me every step of the way. The process took our bond to a whole other level and left us feeling especially connected as a family the moment Owen was born.
Zack: Being alone in the hospital room right as labor was really kicking in but before the doctor came in to have her start pushing. I was trying so hard to make her laugh to distract from the pain and we had this really beautiful moment where we thanked each other for fighting for our relationship and getting to this point. I’ll always remember that.
Hailey: We’re heading to Spain in April and have Montreal, Canada on our list for later in the year. We’d love to travel to Japan and Iceland at some point within the next few years too!
Zack: This year we’ve already done Costa Rica and we have Spain in April. Trying to get to New Orleans (Hailey’s never been) and Montreal this year as well. That said, biggest bucket list spots would be a few spots in Asia. I really want to go to Tokyo.
Hailey: Keeping our lines of communication open is crucial. Since we don’t get away much as a couple we do our best to let each other know if and when we need something in the relationship. We set up a great schedule for ourselves that allows each of us some time away each week as well as time together and we check in every few weeks or so to make sure we’re each feeling loved and balanced. We’ve learned that being honest with each other is essential and that there’s no harm in asking for what you want.
Hailey: Zack’s job allows him to dress fairly casual and since I work from home mine does too. We definitely aren’t a matchy matchy couple by any means, but we both enjoy denim and classic tees, sweaters and coats which makes shopping for each other fairly easy!
Zack: I don’t think so. Hailey is so much more stylish than me. I wear weird metal band t-shirts and the same pair of jeans everyday.
Hailey: After being in a relationship for almost 11 years with Zack I always come back to this quote when it comes to love, “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Zack: the same quote as Hailey (awwwwww!)
Hailey: We always like to find a small way to celebrate Valentine’s Day together – we made the mistake of skipping over the holiday the first year we were married and decided from there on out that even though we make every attempt to show our love for each other everyday that Valentine’s day was just as important. That being said, we will most likely order in some take out, open a bottle of wine and get cozy on the couch! Nothing too fancy, but it’s important to us is that we spend it together.
Zack: Foooooooooood. Wineeeeeeee. No baby.
Photos by Stevi Sesin