Marshall and Lily

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Started Dating
1996 [1]
Break up
Restarted Dating
Current Status

"Lily, there are a million reasons why I love you. You make me laugh, you take care of me when I’m sick, you’re sweet, caring and you even created an egg dish and named it after me. She puts a little Italian dressing on the eggs before she cooks them, it’s called Eggs Marshall and it’s awesome. But the main reason is you’re my best friend, Lily. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had."

       ~Marshall to Lily                                                                                                                                                      Marshall and Lily met in college. It was love at first sight. They dated and even got engaged but Lily called it off, moving to San Francisco to focus on her artistic interests. They were separated for three months due to this, finally getting back together a few months after Lily's return to New York, and getting re-engaged then married. Eventually, they found out that Lily was pregnant, and she gave birth to a boy named Marvin Wait-for-it Eriksen.

While devoted to each other, they have had to overcome their share of challenges, such as Lily's credit card debt and dislike of Marshall's mother, and Marshall's occasional workaholic tendencies that keeps him from having sex with her.


Marshall and Lily met on their first day of college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. When moving into the dorms, Lily went looking for help to setup her stereo, feeling drawn to Ted and Marshall's dorm room, where the latter answered the door when she knocked. According to them, it was love at first sight, although Marshall early on used the pretext of showing her a rap poster to persuade her to come to his room. They immediately began dating, and Marshall felt early on that Lily would be the woman he married, despite doubts and insecurities he had about having that feeling so early, Ted managed to convince him that Lily was special and he would definitely have a future with her.

After they graduated college, they moved to New York City with their friend Ted, whom Marshall lived with. Despite the fact that Lily had her own apartment, she spent nearly all of her time at Ted and Marshall's, so much so that her apartment was converted into a Chinese restaurant without her knowing.

Marshall proposed to Lily in 2005 which she accepted, and the two began planning their wedding. Not long after that, Lily experienced a personal crisis and broke off her engagement with Marshall so that she could move to San Francisco to pursue her love of art more fully. Devastated, Marshall spent the majority of his summer grieving the breakup, eventually coming to terms with the situation and beginning to move on with the help of Ted, Robin, and Barney.

Unbeknownst to the gang, Lily returned to New York around six months after she left for San Francisco, working as a waitress while she tried to get her teaching job back. Eventually Ted and Robin discovered Lily had returned and reached out to her, though Lily was concerned she would force them to choose between her and Marshall. Lily expressed she wanted to get back with Marshall but was too afraid that she had caused irreparable damage between them. However, she was relieved when Marshall eventually agreed to get back together with her and the two became engaged again not long after that.

They were subsequently married in 2007, with Barney performing the "real" ceremony and Ted and Robin as attendants. After a series of mishaps leading up to the wedding, Marshall and Lily agreed that their ideal wedding wasn't the fancy one that was waiting for them at the Van Smoot House, but a small quaint wedding outside of it with just their closest friends. Since Ted was already Marshall's best man, and Robin was Lily's maid of honor, Barney offered to officiate and the two of them were married while the gardner played Ode to Joy on his guitar.

After getting married, the two moved into The Apartment with Ted. Lily continued teaching while Marshall finished at Columbia Law School. Eventually Marshall graduated and passed the bar, becoming a lawyer and taking a position at Goliath National Bank where he would be working with Barney. Initially Marshall was somewhat reluctant to telling Lily that he had postponed his dream of working in environmental law to work in corporate law, but he explained that he wanted to provide for her and maybe a family they would have and she was entirely supportive.

After working for GNB for some time, Marshall and Lily were able to purchase an apartment in Brooklyn's "Dowisetrepla" neighborhood, which they learned is an acronym for "DOWn Wind of the SEwage TREatment PLAnt", accounting for the wretched odor they could smell in and around their apartment. Their excitement over their new home inhibited their ability to observe that the floors were crooked, which Robin pointed out on her first visit. The repair ended up draining their savings but they were ultimately able to correct the problem and turn it into a nice home.

Marshall continued working with GNB for several years, and was offered a five-year contract extension which disappointed Lily because she felt like Marshall had changed since they met in college. Eventually Marshall left GNB and sought employment with various environmental firms, being offered a position with Honeywell & Cootes in 2011.

After a series of disappointments, concerns, and then the tragic loss of Marshall's father in 2011, Lily learns that she is pregnant with the couples first child. During Lily's pregnancy, Lily's grandparents give them their house on Long Island because they're retiring to Florida. At first, Lily and Marshall decide to sell the house, but when they arrive to see how it has been staged for the open house, they decide they would rather live and raise a family there, and subsequently move in for a few months. While the rest of the gang finds the distance from Long Island to Manhattan difficult, they eventually make it work. Their time living on Long Island was short-lived, and returned to Manhattan shortly before Lily gave birth.

Their son Marvin Wait-for-it Eriksen would be born in 2012. That same year, Marshall is handed the most pivotal case of his law career after he unwittingly allows his friend and former law school peer Brad to learn his firm's strategy. Marshall is assigned as lead counsel and ultimately wins the lawsuit against Gruber Pharmaceuticals for polluting Frog Lake, although the Judge awards only $25,000 (versus the $25,000,000 Honeywell & Cootes was seeking). However, Marshall's work on the case reminded Brad of his reasons for going to law school in the first place, and he told Marshall that the Judge made a poor decision when he awarded the damages and that Marshall would have done better. This inspired Marshall to apply for a judgeship with the New York State Judiciary Committee.

In 2013, Lily is attending an art exhibit with Robin and Ted when they encounter The Captain, who is one of New York's biggest private art collectors. The Captain initially derides Lily's taste in art, but some time later he reaches out to her because he secretly took her advice and ended up profiting from it. As such, he extended an offer for her to work for him as an art consultant which she took with Marshall's full support. She was frequently attending openings and exhibits to scout out potential new pieces for The Captain's collection. Lily was later offered to accompany The Captain to Rome for a year as he intended to scout for new pieces for his collection there; a dream for Lily, though she turned him down twice thinking it wouldn't be a good move for her family and being unwilling to pull Marshall from his law career. She soon found out that since the Gruber Pharmaceuticals case, much of his firm had to be laid off and that there had been no new cases in several months. The lack of work meant that Marshall was thrilled at the prospect of moving to Rome, and Lily ultimately accepted the offer from The Captain.

While they were preparing to move in 2013, Marshall took Marvin to visit his mom in Minnesota for a week, giving Lily some much-needed downtime. While in Minnesota, Marshall is contacted by the New York State Judiciary Committee and offered a place on the bench. Marshall attempts to negotiate for a later date, but the position is only available at that moment. Marshall secretly accepts the position, intending to tell Lily in person when they reunite on Long Island for Barney and Robin's wedding.

A series of mishaps result in Marshall missing his flight and having to split a rental car with a boisterous woman named Daphne who incidentally turns out to be a lobbyist for big oil companies, Marshall's arch nemesis. Along the way, Marshall informs Lily over the phone that he accepted the judgeship and that their trip to Rome would be off, to which Lily is upset. Daphne subsequently tries to help Marshall prepare for the inevitable fight that he'll be facing with Lily when he arrives. Eventually Marshall drops Daphne at her daughter's Model UN presentation in Philadelphia and then continues on his way to Long Island by bus.

Finally arriving two nights before the wedding, the couple puts their argument on pause so that they can enjoy their reunion. The fight eventually occurs later that night, with Lily accusing Marshall of making the most selfish decision that either of them has ever made, and Marshall reminding Lily that she left him for San Francisco eight years prior. Lily left the fight, going to The Captains home on Long Island where she secretly took a pregnancy test and discovered she's pregnant with their second child - something she had suspected days earlier when she was on the train to Long Island from Manhattan and experienced morning sickness.

With the revelation of the news, Marshall realizes the judgeship can wait and that Lily deserves to live her dream of going to Rome and working with art because she's giving him his dream of being a father again.

Following the Barney and Robin's wedding, Marshall and Lily move to Rome for a year where Lily's father Mickey and Marshall's mother Judy also come along and the family enjoys their time in Italy. They later return to New York where Marshall has to restart his law career in the corporate sector, and the couple have their third child. Outgrowing their apartment in Manhattan, the couple decide to purchase a house to fit their growing family. Eventually he's offered another judgeship in Queens, and accepts the position. In 2020, Marshall runs for the New York State Supreme Court, which he wins over his friend Brad, the former losing his hair in the process.

Significant Episodes

Season 1

  • Pilot - Marshall and Lily get engaged and have sex on the kitchen floor.
  • Belly Full of Turkey - A pregnancy scare and an awkward Thanksgiving with Marshall's family.
  • Best Prom Ever - Lily questions her decision to get married.
  • Come On​​​​​​​​​​ - Lily and Marshall break up when she goes to San Francisco to study art.

Season 2

  • Where Were We?​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall deals with life without Lily.
  • The Scorpion and the Toad​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily are reunited. Lily wanted to get back together, but Marshall decides not to, considering she left him before.
  • Brunch​​​​​​​​​​ - Sexual tension between the two as they live life apart.
  • Swarley - Marshall and Lily get back together.
  • Atlantic City​​​​​​​​​​ - The two are reengaged, but decided to postpone their wedding for their families and friends after trying to elope in Atlantic City.
  • First Time In New York - Marshall realizes that Lily went halfway with Scooter. Lily compares it to being in the Empire State building.
  • Something Borrowed - They get married.

Season 3

  • How I Met Everyone Else​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily's first meeting. It may have been tainted by the true story of how Lily and Ted met.
  • Dowisetrepla​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily want to buy an apartment but they are hindered when Marshall learns that Lily has been hiding a massive credit card debt.
  • Everything Must Go - Marshall wants Lily to sell her clothes to help pay to repair the floors in their new apartment but he is skeptical when she wants to sell her paintings instead.

Season 4

  • Not a Father's Day​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily decide if they are ready to have a baby.
  • The Naked Man​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall gets mad that Lily is making light of sex.
  • Three Days of Snow​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily consider old traditions as they mature.
  • The Stinsons - Marshall learns how Lily really feels about his mother.
  • Murtaugh - Lily doesn't like how Marshall coaches her kindergarteners.

Season 5

Season 6

  • Big Days​​​​​​​​​​ - Lily doesn't like how Marshall tells his father everything.
  • Baby Talk​​​​​​​​​​ - Debating baby names and gender.
  • Natural History - Lily isn't sure she likes how corporate Marshall has become a "Corporate Stooge".
  • Bad News​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily overreact after seeing a specialist who can help them conceive a baby.
  • Desperation Day​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall is staying with his mother after his dad died, and Lily goes to meet him.
  • Challenge Accepted - Lily tells Marshall that she is pregnant.

Season 7

  • Mystery vs. History​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily decide not to find out the sex of their baby, but they are tempted when they are setting up the baby's room.
  • 46 Minutes​​​​​​​​​​ - Lily and Marshall officially move to the suburbs.
  • The Burning Beekeeper - Lily and Marshall throw a housewarming party.
  • The Drunk Train​​​​​​​​​​ - For Valentine's Day, Lily and Marshall invite Robin and Kevin on a weekend getaway to Vermont.
  • No Pressure - Barney finds Marshall and Lily's sex tape.
  • Karma​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall and Lily move back to the city.
  • The Broath - Marshall and Lily talk about their sex life.
  • Now We're Even​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall finds out that Lily had a sex dream about Ranjit.
  • Good Crazy - Lily and Marshall host a baby shower; Lily goes into labor at the end of the episode.
  • The Magician's Code - Part One​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall arrives just in time for his son to be born, whom Lily names after Marshall's late father and everyone welcomes Marvin Wait-for-it Eriksen into the world.

    Lily with her firstborn

  • The Magician's Code - Part Two​​​​​​​​​​ - Robin is appointed by Marshall and Lily to take the photograph for baby Marvin's birth announcement, but she can't take a decent shot of the three of them together. Eventually the two fall asleep on their bed with Marvin between them, allowing Robin to get a perfect if unconventional shot.

Season 8

  • Nannies - Lily and Marshall have trouble finding a nanny, because of an elaborate scheme Barney came up with to meet girls.
  • Who Wants to Be a Godparent? - Lily and Marshall can’t decide on godparents for Marvin, so they put the gang to the test to see who would make the

best one.

  • Lily and marshall
    Splitsville - Lily and Marshall are desperate for some private time.
  • Ring Up - Lily is suddenly turned on by the leather cuff Marshall is wearing.
  • P.S. I Love You - Lily finally tells Marshall that actual story of they met.
  • Weekend at Barney's​​​​​​​​​​ - Marshall accompanies Lily to an art gallery opening.
  • The Fortress - Lily’s commitment to her job as The Captain’s art consultant strains her relationship with Marshall.
  • Romeward Bound - Marshall helps Lily decide about accepting The Captain's job offer which would result in them moving to Rome for a year.


Season 9

  • No Questions Asked - Marshall tells Lily about his new job as a judge, ruining their plans to move to Rome for a year
  • Unpause - Marshall and Lily "unpause" their fight about Rome, however Lily runs away half way through and gets picked up by a mystery person.
  • Sunrise - Marshall and Lily make up and agree to stay in New York
  • Daisy​​​​​​​​​​ - Lily reveals that she went to The Captain after Marshall and Lily's fight in Unpause because she thought she was pregnant. Marshal and Lily find out that Lily is pregnant and decide to move to Rome to give Lily her dream because she has already given Marshall his dream, twice. (Marvin W. Eriksen and Daisy Eriksen)
  • The End of the Aisle - Marshall and Lily rewrite their old wedding vows.
  • Last Forever - Part One - Marshall and Lily reveal to The Gang that Lily is pregnant with their third child.

Sexual history

Lily laments in The Naked Man​​​​​​​​​​ that she cannot tell stories about her and Marshall's "weird" sex life because it is obvious who they are about. Their relationship includes roleplaying games, such as Marshall dressed as Fay Wray and tied to his bed while Lily enters dressed as "Queen Kong". They also roleplay Lily being a prostitute; when Marshall comments that Lily should 'sell your stuff' (meaning her artwork) she replies "Baby that's just a game we play in the bedroom". It is hinted they also experiment with S&M although we are told Marshall is reluctant to spank Lily forcefully.



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