You know the story. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, get married, have babies and live happily every after. Because that’s what we’re taught. Love is a fairytale and marriage is easy.
Except it’s not. It’s anything but.
Our love story is unique. I met my husband the summer before my senior year of high school. 16 years ago. I remember everything about meeting him. The day I met him I told myself he was the boy I would marry.
We got married after he returned from being deployed from Hurricane Katrina relief. A month later, we found it I was pregnant with our daughter. We were young. Not ready for a baby but ready or not, she was coming.
Our marriage is messy and hard. It’s full of highs and lows which come in waves. And I wish I could tell you why marriage is so hard.
I could try. I could tell you about all of our differences. How he’s the life of the party and I would rather be in yoga pants on the couch. Or how I am proactive and he’s a procrastinator. How sometimes it feels like we speak completely different languages. Even how he’s a Gator fan and I was raised to be a “anything but a gator” fan.
But it’s not that. We could be complete opposites or the same person and marriage would still be hard. That’s just the reality of it. Between life stress, love, loss, kids, growing apart, growing back together…or even further apart…marriage is hard. And messy. And anything but a fairytale.
But at the end of the day, even the days that suck the life out of me, my husband is still my best friend. And if you ask me my one piece of marriage advice it is to marry your best friend. Because it is that friendship that will pull you through. While one person is going through hell, the other one will be there to lift them up. It’s that friendship that will get you through the times you want to walk out the door and never come back. Because imagining life without them, is much worse than walking through fire with them.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re married 3 years, 8 years, 12 years, 25 years, or 50 years. Marriage will always have those sharp edges that never seem to smooth out. There will always be times that you love your spouse but you don’t necessairly like them at that moment. There will be times you want to leave and times you hold them tight. There will be times you laugh together and cry together. Yell at each other and don’t speak to each other. But at the end of it all you still love each other.
My marriage isn’t perfect. There has been love and laughter…mention of divorce and times I never thought we’d make it through. It has been good, great, amazing, horrible, unspeakable, and painful. 12 years ago I said ” I do” and here we are, 12 years later. Holding on, cherishing the good, fighting the bad, and loving each other through it all.