When I was younger, I thought of marriage as a series of snapshots – long weekends at quaint B&Bs in the country and fancy nights out in the city, flowers after a big fight and passionate kisses for no reason, snuggly weekends with breakfast in bed and cold nights with hot chocolate cuddled up next to the fire. In other words, it was pure romance, all of the time.
Side note: In these scenes, we always wore oversized sweaters and cheesy (but beautiful) smiles and an elusive photographer with impeccable timing captured our moments on camera.
But now that I’m married, you know what I’ve found? A marriage isn’t built on pretty pictures and it doesn’t survive on romance alone. And the things that make up my marriage, that are symbols for it, aren’t exactly what I expected. They’re not pretty or romantic or over-the-top but they’re us.
The coffee cup. That $18 mug was the most ridiculous purchase, especially because you didn’t even realize it was so expensive, but you use it every single day. And it’s indicative of who you are – this impulsive person who knows exactly what he wants and makes it happen, even when that means paying way too much money for a coffee mug.
The Man Cave. At first, I hated this stupid thing that cost us more than it was supposed to, that was a place for you apart from our home, that I felt wasn’t ours but yours. But now, I’m so grateful that you have a sanctuary, a place to relax, a place to decorate as you please, a place that makes you happy. And while it will always be your space, I love that you’ve made it comfortable for all of us so when I make my way out there, I don’t feel like an intruder, but rather an honored guest.
The golf cart. Just to be totally clear, I didn’t want the golf cart – you did. I didn’t think it needed a lift kit – you did. I didn’t think it needed a stereo – you did. You asked my opinion and when the answer I gave wasn’t the answer you wanted, you proceeded to talk me into the answer you did. And I told you that if you guilted me into it, I would resent you for it, so you relented until eventually we made the decision together with very little coercion on your part. Just like we make all of our decisions.
Your snoring. It’s a horrible, grating noise like the sound I imagine a bear hit by a truck makes and wakes me multiple times a night. I’m a light, difficult sleeper. You’re a heavy, loud sleeper. And still I get out of our warm bed and leave our quiet room to wake you up from your cozy chair where you fell asleep playing video games, so that a) you sleep comfortably and b) you sleep next to me because I miss you (not the snoring) when you’re not there.
Cookies. I really want to lose three pounds, and still, every night without fail, I make myself two Pillsbury cookies and drink a glass of milk. At least twice a week I’ll say that I need to give up my nightly cookies if I really want to lose weight. And instead of agreeing or disagreeing with me, you usually say something like, “Girl, you look good” and then give me a crazy wink. I laugh and feel better even though I might keep whining about weight because I know it means you love me. Even if I’m slowly gaining my weight in cookie dough.
Books. Sometimes I’ll spend upwards of a $100 a month on books and you’ll just laugh. Sometimes I’ll find a book so wonderful that I can’t put it down and you’ll let me read. Sometimes those times are when we’re sitting in chemo for hours on end and I don’t can’t. stop. reading. But you never ask me to stop reading, and often listen to me ramble about how amazing the story is. I love that you let me love my books. But more than that, I love when you read them too because then we can love them together.
Zoey. I can’t believe we made her. The best parts of us are in Zoey. She is mostly you in looks – those beautiful eyes and sweet dimples. She is very much me in temperament – a drama queen all the way. But she is completely loved by both of us. And we’re better as people, as a couple, and as a family because we have her.
Our things may not be movie worthy, our life may not be picture perfect, but they’re ours. And I’d rather spend every day dancing around the kitchen, laughing hysterically over fish kisses than traveling around the world if I get to do it with you because being your wife is the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me.