My husband and I are quickly approaching our 12 year wedding anniversary. It’s crazy to think that those naïve 22- and 23-year-old kids have been married that long. Looking back on our wedding day, I know I was madly in love with my husband, but I didn’t truly know what love was when I walked down the aisle.
As we’ve experienced life together over the years, we’ve faced many ups and downs in our marriage, just as any couple has. Anyone who tells you marriage is easy is a liar…it’s not. Marriage is a great teacher though. I’ve truly learned more about love in the 12 years than I did in the 22 years that preceded it. So far, here’s what I’ve learned.
Moving to your spouse’s hometown because she wants to be closer to her family.
Leaving your childhood church to join your wife’s.
Working every chance you get to keep your little two-person family afloat while your spouse finishes college.
Being kind and patient when your spouse gets a speeding ticket on your birthday.
Breaking an apartment lease when your wife is huge and pregnant because she can’t manage the stairs anymore.
Rushing to the hospital in tears when your baby is unexpectedly born six weeks early.
Changing diapers, singing songs, warming bottles, pacing the floors at midnight, and giving baths to a newborn.
Telling your wife she’s never been more beautiful even though she can’t fit into her jeans after having that sweet newborn.
Making the transition from husband to daddy like it was the easiest thing in the world.
Working hard to buy a house for your little family, and working even harder to make it a home.
Crying happy tears when you find out another baby is on the way.
Teaching your toddler how to do the little things, and making it fun at the same time.
Holding two babies in your arms like you’ve been doing it forever.
Supporting your spouse when she starts a new career.
Lending a shoulder when your spouse feels overwhelmed with responsibilities.
Taking family vacations to create wonderful memories while being exhausted from taking small children on vacation.
Celebrating the news of a third baby when you’re in the trenches with your first two.
Taking your oldest to pre-k and holding back tears as you wave goodbye.
Being the rock of the family when your wife gets a life-threatening pregnancy diagnosis.
Being a rockstar when your wife can hardly stay afloat after the birth of your third baby.
Staying strong for your spouse when your child is extremely sick even though you’re terrified.
Encouraging your spouse as they make a drastic change in their profession.
Paying a fortune to take the most exhausting vacation on earth to the happiest place on earth…and wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt while you’re there.
Working like a dog to afford a new, bigger home for your newly bigger family.
Navigating the terrifying world of parenthood together, and second guessing every decision you make for your children.
Letting your wife buy dogs that you vehemently didn’t want, and falling in love with them as soon as they join the family.
Going to concert after concert with your wife when you really don’t like concerts.
Supporting your spouse when he decides to make a drastic career change, and then changes his mind again.
Providing love and comfort when grandparents die, parents get sick, and you get your own diagnosis that you didn’t want.
Faithfully taking your family to church and pointing your children to God.
Working tirelessly through a global pandemic and comforting your family while facing uncertainties for the future.
Letting your spouse pick the date night spot and the music on the way.
Turning a blind eye to all the Amazon packages piled up on the porch.
Building plans together for your family for the future.
Encouraging your spouse in hobbies even when they’re expensive and time consuming.
Giving gifts early because you’re too excited to wait.
Learning to sleep with a snoring spouse.
Making time for each other away from your children.
Knowing that marriage is extremely hard, but fighting for it anyway.
Twelve years have come and gone, and we’ve got a lifetime ahead of us. We are not a perfect couple by any stretch of the imagination, but we do love each other very deeply. So far, that’s been more than enough for us.