I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. I love all the cheesy, romantic flowers, cards, chocolates, and I even love the heart-shaped jewelry. It always feels like a little bright spot in the middle of a dreary and cold winter season that never seems to end. It’s easy to feel all warm and cozy, lovey dovey on February 14th. But it’s those other 364 days of the year that really matter most in a marriage or relationship.
I am a firm believer that my husband and I are better together than we are alone. That said, it’s not always easy. We have tested our wedding vows over and over again over the last eight and a half years. We’ve bought a house, lost a baby, lost jobs, lost a parent, changed careers, endured a high-risk pregnancy, celebrated the birth of our daughter. We’ve dealt with home repairs, crazy neighbors, and even survived putting together Ikea furniture – no small feat.
One of my favorite lines from our wedding vows was, “whatever lies ahead, good or bad, we will face together.”
Our biggest test of faith, and those vows, was, of course, the loss of our child. I can remember being in the hospital and asking my husband to crawl into bed next to me. I needed him close. I needed his warmth. Just to hear his heartbeat. There was a new normal that we had to figure out. And we did. Together.
I can remember going to a support group where more than half of the stories we heard included a tale of divorce. We knew that was not for us. We decided to take the summer that we thought we would be spending with a baby and refocus on us. We went to see a play, baseball games, a concert, and lots of movies. We spent a weekend at a bed and breakfast and did all the things we knew we wouldn’t be able to do with a tiny baby. We spent time focusing on our marriage. On healing. On us.
Anyone who tells you that marriage and parenting is always easy is leaving out part of the story.
Yes, it’s easy to love my husband. He is my calm when my anxiety gets high, just as I am the voice of reason when he gets angry that life isn’t playing fair. He makes me laugh even on the darkest of days– and for that, I am beyond grateful.
But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t drive me crazy when he screams at the TV while watching the Chiefs game or when he leaves his dirty glass on the counter rather than washing it. It just means that I can choose to accept his quirky imperfections right along with all the things that make him the man I choose to love.
Love is a choice. Our marriage is a choice. Daily we choose to put in the work. Some days are easy. Other days we work harder to make sure that this marriage, this team, this family that we have created works together.