take a breath that's true

I love weddings.
What is not to love when there are some of my favorite things: free wine, dancing and cake. 
People promising forever for better but also for worse, for sickness, for poorer. I love that wedding vows have all that awful stuff in them. And that people say them anyways. 

Me and my husband actually did 8 sessions of pre-marriage counseling before we got married.
It was ridiculously cheap and what all the “serious” couples in our campus ministry were doing.
It was so awkward sitting in a church office with a minister and his wife while they talked to us about family histories, sex or worse.
We were 22. 
Just babies.
And in the kind of young love that could kiss for hours until our lips literally hurt and our faces broke out. We fought over the most serious of matters, like which cds to sell so we could go out to eat or which station to listen to on the radio, probably just so we could make up and make out again.

Counseling seemed unnecessary.
Something only cold couples who don’t talk at dinner needed.
We were busy throwing french fries at each other and making mix tapes.
I do not remember 99% of those sessions.
Only we fought in the car on the way home. Every. Single. Time.
About things we had never mentioned before like where to spend Christmas, how much money to save each month, and how to fight fairly.

Today we will have been married for 14 years and together for the better part of 18.
Meaning if our relationship were a person it could buy cigarettes and R rated movies.
Our relationship is officially a grown up …when I sometimes struggle to be a grown up myself.

Occasionally we are the couple at the restaurant not talking or looking at our phones. But mostly because we are just so tired. We spend a decent chunk of our words on logistics.
We share a comforter and a bathroom but sometimes forget to share what we are afraid of. But we still share the last piece of cake.
These days, we have learned how to fight.
And how to make up.
In addition to things like file our taxes, fix a toilet and finance a home or two.
(we are still working on that budgeting thing)

And I’ve read and listened to enough talks about writing to learn that a critical element to any story is conflict. In other words. The middle.
Most people want to start at the beginning and skip to the end and avoid the messy, long hard middle.  The part where we have to go to the store. Or the kids are sick. Or the tire is flat. Or I watch the same episode of House for the 10th time. Or we get on each other's nerves. Or where we fight over furniture or coffee stains on the counter.
But then he airs up my tires, brings me donuts, or lets the dog out in the middle of the night so I don’t have to. And that boring stuff right there -it is better than roses any day. Besides, he knows what flowers I actually like and it isn’t roses.

I think the girl in that picture thought she knew what marriage was.
People tell you it is hard.
And it is and it isn't.
The hard part is making decisions that are bigger than you especially when you are as self absorbed as me.
The isn't is having someone beside you making those same decisions with you.
holding your hand
over romantic diners.
on roller coasters.
in hospital rooms.
on airplanes.
at funerals.
at school plays.
on church pews.
in the kitchen.
on the couch.

I still have the exact same bed that I took to college and a dresser that I got for my 13th birthday. I have a few shelves that a friend gave me and there is a TV in our bedroom is held up on two unfinished wooden cubes. (A TV in our bedroom btw is a thing we swore we would never do when we got married….but that was before we had kids and any kind of grasp on reality). I am 37 and have the bedroom of a 22 year old frat boy. (well with a few more photos and a prettier bedspread). This weekend I thought it would be “fun” to go buy bedroom furniture for our new house. A bed that did not used to be my parents and maybe even a matching piece to go with it.  I was excited for about two minutes until I told my husband what furniture actually cost and the first trip was doomed. Even before my kids tried to jump on every bed at Rooms to Go. There might have been some yelling on the way home. So much so that my son took off to the neighbor’s house the second we pulled into the driveway. We might have needed a brush up on our premarital session on fighting fairly. listening…and that dang b-word: budgets.
We went inside, talked about what we wanted, what we had to spend and did some research.
Piled back in the car, went to a different furniture store where my kids also put their feet on every piece of furniture in the place and ate all the free cookies and this time actually bought a bed. I told my son that I was sorry that we yelled, but to be assured that we would always make up. That conflict is ok, to not be afraid of it as long as it is working towards resolution. 

14 years of marriage sometimes looks like that.
fighting in the car.
dirty dishes that I did not rinse out.
clothes that are not put aways.
shoes in the entryway.
bikes in the driveway.

But it is also someone who knows you.
in pajama pants and hair that hasn’t been washed in more days than I’d like to share.
and climbs into a bed that could fall apart at any moment and lets you steal the covers and gets you a drink of water even though he is already settled in.
love moves over even though he is hanging over the side when at 4 am a six year old who looks just like you squishes between us. (because someone let her watch shark week before going to sleep).
Her snores and freckles and love in the middle.

And how isn’t that true for most things.
The middle isn’t always the most exciting part of the story. 
The beginning tries to hook you and the ending tries to make you cry with either joy or sadness and resolve everything. Those two chapters get all the big scenes and moments and the fanciest words.

But the middle is really where the story is.
So here is to a really long middle....to love and to cherish.
Besides, with me…even middles aren’t boring.

This is the worst wedding video ever. beacuse it isn't a wedding video it is me going through a flip cam of wedding pics w/ my wedding music in the background and my kids screaming....but it still makes me cry. every. time.


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