Six years ago today we said “I do” in front of a small church sparsely filled with family. I walked down that aisle in an overly-expensive dress, carrying over-priced flowers, my shoes parading down the aisle runner toward you. We swore our promises and said our loving words. We jumped all in with this life we have together and promised to stick with it for the long run.
Fast forward six years, and here we are today, immersed in the life we started that sunny October day. We’ve gone through six sets of holidays as a married couple, six anniversaries and six years of trials and tribulations. We’ve celebrated six years of career victories and six years of tearful rejections. We’ve bought an apartment and bought a house. We’ve housed way too many cats in our six years, and we bought the dog we both dreamed of owning. We’ve changed careers and chased dreams. We’ve built a life of dreams, if not quite our dream life.
We’ve been through six years of bill paying, doctor’s appointments, medical emergencies, financial concerns, and the monotony of adult life. We’ve been through six years of fighting over socks on the floor, trash removal, dish duty, and responsibility.
In six years, we’ve been through a lot, and we’ve tested those vows. I know, however, we’ll test them even more as the years go on.
Today, six years after our lofty “I dos,” things are quite different. Today, I sit in my leggings and scummy T-shirt, getting ready to wake you up for a thrown together breakfast before we head to the grocery store. My hair is in a ponytail instead of an elegant updo, and you’ll probably wear the “Game of Thrones” T-shirt you love paired with those ratty jeans instead of the tux you were forced to wear. We’ll run errands and get ready for a mercifully long work week. We’ll share in a simple hug or kiss throughout the day, and we’ll drink water instead of champagne. We’ll race around in our not-so-glamorous life, putting out small fires in our day and preparing to deal with issues that may come up. We’ll do the dishes and laundry after we argue over whose turn it is to take out the trash. We’ll visit family and maybe watch some Netflix if we’re not too tired by the end of the day.
There won’t be much celebrating because, although we love each other, when your anniversary falls on a Sunday, celebrating takes the backseat to life’s duties and chores.
In truth, six years after our wedding, things aren’t as glamorous as that day would have led us to believe, anniversary or not. Date nights have been traded in for nights at Home Depot or the grocery store, taking care of adult life dilemmas. Sexy has been traded for sweatpants, and huge, romantic gestures just don’t really fit in the budget.
The champagne and expensive wedding cake from six years ago is long gone. Real life has set in, and real love has taken hold.
Some would say that the romance is gone now, and that the honeymoon phase is over. It’s probably true.
However, six years after the wedding, I can honestly say even if we lost some of the sparkle, some of the magic, and some of the glamour, we’ve gained a whole hell of a lot too.
Because even though the rosy glow from that magical day has dissipated, something else has taken hold: real, genuine love.
It’s the kind of love that allows you to tell me I’m pretty when I’m wearing those ratty sweatpants and a greasy ponytail. It’s the kind of love that makes me take a deep breath and remind myself your annoying habits of leaving empty boxes in the pantry or socks on the floor really don’t matter—that you’re more than your bad habits. Our love has morphed into the kind of fortifying love that gives me strength to stay standing when life knocks me down.
It’s the kind of love that doesn’t require passionate makeout sessions in public or showy signs of our love—it’s the kind of love that allows us to give a silent glance in public and know exactly what we’re thinking and laughing about. It’s the kind of love that allows us to be connected into one life, one set of dreams, one set of possibilities that still celebrate who we are as individuals.
Our love is no longer a bedazzled white gown, expensive dinner, champagne toasts kind of love. It’s a gritty, raw, daily ordeal of surviving adult stress and laughing as we do. It’s being able to cheer each other up when the water heater breaks in the same week the washer breaks and my beloved cat dies. It’s about making each other laugh and allow even the monotonous tasks of adult life to seem worthwhile. It’s being content with watching Netflix and eating homemade pizza instead of heading out for expensive wine and steak. It’s about finding joy in the simple tasks because we’re doing them together.
Six years later, I’ve come to realize this. It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing expensive clothes and drinking fine wine on a day like today or wearing leggings and heading to Aldi to buy our groceries. It’s not about romance disappearing or the honeymoon being over.
Six years later, I’ve learned that this love, this marriage, is just about you and me together, facing the world, and still wanting to be doing it hand in hand, bad habits, sweatpants, humdrum routines, and all.
Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing. To learn more about her seven novels, visit her on Facebook.