When I got married I thought love meant everything I saw in the movies.
I thought that love was whispering goodnight cradled in an embrace and waking up to that same embrace. I thought that the definition of love meant holding hands in front of a fire, watching sunsets side by side and ultimately I thought it meant someone completing me.
I thought big love meant big moments.
After ten years of marriage and twelve years together though, I have realized that love is much less than just big moments.
I guess I realized it after the first few years actually. When the honey moon stage was over and instead of whispered "goodnights" through the darkness, we yelled "goodnight!!" to each other while we did our own thing in different rooms within our little house. Or, maybe I realized it after our first big blow up.
It is true, after ten years of marriage, or maybe sooner, I realized that love was very different than what I had always thought it was. It was not big moments at all. IT was less than that.
Love was made in the little moments.
In the quiet moments, in the small day to day doings, in the monotonous details of holy matrimony, that were in fact not significant at all, except that when I look back at the last ten years, those little moments are what has kept our love strong after a decade of hollering goodnight to each other. Those bigger moments that I use to think defined love, were there of course, sprinkled along the path of marriage, but the little moments are what stand out the most to me.
Those small moments WERE significant and cherished because in those moments true friendship grew and the beginnings of a long marriage were built.
Moment by moment.
I wish I knew what I know now, then.
I wish I could turn back time and grab the shoulders of the young bride with the grandiose ideals and tell her that she should embrace the times to come. The ugly moments, the stressful moments, the jobless moments, the empty bank account moments, the broken car moments, the teething baby moments, I wish I could have told her that when the love between her and her groom felt like it was slipping away.. it was actually not at all. It was growing stronger.
I wish I could go back a decade, look myself in the eye and tell the me of the past with the unrealistic expectations that "The hard times do not define a marriage, but what you do with those hard times defines your love."
Like in those sleepless nights when our babies were small.
When we were patience and sleep deprived. When we had a baby tossing and turning between us every night of the week, when we played rock paper scissors through the darkness to see who had to take the next temperatures or warm the next bottle.
Hard times do not define a marriage, but what you do with those hard times defines your love.
When we knowingly looked at each other through the darkness and whispered "good night". It wasn't how I imagined it would be at the beginning of our marriage. Or when the sun was just starting to squeeze out the darkness of a sleepless night and peek in our bedroom window and we caught sight of each other's tired eyes and simultaneously shook our heads in exhausted disbelief as we whispered "Good morning"
Friendship grew through the hardships. I didn't know it then, but I know it now.
The meaning of love changed during those nights when we rubbed babies backs and found each others moving, nurturing hand in the darkened bedroom. When we intertwined fingers and knew we were in this together.
I have learned a lot about love, we both have. And for that I am so grateful. We have learned that love is staying through the hardships even when you want to run to the hills.
Love is being there for each other, being an unbreakable team.
Love is working opposite shifts to pay the bills. It is being tired and hungry and taking the time to make your spouse a meal you know they will love, because you wish, if only for one meal, you can alleviate the stress of their day.
Love is taking out the garbage and changing diapers. Doing the dirty work for the other so that you can carve out five minutes to sit down and talk before a baby needs another bum change.
Love is showing patience, care, joy and gratitude to each other.
Love is doing bed time routine so your spouse can go out for the night so they don't totally lose their sense of identity and their mind during the baby years.
Love is holding the measuring tape, ladder, hair, in a moment of need, without being asked.
Love is surviving lost jobs and lost wages and giving up the things you individually want to purchase so you can save for your mortgage. Because love is making a home together.
Love is agreeing to disagree.
Love is filling up gas tanks and lunch pails and laundry machines.
Love is squeezing in moments to catch up with each other on the days when you can barely catch your breath, because you genuinely want to know how they are doing.
Love is being the first to say "Im sorry" because you don't want to be distant anymore.
Love is putting up with their habits and appreciating their uniqueness, even when you want to strangle them with the socks they daily leave beside the laundry hamper.
Love is making the IKEA furniture instead of making them suffer through 10 hours of hair pulling angst.
Love is being grace filled.
Love is having each others backs through the thick of things. Believing in each other when seemingly no one else does.
Love is loving their bed head, morning breath and new wrinkles.
Love is letting your spouse have quality time with out you so that they can cultivate deep life long friendships.
Love is doing dishes that you didn't dirty so that you can both watch Netflix together.
Love is laughing at their jokes even though you have heard them a million times.
Love is learning to share similar passions, like when you both scream from the sidelines of your children's sporting events together or when you obsess over HGTV shows.
Love is forgiving faster than you want to so that you can move forward.
Love is showing interest in what they love, even if you could care less about the Superbowl or The Bachelor.
Love is wishing you were the one that was sick, sad or angry -- instead of them.
Love is laughing about something until you cry together.
Love is spending a weekend losing your mind in the hardware store together so that you can create something lasting together later.
Love is made during the forgettable moments, during the mishaps, during the disagreements, during the sacrifices, during the itty-bitty acts of kindness, during the working overtime, during the quiet adoring and during the moments that you survive together.
Love is not all cuddle fests, sunset gazing and having someone complete you. It is not "all that" it is much less than that.
I have learned during our decade of forgiving, caring, laughing, sharing, fighting, and joking together that love grows best during the little moments when our deep, shared care for each other grows.
Of course there will inevitably be snuggling, sunset loving and side by side fire watching; but there will also be side by side teeth brushing. When we catch each others eye and smile an oozing tooth paste grin while life swarms around us. When we cant help but laugh through the chaos of these early years because we now know that, "The hard times do not define our marriage, but what we do with those hard times defines our love."
Artur, happy 10th anniversary.
Here is to 100 more!! To surviving life with you and to loving ever little second of it. I love you more today than ever. Thank you for being forever mine and for all the lessons you have taught me about love.