Here is the honest to goodness truth. We have beaten the odds.
We got married at the ages of 19 and 20.
We got married after only having known each other for 2 1/2 years. One year of which we dated.
The other year in which we were engaged. (You can read about that here, here & here)
We had a baby shortly after being married.
Then we had another.
Then this man I'm married to graduated college (while working full time as well) Summa Cum Laude
Then we lost a baby.
Then we had another baby.
We've done a lot of growing up together. That's what happens when you get married so young. But we did the growing together.
I can honestly say that we are as obnoxiously in love as we were when we were hormonal teenagers. Gross right? But so neccessary.
There was a steep learning curve, but here is what 11 years has taught me.
That's us the day he proposed, in the bottom right corner. On top is our 4 awesome kids who made us breakfast in bed for our anniversary. I LOVE that Izzy made a list of all the things to make and do and assigned them to everyone!
1. Flirt with him. Just do it. Plus its fun. Even if I haven't had time to shower in 2 days, and I've been living in yoga pants for longer than I care to say. He doesn't care. One look, a wink, or a reminder of past romantic moments is always a good thing.
2. Don't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever speak disrespectfully of him in public. Husbands do obnoxious things sometimes but I save it for my very best, trustworthy sister or friend, if I really need to vent about something.
3. Let the obnoxious things go. I'm not saying I bottle it all up and pretend it went away. I'm saying, let it go completely. We have conversations about stuff that bothers each of us. Gently mention one or 2 pet peeves.... not a long list. "What can I do to make our marriage better?" is a good start.
4.. Be best friends. I have girl friends that I need to do girl things with. But the person who I most prefer to spend my time hanging out with is my husband.
5. We let our kids see us kiss. Every day. We want them to see what a healthy, Godly marriage looks like. Inevitably they yell "GROSS!" and team up to separate us, but they know Daddy and Mommy love each other.
6.. Laugh at his lame jokes. Laugh at the good jokes. Chase each other around and laugh. Do a stupid dance and laugh.
7. Fight nice. And allow for the possibility that one of us hurt the other's feelings without saying it, meaning it, or intending it.
8. Forgive and FORGET. Jesus does it, so should we.
9. Hold hands. Even when we're not feeling it. There's been times we have been distant, disconnected, angry, roommates more than spouses. But simple touch has the power to bring it all back around.
10. I mentioned our 4 kids. We have spent the last 10 years dog flippin' tired. Exhaustion. Understand. Be patient. And fall asleep spooning. :)
11. Appreciate each other. And say it out loud. To each other, to other people, to strangers.
I don't know if Alex would write the same list, because recently I asked him why he loves me so much, and this was his response...... "I don't know. I just do."....... Thanks babe. I was almost really annoyed at that response. But then I realized it was ok. Something deep in his heart wants and loves me and only me. We can't always explain the why. We are just a part of each other. And I am so, so thankful for him.
***Disclaimer- I fully realize that every marriage is completely different. Obviously. Every marriage has different personalities, pasts, baggage, hurts, pain etc. This list is what works for us. I'm not an expert on marriage. All I know is how we go about being happily married for 11 years.