::what loving someone 20 years looks like::

To all the young girls watching Nicholas Sparks movies and sighing.
To all the young couples rushing to the altar hoping marriage will turn you into a storybook romance. To all the women thinking love, sex and marriage is this glorious and romantic whirlwind like the movies and you are disappointed...
I wanted that storybook thing too. When I was a teenager I would do anything to get it. Then I fell for a dark and handsome long haired skater boy who made me laugh. (Give me a break-it was the 90's-we were cool back then) 

We went through big, scary stuff together when we were so very young that some grown ups don't even handle well. Way back, twenty years ago, we had no idea our love story would be so difficult and bumpy or so downright beautiful.

So, girls looking for that tall, dark guy with the high fade, flannel and sweet words to sweep you off your feet; let me tell you what 20 years of loving someone really looks like

It is sometimes ugly. It is sometimes crying. It is sometimes fighting over nothing. It is being mad over him not doing the dishes but there is really some underlying issue. It is sometimes lonely. It is sometimes giving up of yourself. It is learning and stretching and growing and having a part of you outside yourself. 

There are magical, movie like moments intertwined. The thing is, real love is not built there. Real love is built in between those magical moments. In the doing of dishes and "I love you" texts, in the silent drives to church and the picking out of furniture.  In the pushing each other toward goals, giving up, dreaming, and pushing some more. In the fighting, late night dinners and holding back hair when you are sick. In the anger and frustration and inside jokes. In the rocking of babies and back rubs, in the paying of bills and holding of hands.  It is choosing to love him when I don't like him in the moment. It is him doing the same for me. Choosing, over and over. And then again.

So you see girls, when you watch The Notebook or Twilight go ahead and swoon. Just remember, those magical romantic moments are not where love is built. Those magical moments are the exception, not the rule. Love is built in the in between. In the ordinary, in the difficult, in the every day.  Look for a guy who loves Jesus above all else and who respects you as a woman. Walk with him for awhile and see how the ordinary moments can turn into romantic ones. How love is built there. Build it with him and watch that deep down, magical love bloom.  

Sometimes when money is all spent on groceries for three growing boys all you can give your spouse for your date-a-versary is a look of love, words of affirmation and and sweet lil blog post. So here you go my sweet Paul. To twenty years of loving each other. Of growing and changing and becoming more. Of balancing each other and spurring one another on. Of giving up of myself, of anxious hope for the bright future I can almost touch. I am so proud of the man you are and the man I know you are becoming.  Enjoy this little blast from the past in photos.  It all started with my phone number on your shoe in 1995 and here we are 20 years of growing up together, 12 years of marriage, 2 houses, 4 kids and a bright, exciting future.  Thank you for loving me, honoring me, and making me laugh the way you do. I am more in love today than yesterday. There is real love for you, 20 years later. xoxo


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