‘Marriage doesn’t always look this pretty beyond the altar. But on the day you said ‘I do,’ how could you imagine anything less?’

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“Marriage doesn’t always look this pretty beyond the altar.

It’s not always elegant or put together, and it certainly doesn’t always look this happy.

But on the day, you said ‘I do’, how could you imagine anything less?

As you recite your vows, you look at the person before you. Beaming with adoration. Love passionately pumping through your veins.

You repeat the words at hand.

‘I take thee, my love, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.’

You say the words.

You mean the words.

But you want to get to the good stuff. The party. The wedding night.

You don’t process how powerful those words are and how those words, should you be faced with them, will completely change your marriage. How they’ll completely change your life.

Marriage is more than a white dress and a black tuxedo.

It’s more than promising to love each other through the thick and the thin.

It’s beyond anything you could have imagined when you sealed your love with a kiss and a certificate.

Marriage becomes challenged.

It’s not always steady.

And life, it comes at you, forcing you to act on your vows rather than just say them.

It’s dealing with loss, and illness, and new people in your relationship.

It’s weeks without sex or sleep and finding the patience to tolerate one another.

It’s holding each other’s hand through illness, injury, and unexpected hardships.

It’s changing your wife’s postpartum pad as she aches over a toilet.

Wiping your husband’s tears as he mourns over a loss.

It’s literally sickness, health, and everything in between.

Marriage is being someone’s person. Their rock. The ear of their frustrations. Their caretaker when things get tough.

It’s beyond what you see at the altar.

Beyond the celebration, the hoots and hollers, the community of support.

It’s life experiences, it’s managing the unexpected, it’s saying ‘I do’ every morning, every night, and sometimes every minute of the day.

Marriage is a legal binding.

But love, my friends, love is a bond that takes you through your years. It ebbs and flows. It thrives from and requires communication, respect, and trust.

There is not a thing in the world like it. Not a thing.

Especially not when you’ve experienced it with the one.

And for me, there is no one I’d rather love and do life with than him. He’s my safe place to land when my mind needs peace. The anchor that holds me in place. The sails that set my life on its greatest adventure.”

Groom kisses bride who says marriage isn't always perfect's hand as they walk down the aisle
Courtesy Annie Lawton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Annie Lawton of Grown Up Glamour by Anneliese Lawton. The article originally appeared here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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