‘My husband and I met in a place called Dixie Chicken. Don’t tell my parents. To this day, they think we met in the Methodist church parking lot.’

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“My husband and I met on St. Patrick’s Day in a place called the Dixie Chicken. (But don’t tell my parents. To this day, they think we met in the Methodist church parking lot. Kids don’t be like me. Lying is bad.)

I was there with my neighbors after a friend had stood me up. He was there with his friends after he ran out of money and couldn’t afford to travel anywhere for Spring Break.

I was older. I was over the college scene. I’d been burned a few times, and was on this spiritual journey to figure out who I was, and what I was supposed to be doing, and I had zero interest in boys, but my neighbor thought he was cute, so I agreed to go talk to him for her.

Oops.

It stuck. And against all odds, so did we.

We’re lucky that we found each other, I guess. (I choose to believe that we were destined to meet. I look at my three kids, and I believe they were destined to be here. I believe everything, every big and little detail is a smaller piece of God’s bigger puzzle.) But for today, let’s call it luck. Out of all the people, in all the world, we were at the exact same place at the exact same time. That has to be some sort of extreme miracle, right?

We met.
We got engaged.
We got married.
We had a kid. Then another kid. Then surprise! Another kid.

It was luck that we got together, but it’s not luck that we’ve stayed together.

The truth is, we work hard at our marriage.

The truth is, we are determined.

The truth is, we are committed.

The truth is, we are in it to win it.

We made a choice to make a life together. We made a choice to love together. We made a choice before God to be together. And we keep making the choice to stay together, and we continue to live out that choice every single day, no matter what.

We get in fights. We argue. We disagree. Some nights we go to bed so angry with each other, I wake up at 3 am with smoke coming out of my ears, and march to the couch because I can’t stand to hear the sound of his stupid breathing another stupid second. He, on the other hand, can sleep through a herd of elephants playing Blink 182 on their trunks.

Some disagreements last for minutes. Some disagreements last for weeks. Some disagreements last until we get our backsides into counseling.

We get bored. We get stale. We get busy. Some days we get in such a dadgum routine we hardly even remember to look up and smile at each other.

We put work first. We put other people first. And even more often, we put our kids first. Sometimes, we get so obsessed with raising our babies and cheering at baseball games and going over flash cards every evening, we let it slip our minds how badly our marriage needs to be the priority. We let it slip our minds how our marriage came first and how our marriage should stay first.

Sometimes, we forget that the best thing we’ll ever do for our kids is love each other and respect each other and create a healthy home where people are accepted and appreciated and allowed to mess up. Where people are affectionate and adored, so date nights get pushed off for weeks, for months on end. And date nights should never get pushed off.

We’re not lucky.

We just stay until we work it out. We just love until the hurt makes its way back to happy. We just talk until we remember why we fell in love in the first place.

We pray. We lean on God. We let Him guide our footsteps instead of stomping all over each other’s heart.

We just do our best to understand what the other is going through. We just do our best to understand what the other one needs. We just do our best to understand where the other one is coming from.

We just forgive over and over and over.

We dance in the kitchen. We hug as soon as the other one walks through the front door. We still take weekend get-aways. We pick up Reese’s peanut butter cups from gas stations as little surprises every once in a while. We hold hands on road trips. We make the other person’s dreams a priority. We kiss until our kids squirm.

We remember to lead with empathy and tell the desire to be defensive to take a backseat. We don’t roll our eyes (often). We speak as kindly as possible and tell the urge to yell and scream and snap to calm down for a hot minute. We stay open to learning because heaven knows, we don’t have it all figured out, not even close.

We follow the rules when we need to, and more often than not, we toss the map out the passenger window and drive on in our own way, on our own terms, in our own direction.

We aren’t afraid to change. We aren’t afraid to grow. We aren’t afraid to look at ourselves and go ‘Okay? What can I be doing better here? How can I make this thing better? What’s my
part to improve things?’

We never ever forget how much we appreciate each other. We never ever forget how much we want the other one by our side. We never ever forget how much better we are as a team, as a couple, as partners.

We never ever forget to choose each other. We never ever forget to be there for each other. We never ever forget that nobody on this green and blue Earth is going to support us like the other one.

We never ever forget that our marriage is a gift, and it’s not to be taken lightly and it’s not to be taken for granted. We did. We do. And we will.

Our life isn’t perfect.

Our relationship isn’t perfect.

We sure as heck aren’t perfect as individuals. I want to make that abundantly clear. Not perfect. He’s not. He is cheap, and short-tempered, and feelings make him squirm. I spend too much, and work too hard, and am selfish, and I shut down when stuff gets hard. We have no idea what the future holds. We have no idea what the next decade is going to look like.

We’re not perfect.

But we’re not lucky either.

Our marriage works because we work at it. Every year. Every week. Every day. When it’s good. When it’s rocky. When we feel like it, and when we don’t, we work.

It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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