“You have seen me in the dark.
You have seen grief cradle me and listened to the wails of my cries in the wake of the night, with the rise of the sun, with the emptiness of my losses.
You have seen the past tap me on my shoulder and drag me around a little while longer. You have held my trauma.
You have watched me go down, unwillingly, with the change of the seasons and postpartum. Packing on pounds day after day, talking down about the woman you love.
When the depth of my soul retreated in darkness, you helped me towards the light.
This is not just love you easily or haphazardly fall into. It is work that you do. Sometimes it looks like watching, listening, and waiting while the one you love does an unequal amount of that hard work.
That hard work can look different for us all. But my hard work is yours and your hard work is mine, and that’s what marriage is. That’s what this has always been.
It’s ongoing teamwork.
It’s rolling with the punches and taking them, too.
It’s picking up the slack.
It’s not right down the middle.
It’s heavy lifting, it’s closed-toed shoes.
It’s seeing imperfection and meeting it with grace. It’s understanding who someone is inside of themselves.
It’s, ‘I love you baby,’ even when you can’t love yourself.
It’s for better or worse, until death do us part.
I know exactly what it is because it’s what we’ve been doing all along. Marriage doesn’t simply begin at ‘I do’. It begins in that first moment of uncertainty and simultaneous happiness that the one who loves you chooses to stay.
You anchored to me, strong and steady, as my ship sailed from each harbor and faithfully into each wild and lengthy storm.
And with every torrential downpour, unknowing of its arrival, you still stay.
I vow to you every day and today, I will always do the same.
I will always love you, this life and next time; through the good, the bad, the most difficult, and the best of the seasons.
I vow to stay.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Wallflower Writing at Detroit Moms. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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