I married my Jarod five months after I walked down the podium of my high school's navy-blue cap and gown celebration much to the dismay and disappointment of many. I had people blatantly tell me I was ruining my life, that my relationship wasn't going to work and I had no idea what love meant. Other people were a bit kinder about their disapproval but I could still sense their pity for the poor choice they believed I was making.
It seemed everyone knew love was hard either through their own failed romantic experiences or the unfortunate rates of disappointing relationships and marriages we constantly see on gossip magazine covers, the ever fluctuation of that girl's Facebook relationship status or the even more heartening and personal devastation that occurs in one's family when two decide to part.
The sweet lil ol' 18 year old me naively thought it couldn't be that hard but truly, I had no idea how insanely hard being married was and much more importantly, how hard staying in love would be. I can now vividly see the absolute lows in the course of our relationship where each one of us wanted so desperately to walk away. I understand the heartache of being broken by the one person who you truly believed never would. And I know the strength it takes to change something of yourself that you once thought was so fundamental to your core for the greater cause.
Through my own marriage's complications, I've learned to not pass judgement on other's when a relationship doesn't work. The truth about relationships is there's a million and one interchangeable variables that come into play at any given moment and they have to peacefully coexist and happily mesh for even the consideration of success.
Eight years ago, I had a very distorted idea of marriage. I didn't believe the cynics about love because their wisdom was overshadowed by the unhappiness of their pain nor could I believe the sweet, happy couples, blissful in the aftermath of Cupid's arrow, because they inadvertently made it seem like their loved one never even took a dump.
Jarod and I have weathered the ups and downs of a seven year marriage and the miraculous blessings of our three children; however, I wish I had known then that it is possible to love someone with the minuscule fibers of one's soul and then annoyingly hate them the very next. I wish someone had told me that it's not only possible but it's okay.
A marriage based entirely on emotion will always fall short but a marriage guided by the very vows one earnestly makes on their wedding day is nothing short of miraculous.
"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
To my Jj,
I choose you. I choose to hold you for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I'm not a perfect woman; in fact, I'm certain I'm a pain in the ass but you have continually chosen to love me. You have loved me at my best and at my worst - thank you for that. I love you so much.