I met my husband when I was 21, legally an adult but still very much a child. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was obvious from the beginning that we were simpatico. The love came later, and once it did, I was all in. He’s had my heart for nearly 15 years. In the famous words of Meredith Grey, he’s my person.
I genuinely can’t imagine my life without him, but my love for him is not the same as it was when we were younger. It’s changed over the past 15 years. I’m not the girl he married, and he’s not the boy I married. We have grown, and we have changed.
When we first met, our relationship was easy and carefree. We were just kids really, and we were naïve. We didn’t know true responsibility, stress, shame, or sorrow. We were young, and so was our love. It was new, it was mysterious, and in a way, it was superficial. I don’t mean we didn’t love each other deeply, because we did. But our love hadn’t been tested. We weren’t parents yet, so we spent our free time doing whatever we wanted—whatever we felt like doing. We weren’t held hostage by an unruly toddler, or a weekend soccer tournament, so our time was ours. We talked a lot, because we had time to really listen and understand each other. Sometimes we stayed up late, then made up for it by sleeping in the next morning. Life was easy when it was just us.
Over the years, however, our love has been tested, because life, because stress, and because kids. It hasn’t always been as easy and carefree as it was when we first met. There have been growing pains and difficult times, because eventually the newness fades from even the shiniest of relationships and you’re left with realness.
At times, the realness took its toll. It was easy to lose sight of what mattered when we were fighting about laundry, bills, or any of the million other things that make life ordinary—not shiny or perfect like we once imagined. We lost our tempers, went to bed angry, and said things we shouldn’t have. We’ve been exhausted. At times, we’ve been broken. But in those moments of vulnerability, those broken moments when we were at our worst, we grew, and we changed.
The doe-eyed girl from my twenties loved a man who hadn’t seen her at her worst, and hoped he never would. It’s amazing how you think you can hide what you don’t want others to see. That you can somehow share a life with someone and shield them from your worst. You can’t, and I know that now. We all have a worst, and eventually it will show itself, often at the most inopportune times. My husband has seen my worst. He saw me crumble beneath the weight of postpartum anxiety—easily one of the most difficult times in my life. I was broken and vulnerable, but because of him, I was never alone.
I worried that it may be too much for him, that I may be too much for him. I showed him the part of me I disliked the most, the part I wished I could change, and he loved me anyway, even when I didn’t love myself.
When someone loves you even at your worst, it’s a big deal. Or at least it has been for me. It’s changed our love in a way that’s hard to put into words. I’ve learned that there is beauty in vulnerability, and there is beauty in our flaws—even if we are the only one who sees them as flaws.
Through the years, our feelings for each other have shifted and changed from day to day. We are simultaneously irritated by each other, and madly in love. That’s the thing about love—it’s malleable. It would be impossible for anything to remain unchanged by the passing of time, and circumstance.
Nothing is the same forever, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it just means different. Change and evolution are a natural part of life, and love is no exception to that. I don’t love my husband like I used to, because we aren’t the same people we were 15 years ago. We have grown tremendously, both separately and together. And tomorrow will likely be different than today, but that’s okay, because sometimes different is good.