When I was 21, he asked me to marry him after just 10 months of dating. Truth be told, I would have married him the second we stepped foot back on American soil (we started dating while on a trip to England). I'm sure that our parents thought we were crazy. I was a junior in college and he had only graduated a year prior. We had no "life experience". We didn't have a closet full of skeletons. We didn't have pasts full of heartbreaks. He was my first long-term relationship, and I was his. It was kind of perfect.
And it still is.
Then when I was 22, exactly nine years ago today, we were joined by 80 of our closest friends and family members in Nassau, Bahamas for our wedding. It was everything I hoped it would be, even the moments that didn't go exactly as I had hoped.
At that time, I had dreams for what our life would be like. And although there have been hiccups along the way, my reality is pretty much how I pictured it back then. We have a happy, healthy and beautiful family. Our daughters are amazing beyond words (yes, I realize I'm biased). And I love J more each and every day I spend with him.
Over the past nine years, I have realized how everything that's said about marriage is true.
It does take work.
You need to understand that sometimes, it's OK to "lose" an argument, even if you're right.
You need to realize that you should never sacrifice yourself for your partner, but that nothing you do should weaken the other person.
And no matter how hard you try, you can't change someone unless they want to be changed. Sometimes, you just have to accept that he's never going to fold the laundry the way you want or "let go" of things that you don't see the value in.
Ultimately, marriage (and family) is all about teamwork. Our strength lies in numbers and our successes and failures are intertwined. It everything I've ever wanted and all I could ever need.