We got married young. We promised each other forever—but more than that, we promised to grow up with each other. No matter the plans we made, we couldn’t control everything. We didn’t always know what was on the other side of the door. That was scary. It was challenging.

We took the vows though. We vowed to spend our lives together. It’s a decision we’d both make again and again given the chance, but we had no idea what we were signing up for. I don’t think anyone truly does. Maybe that’s why they call it a leap of faith.

The thing is we leap over and over every single day as we actively fight for our love story, our marriage, and our family—because that’s what it takes.

Marriage means showing up again and again, day after day, even when it’s hard, even when it’s ugly.

We took that first year head on. It was a big one filled with home buying and a baby. It felt like we were in over our heads a time or two, but we always had each other to lean on at the end of the day. You held my hand as we chased our dreams and built our family. I know that with you by my side I can accomplish anything.

We learned that neither of us is perfect. It didn’t change a thing, though. I promised to try to work on my backseat driving. It’s still quite the work in progress. You promised to stop leaving me the bottom-of-the-pot coffee. We promised to always communicate because it’s the foundation of our marriage. We agreed that alone time and date nights were essential to keeping the spark alive, even though our sense of romance would still change.

We learned so many things about each other. I’ll never forget the look on your face when you saw me tweezing my upper lip for the first time because you didn’t know women did that. I learned that you actually aren’t a sweets person, but you’ve eaten everything I have ever baked without so much as a word. I never thought someone would know me better than I know myself. It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth.

We have grown into our marriage. It’s not new anymore. The romance isn’t always so exciting and fresh. We’re used to each other and have a routine. Sometimes we fall into ruts. Everyday life can feel rather mundane and boring. No one gets excited about doctor appointments and grocery shopping. We have to work to keep that spark alive. We have to make the conscious effort to be husband and wife, not just dad and mom. I might get the butterflies now because you picked up my favorite $1.49 iced coffee on your way home instead of a bouquet of flowers. Our marriage is growing with us.

As we adapted to our roles as mom and dad, we were still husband and wife. We had to learn to be both actively. Neither role can afford to be placed on the back burner. We have developed quite the team. This parenting thing is man-to-man right now, and the tiny humans sure do keep us on our toes.

My days of full make up and trying to impress you are few and far between. You now show off how quickly you can perfectly swaddle an overtired baby. I show off how quickly I can whip up our toddler’s many, many dinner requests. Our life is ordinary, but it is so incredibly beautiful.

We didn’t know what a lack of sleep would do to us, as individuals and a couple. It wears on a person’s temper and patience. You get the short end of the stick sometimes when I’m frustrated. I get the short end of the stick when you’re tired and cranky. We still show up, and we vow to do better the next day.

We said “through thick and thin”—well, we are in the thick of things right now. The part where responsibilities and stress have taken over our lives. A time where my attention is so often focused on our little munchkins who need me for everything, and where our conversations are so often interrupted by a sibling fight, a crying baby, or a spill. We have learned, though, that we can lean on each other and we will make it through each day together.

We didn’t know what the sleep deprivation, endless piles of laundry, and other obstacles our future would hold, but we said “I do” anyway. We leapt. We put in the work each day because this? This is our forever.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Megan Vollmer

Megan Vollmer is a wife and mother of two. She writes about motherhood, marriage, and faith. She thrives on faith, sarcasm, and coffee. She has been published on Today Parenting Team, BabyGaga, Her View from Home, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul.