I want you to take yourself back in time to the day you got married. Close your eyes and go back to that day. Maybe it wasn’t long ago, or perhaps you have to really dig through some memories to recall your wedding day ages ago.

Can you remember the venue?

The smell of the wooden barn you spent hours visiting and rehearsing in?

Remember the dozens of bobby pins keeping every curl in its right place that you continued to find for days?

How about the speech your best friend gave making you a bit embarrassed but also making you belly laugh?

And those tears in your mother’s eyes as she watched her baby girl marry the man of her dreams?

The cake, oh, the cake. Wait, was it three-tiered? Chocolate? Vanilla? I can’t remember . . .

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What was our first dance song again? Back then that was the most important decision. I listened to hundreds of songs before deciding, and now I don’t even recall what it was. It was good, I’m sure.

See over time we slowly start to forget what the dress looked like, what food accompaniments we indulged in, what our floral and color schemes were. It’s all a blur now. A lifetime of planning and imagining our fairytale for a couple of hours that become forgettable with time.

Thank goodness for photography! We have beautiful photo keepsakes to remind us of the wonderful day we shared with our loved ones to look back on. We have hard copy proof we were in love and stood beside our partner promising them all of us.

Exchanging vows, we looked deep into their eyes pledging compromise, forgiveness, and acceptance of all they were and all they would become.

My husband and I wrote our own for our ceremony. I framed them, and 10 years later still have them hanging in plain sight in our master bedroom. I’ll be honest, I never read them again after mounting. But I did the other day during one of my frequent redecorating stints.

And then it hit me. Our wedding vows are yet another detail we have forgotten over time.

(I actually promised to “find an equal balance between reality TV shows and his sports programs.” That never happened.)

I acknowledged that I haven’t upheld all of my spoken words, and neither has my husband. If I could rewrite them now after a decade together, they would be far more realistic.

That’s the beauty of marriage, we learn only through time and understand that love is more than a feeling, it’s a choice.

I choose my husband every day. Every failure and slip up, I choose to move forward. I choose to love the new and improved man who’s grown up and taken new interests and hobbies and some not-so-great habits. I choose to forgive, a lot. And forgive often.

When the love hangover has subsided and you’re no longer intoxicated by togetherness, remember why you fell in love.

When the butterflies have flown away and you’re not a magnet to your partner anymore, remember why you fell in love.

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When you’re in the trenches of heartache and can’t imagine how you ever committed to your partner, remember why you fell in love.

Lean into your marriage and remember how much you loved your partner then and how much you still love them now. A more accepting and seasoned version of love.

I challenge you to hold hands like you did long ago, dust off your wedding vows, and remember.

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Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.

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