I worry someday I will disappoint you, that I will trip over the hem of my dress and stumble. I have so much love for you. Know that I do! Know that I don’t doubt no one will ever do, but you! But with a heavy heart, I admit I may be flawed. In the back of my mind, through the dormant days, I worry I will lose you to “everything is fine” and there will never even be a fight.

Each year counts for something, but what does it take away? How often now darling do we make it to the dance floor? The pearls, I know they were meant to replace the words. The candles, the moonlight we squandered. Yes, I know this story all too well. I have written, mostly strung words into sentences until the moment they form into feelings and shatter, and damn it, I am forced to feel.

I fidget by your side, on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, running after our kids, while seeking all that I am meant to be. How can I even resemble the same woman you fell in love with fifteen years ago? She no longer looks her best. You have seen her covered in blood, broken and blue. Not a pretty sight. Worried I will or have become your, “this will have to do” breaks my heart.

In a box of broken things is an “I’ll get to it” attitude. Late into the month it has been getting before I smear a shade of lipstick on and give you all of my attention. In the good and bad you’ve proven your point, but in the ugly can I be certain you will forgive me. In the seconds hesitating at the front door will it all be worth saving?

Will you still love me when I’m not my best?

In the midst of burning supper, juggling schedules and working with deadlines, is our marriage. Like my favorite dress hanging in the back of my closet, there is never an occasion. It is a sad thought. I am taking for granted those kiss good-nights, pushing the distance, to what could someday be a kiss good-bye. Or am I fretting and fidgeting over nothing? As you catch me alone, while our kids play in the yard, flirting with me at the kitchen sink.

We managed to fit a date night on the calendar, two months from now, dinner for two. Hopefully I won’t be tired and your back won’t hurt and the baby sitter won’t fall through. Two months, so much can happen that could make or break us. Truth or dare, do you think we’ll make it? Calling me out with a dare, you do. You pull the truck off the road into an approach sheltered by a grove of trees. No way were you waiting two months for me!

The dates, the dinners, the dashing off on a romantic weekend they never seem to happen. In the midst of idling in the mortgage and management of this same old love story, you charm me off into a corner. For merely a moment was all you needed for me to fall, like I do for you, in love. Like I know no one else will do. It reassures me each time, all these years, we still melt together.

You ease my worries, as you take my burdens, as you always have. Dinner may not happen two months from now, but these little moments that define you and me will. Before all the rest, it was just you and me. We built a strong foundation to this marriage. When all else fails, as it often does, it is your arms I will fall back into. Only you will love me even when I’m not my best; when I don’t deserve your grace or compassion. After two months sitting on the back burner you will still be the one to sweep me off my feet.

It is an amazing kind of love! I’d like to reassure the world, walking down the aisle there is no greater love. But the truth of the matter is that wedding day kind of love is just a walk in the park. If the years go by and you don’t fall more in love with each other or roll up your sleeves and make the effort then you will never know the peace of happily ever after. You will never be able to love each other when you’re not your best.

Jen Miller

My name is Jennifer Miller, but I prefer simply Jen. I live in Hawley, MN. It is a small town built along the railroad tracks and surrounded by fields. I married my high school sweetheart in 2005 and we have two little boys, Jack (5) and Grey (3). Motherhood took me by surprise just before my 30th birthday and since then I have been stay at home mom and have loved every minute of the craziness. I am a staff writer for the Hawley Herald and do most the work from home. Being an introvert it took me out of my comfort zone, but so worth it because I love writing. It is something I do every day and it allows me to be home with my boys.