Would you choose me again?

We vowed in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and for better or worse seven years ago. We made this commitment not knowing how hard marriage was going to be, and how many challenges we would face. If you had to guess where we would have ended up the day we promised ourselves to each other, was this what you envisioned? Which leads me to wonder, my love. If you could go back in time and live life all over, would you marry me again?

Given the choice, would you choose me?

Going into marriage, we had the highest hopes and aspirations for our lives individually and together. We dreamed of a large family surrounded by a white picket fence and happy, healthy kids to vacation with. It was good to have these dreamsit gave us the motivation to build our futures. Naturally, life happened.

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For the most part, life has been good to us. We’ve shared many fond memories and incredible times of joy. We’ve also been knocked down, to only be knocked down even further right after. The journey of marriage has been cruel and unforgiving to us at times. I’m sure we never thought our desires wouldn’t have the chance to come to fruition or our dreams wouldn’t have materialized by now.

On the day of our wedding, I only saw joy. We stayed up for hours promising one another a grand life, and no honeymoon phase could be clouded by the endless possibilities of hardships. I couldn’t have predicted job losses and being stressed out as we quickly tried to mentally total up our cart full of groceries, only to have to put many items back. I couldn’t have guessed we would spend so much of our marriage separated by thousands of miles due to the military.

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I definitely didn’t foresee this body I’m in now. I’m no longer young and beautifultime and pregnancy didn’t treat me kindly. Our picket fence has only one child, though I’m praying hard for another.

Habits and routines have replaced spontaneity and discovery. Netflix and takeout Chinese food have replaced adventure. We’ve substituted comfort and practicality for romance and selflessness.

If you knew all the newness would wear off and wrap itself in pajamas and leftovers, would you have picked me?

Angry and covered in days of baby spit-up, with a cloud of postpartum depression hovering over me for six months—that couldn’t have been your ideal future wife. In all fairness, there’s a good amount I never predicted from you either. Who can see the rawness of a real marriage until you’re in the thick of it?

If you could have peered into a window of the future and seen the hard moments in life and where we are now, would you have held my hand and still said, “I do”?

I wondered, so I asked you. You bravely told me here in this moment isn’t what you had in store for us. And to my surprise, you told me, “But yes, I’d do it all over with you.” Much to your delight, I said the same.

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A gorgeous face equipped with six-pack abs and a stable bank account with a house on the top of a hill would be nice, but there’s so much more to life than the pretty.

There is no one else I would rather do life with, in all its ugly, too.

Dear husband, I would choose you all over again, and I choose you every day. We aren’t quite where we want to be, but I’m with who I want to be withnow and forever.

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Jennifer Bailey

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