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I’m in the kitchen making dinner, swaying from one foot to the other to mitigate that third-trimester sciatica when I hear the click of your keys in the front door. The dog’s paws lose traction as he scurries to the door and our son stops what he’s doing to look up in anticipation. If our daughter wasn’t napping, she’d scurry to the front door too. For me, I feel my body relax and immense joy fills me up. My husband is home.

But here’s what really awes me. The last week, he’s been commuting two hours one way for work-related training. These days are long for him. Yet he walks through the door with a burst of excitement for his family that refuels me. He’s ready to play with our son in a way only he can satisfy. He tends to the dog. He puts his hand on the small of my back and kisses me tenderly on the forehead and says, “Wow, it smells amazing!” I know he is weary from the day, but he still shows up 100% for us, and I can’t tell you how amazing that is.

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Back in May, my husband graduated with his bachelor’s, magna cum laude. He did that in two years with a full-time job and a full-time family. He did it with all the full-time adulthood life responsibilitiesI have no idea what we were all in a rush for when we were younger. And he never skipped a beat when it came to showing up 100% for us. I don’t know how he did it, truly, but he often tells me he couldn’t really have done it without me (thanks, sweetie).

I thank God He gave me you to do life with. I know when we got engaged in college, people thought we were crazy because we were so young, and then, I got to graduate with you by my side. When a hurricane damaged the first home we were supposed to move into after our wedding and honeymoon, it was okay because I went through that with you. I haven’t had to grieve or navigate trauma alone. When I was confused or scared, you have been there to help guide me and ease my anxieties. Mistakes have been made together; learning and growth have happened together too.

I know a lot of people who are still confused about relationships. Of course, there are some basic things that are important: similar goals for the future, a moral compass that points the same direction, attraction to one another, etc. Goals change. Challenges and unexpected experiences arise. We age (hopefully gracefully). After college, career changes, tough times, losses, wins, children, and everything in between, my husband and I are so different from who we were when we met.

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What the years together have taught me is this: the marriage that works is the one you put a lot of work into. Don’t just meet each other halfway, go beyond that, way beyond that! When you both do that, everyone’s cup is overflowing. Then when life happens, and you can’t even go halfway, that’s okay. You don’t have to. He’s already meeting you where you are.

My husband tells me he couldn’t do it without me. And I know what he means. I have no idea how I’d do it without him either. The highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and all the craziness in the middle. I can’t say enough how thankful to God I am that He blessed me with this life to live with my husband.

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Valerie Robinson

Valerie has been married for going on six years and is soon to be a mother of three. She graduated from JMU with a bachelor's in Health Sciences and worked in clinical research before working from home in marketing. Valerie now stays home caring for her family, chickens, and garden.

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