Her and him. Him and her.

That’s who we were, long before we were Mom and Dad.

And that’s who we will be, long after our little ones have flown the nest.

Tell me, will we still remember who we were? Will we still remember her and him, him and her?

Sometimes, it feels like a distant memory, that day we said yes until death do us part. Even when I shut my eyes as tightly as I can, I still can’t recall all the words of those vows. I mean, I roughly know what they included. Popular culture throws them around a lot. Those words are in all the movies. Well, you mightn’t know that, since you hardly watch any rom-coms.

I can hardly remember the feeling of getting into that white dress and fussing over hair and makeup. I can’t remember if I was comfortable in my wedding shoes, or if they hurt my feet? I have no idea what shade of lipstick I wore, or if I remembered to fix my hair for the photos? Were the layers of our wedding cake all the same flavor? Did all of my aunts and uncles attend? Those minor details, they seem to be getting away from me with time. 

As the years rush by, I start to rely more on the visual clues offered me from our wedding photos. I see the smiles, the genuine happiness in our eyes. Sweet nostalgia transports me back to that day, and I remember her. I remember him. Gosh, we were so young. Everything was new and responsibilities were few. 

When I look back at our wedding photos, it looks like the beginning of a fairytale. But we all know reality is far different from beautifully edited images. Our story will always be my favorite, though. Through all the hardships, all the challenges—after all that life has thrown at us—we are still here. We are now Mom and Dad, but we are also still him and her. 

Those wedding vows we exchanged, they have been tested. Oh, how they have been tested. Those bright and innocent smiles on our faces have waned and reappeared through the seasons. Sometimes, it seemed like whole seasons went by when they were missing, though. Days spent in the trenches, wondering if we would be able to climb out. 

Over the years, her and him, they have had to navigate some storms. It hasn’t been smooth sailing all the time. As with any season in life, there are ebbs and flows. They have had to learn to face the storms together. They have had to come together on the understanding that they’re building together, and not as two separate people. 

All these years later, they’re still clinging on. Their faith has helped shape them. They realize—we realize—that marriage takes work. Wedding days are beautiful and filled with great memories but they are such a small event in the grand scheme of things. Marriage though, that’s where the real work is. And also where the real beauty is. See, it isn’t always in the mountain-top moments that great truths are realized, it’s usually in the everyday, beautifully mundane moments. When we pause and take time to reflect, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. We get down on our knees and thank God for how beautiful this life really is. 

I’ll always look with fondness at our wedding photos. They help me remember what we were like, before the busyness of life took over. This beautifully, messy, perfectly ordinary love that is ours—this is where it all started.

So, long after the children have grown and flown from the security of our home, I hope we still remember that before all of this, from the beginning.

It was always us.

Her and him. Him and her.

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Sina Steele

Sina is a wife, mom and creative from New Zealand. Along with raising her daughters, she enjoys working from home in social media, design and writing. She serves alongside her husband at a Christian missions-training college in New Zealand. She loves encouraging women to step out in faith, and you can find her writing ministry over at Her Mustard Faith.