“Your ring is so beautiful!” I overheard the women next to me, remarking on one of the newly engaged woman’s hands. 

I glanced over. It was beautiful. Sparkly and new. I thought back to the day my husband had proposed to me. I had dreamed of that moment since I was a little girl. I’d watched all the fairy tales, and I knew all about Prince Charming. I was certain he was real and I would one day be Cinderella. 

My life hadn’t been much of a fairy tale. I had an absent father who left me waiting night and day for the perfect man to one day come and sweep me off my feet. 

As he slipped the beautiful solitaire diamond on my left hand, I just knew I’d found my Prince Charming. The only thing I ever wanted was a fairy tale, and I was sure my new diamond ring was just the beginning. 

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A few days later as I checked out in the grocery store line, I made sure my left hand was visible. The cashier complimented my beautiful diamond, and I smiled gleefully at her. 

I felt giddy inside. She liked my diamond. 

And my fairy tale continued. We had a big wedding. I wore my dream gown, and he wore a black tuxedo. My bridesmaids wore my favorite shade of purple complemented with a touch of champagne. Nothing was left unthought of.

Best of all, I had Prince Charming who, for whatever reason, agreed to put up with me for the rest of forever. Is there anything more fairy tale than that?

But now, 11 years have passed since we said “I do” in front of our family and friends. I still love my diamond though it’s not quite as shiny as it once was. And the dress I was so in love with now sits buried in an upstairs closet. But it’s less about the diamond and the fairy tale these days. 

These days it’s more about the moments when I fall completely apart in my husband’s arms, and he scoops me in tightly. 

It’s about the driveway getting shoveled day after day even though he’s worn out and exhausted

It’s about him watering the plants because he knows I’ll forget every time. 

It’s about holding hands on the couch while we watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond

These days it’s about the little things. 

It’s about the ordinary and the mundane. 

It’s about the laundry and the dishes. 

These days it’s about him coaching our boys’ little league teams and beaming with pride at their success. 

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It’s about my side of the bed being perfectly warm as I slide under the covers because of course, he thought to turn my electric blanket on. 

It’s about making it to Friday and wanting to do nothing more than curl up with him for an evening of Netflix documentaries while he twirls my hair.

It’s about dancing in the kitchen to our favorite songs. 

It’s about not having to say anything at all and yet we know what the other is thinking. 

These days it’s about the little things. 

It’s about doing DIY home projects together and failing along the way. 

It’s about dinner dates at Outback complete with a mall walk or a trip to Lowe’s. 

These days it’s about pressing in rather than pulling away. 

These days it’s less about the diamond ring and more about the happenings of everyday life. 

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When he slipped that ring on my finger, I had no idea what a fairy tale was. I thought it meant there would be eternal bliss, endless laughter, and blue skies all the time. I didn’t account for hard times. I didn’t account for mundane and ordinary. 

These days it’s not about the diamond or the Cinderella fairy tale. But it is still my happily ever after.

Because when the days are long and the night sweeps in, he’s the one I want to be next to. It’s his hand I want to hold when the turbulence of life creeps in. It’s his laugh I want to hear when I need a little pick-me-up. It’s his embrace I want to feel when I am let down or discouraged.

No, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows in a crystal blue sky. But these days, it’s not about all of that. 

These days it’s about knowing that even if there are cloudy skies and rainy days, he’s the one holding my umbrella. 

Shandyn Paul

Shandyn Paul is blogger and Christian writer who lives in a small town in Ohio. She is married to her best friend and biggest supporter, David. Together they have two boys, who keep life busy and interesting. She started writing her blog, http://wwww.theanchoredmama.wordpress.com/ because of a calling she felt from God during a 2am feeding session with her youngest son in 2015. She took a leap of faith and has been writing ever since. Her hope is to encourage and inspire others through God's Word.