A healthy relationship develops in a world where you navigate new and exciting terrain with someone. It’s filled with a robust amount of skepticism, anxiety, euphoria and general anticipation where forgiveness is easy and the physical attraction is so fierce that you find yourself counting down the minutes until you see each other again. In time, for some, that relationship evolves into marriage.

Marriage is a cocktail of communication, honesty, hard work and an enormous amount of love. Marriage isn’t always glitz and glam and it doesn’t care if your makeup is on point or what size your jeans are.

Six months ago I was promoted from fiancée to wife. Six months ago I said “I do” to the love of my life after seven years of dating. Six months ago in front of family and friends we took sacred vows.

“For better or worse. In sickness and in health.”

Many of us think that little phrase “in sickness and in health” is intended for “other” people. But we quickly became those “other” people.

It all started after taking medication for a sinus infection. Suddenly, I could feel my skin burning and the air getting sucked out of my lungs. I tried my best to stay calm, but it’s difficult to stay calm when you can’t breathe and you cannot control what is happening to your body. I knew I was going to faint so for a brief moment, I laid down in a pile of dirty laundry as my entire body began to shake. I kept thinking, this is it folks, I’m going to die right here in our dirty laundry. 

Those side effects you read about when taking new medication? Well, I was experiencing every single one of them at the same time. Suddenly, something as basic as breathing, something I took for granted, was becoming a chore. 

My memory of my husband taking me to the emergency room is cloudy. I just remember being completely terrified and for that moment really putting all of my trust in him. Technically we already did that when we took our vows six months ago, but this was the real deal. This was do or die, excuse my pun. My body was experiencing anaphylactic shock from a medication I never knew I was allergic to.

As quickly as this all started, it was ending. With the help of good doctors and the correct medication, I was awake and alert. In the corner of the hospital room was my very own knight in shining armor, my husband. I watched him quietly working on his iPad peeking at me out of the corner of his eye. It’s true ladies, there’s something incredibly sexy about your husband actually saving your life. I felt like a real life Disney princess. Except I was in the hospital wearing an ugly hospital gown with puke in my hair and wires attached to my entire body. Suddenly, the annoying beeping of the machines sounded glorious and it was at that moment I realized how incredibly blessed I am to be this man’s wife.

We are only in the infancy stages of marriage, but here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Marriage is not for the weak. It’s hard work.

Marriage is knowing someone always has your back. Always and forever. And you have theirs. Always and forever.

Marriage is a promise. A vow. To try the hardest you have ever tried in your life.

Marriage is a constant learning experience. You never stop learning.

Marriage is about rushing home to tell your better half about your entire day.

Marriage is also about listening to your better half chew your ear off early in the morning despite you not being a morning person. 

Marriage is supporting your partner’s choices and ideas that may sometimes scare you and leave you feeling uncertain.

Marriage is wishing you were the one having the back surgery, the back pain, or the sickness. Not him.

Marriage is a promise, a vow. To try the hardest you have ever tried in your life, and to keep trying because you love this person more than the sun, the moon and the stars.

Marriage is about vulnerability. Giving someone the right to see you at your weakest moments in life while also giving someone the opportunity to bring you unconditional love and joy.

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. It is collaborating to tackle life’s most difficult moments. There is no shortage of lessons that being marriage affords you, and even in the most vulnerable moments I am grateful. I used to always say my husband saved my life when we met. But now I can say without a doubt, my husband saved my life that February afternoon he carried me, barely breathing, to the emergency room. 

“A great marriage is not when the perfect couple comes together. It is when the imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” Dave Meurer 

Lisa Ingrassia

Lisa is the Director of Events at Zenith Marketing Group, an insurance brokerage firm located in Freehold, NJ. She is passionate about sharing her father’s journey with cancer and bringing attention the difficult path a caregiver must walk. She has written guest articles for the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, The Mighty & Her View From Home. She is also a guest blogger for The Huffington Post. Fun fact: She’s obsessed with her Boston terrier Diesel and loves the color blue.