My husband and I have a very special relationship. We have found and figured out how to have the “true love” that so many people have searched their whole life for. I often say he is the best thing, and the right thing, I have done with my life. And if all else falls away, all I need is him and his love. We’ve been together for ten years and married for four of those years. And we are very happy with our life together! We are not perfect - but we are perfect for each other. We’ve been through many many, many things. We’ve had very high highs and very low lows. But, through it all, we have never quit - we have never given up. Because it’s a choice. We CHOOSE this.

When people ask us how we "make it work, the very first thing we say is, “It’s a choice.” Because it is a choice. We choose each other every single day. We choose to put our relationship a priority, we choose to put each other first, we choose to love each other no matter what. When we started dating at 16 years old and 17 years old, and were already talking about wanting to get married, people said it would never last. But we CHOSE to make it last. When we were in a long-distance relationship for two years, so many people told us it wouldn’t work. But we CHOSE to make it work. When we both came from broken homes, and people wanted to throw statistics in our face about divorce (especially because we married young at 22 years old and 23 years old), we CHOSE to break the mold.

Life is always about choices. Everything you do in life is a choice and there has to be intention behind it if you want to make it work. Somehow, someway, we found each other at a very young age and we realized we were soulmates, as sappy as that sounds. We each give more than 100% to each other, we each are committed to making it last, and we agree on how we want to do that. We are in sync - and, in a relationship, you have to be.  There have been times when we have fallen out of sync, but it doesn't last long, and we always get back into our rhythm again...because we CHOOSE to. We have walked through so much and I can’t even put into words how honored and blessed and lucky I am to have my husband by my side through all of it. Through health issues, deaths, financial struggles, and everything in between...we have always come out on the other side of the storm to see a beautiful rainbow and it has always, always, always been worth it. Because we CHOOSE this with every second of every day, with every breath that we take, with every moment God gives us to be in love with each other.

Another big thing for us is communication. My husband has never been a good communicator (and he will admit that!) when it comes to "heavy" things that might lead to a disagreement. But we learned early on that it is the key to maintaining our relationship - especially since I AM a good communicator (I have a college degree in Communications, after all!). No matter how hard or difficult it may be, we make sure we are sharing our feelings and navigating our relationship through talking. Even if it's hard, even if it's scary, even if I have to pry it out of my husband or my husband has to beg me to be quiet! :P The biggest influence on this was reading “The Five Love Languages” book - which is good for all relationships, not just romantic ones. We realized that we have vastly different love languages. Mine is, no surprise, Words of Affirmation, and his is Physical Touch. Learning how to make sure each other's "love tank" was being filled helped us realize how we can work through the good times and the bad. We actually read the book together when we had first started dating, as teenagers, and I think it really set us up for success.

Finally, one of our favorite things to do to stay connected is...dressing alike! And I’m totally serious. When we were young, we had read an article online about a couple who had been married 60+ years. They said their secret to making it last was dressing alike. So we started doing it - and you know what? For us, it really does works. This doesn’t mean wearing the exact same thing, but we do wear the same colors or patterns, etc. For example, if I have on a yellow dress with a gray sweater, my husband wore a gray shirt and yellow shorts. If I have a Minnie Mouse shirt and red skirt on, he’ll wear a Mickey Mouse shirt and red pants. If I have on a plaid shirt and jeans, he’ll wear a plaid shirt and jeans. If I’m wearing something with a pattern (for example, a white romper I have with pink and blue flowers on it), he’ll wear the colors from it (in this instance, a pink shirt and blue pants). For us, it’s a very intentional, personal, and fun way to stay connected. People tell us all the time how weird/dumb/ridiculous it is, but we love doing it and we don't really care how it makes other people feel because it works for us. And yes, my husband really does love doing it - I don't make him! Half the time, he chooses the outfits! Because we have so much fun with it and we love each other so much, it’s become second nature for us. Plus, they say the longer you’re with someone, the more you look like them...we're just getting a head start. ;P

Honestly, we don’t have it figured out. And we’ll always go through peaks and valleys, good times and bad, and everything else our wedding vows talked about. But we both realize that we have something real and deep and meaningful together, and every day reminds us just how important that choice is.