About a year ago, my mom told me she thinks Nate and I have one of the great love stories.
My reaction to this was: "huh?"
I mean, yes - Nate and I have a really good relationship. We love each other deeply, we are the best of friends, and neither of us could imagine life without the other. But one of the great love stories? Like Romeo and Juliet, or Heathcliff and Catherine? We don't have nearly enough drama or excitement in our lives to go up against couples like that.
But those are fabricated love stories, not tales of couples dealing with everyday life. Real couples have mortgages and jobs and financial stress. Real couples get so busy they barely see each other, and when they do it's to kiss good morning before rushing out the door. Real couples fight about real things, like who forgot to pay the water bill and how the car is 3,000 miles over for an oil change and why it's never a good idea to invite people over without checking with the other person first.
Nate and I are very much a real couple.
We love each other, but we drive each other crazy. We don't always agree. We don't always do things in a way that makes the other person happy. We take our bad days out on each other. On the nights we're both home, we're likely to sit on the couch and stare at the TV for a few hours before heading to bed, where our dog sleeps between us (talk about romance) and we fall asleep to reruns of Friends.
In most ways, we're just your typical tired, over-worked couple.
And yet. There is something not-so-ordinary about these ordinary moments in our life.
Yes, we argue. But very rarely, and never about anything important. And even during our biggest, loudest, most dramatic fights (the drama is all me, Nate isn't much for yelling), we end up laughing. Always, without fail. We just can't stay mad at each other.
When we sit and stare at the TV at night, we cuddle up against each other and talk. We giggle at The Office and 30 Rock and our amusing dog. Nate plays with my hair, and I scratch his hand, because he loves that.
When we go to bed, we always kiss goodnight and say we love each other. We fall asleep curled together — Nate's hand on my belly, Mattie snuggled between us — our little family of three and a half.
On the nights when he works late and I go to bed alone, he always kisses me and tells me he loves me when he comes home. I am usually too sleepy for much of a response, but in the morning I always have a vague, dreamy memory of being kissed goodnight.
We lay in bed every morning and talk — about the previous day, the day to come, our plans for the weekend. And then the dog barks at Nate for her breakfast, he wrestles with her on the bed, I yell at them both to behave, and we end up laughing as we get up and begin to go about our separate days.
I married my very favorite person in the world four years ago today. And I can say with all honesty that even when life is hard, too busy, or just plain dull — we are happy.
Our life is very ordinary. But our love for each other is anything but.
And if that's what my mom meant when she said we have a great love story, I would have to agree.