When I was in high school, I was introduced to romance novels through a friend, and I read them in between the harder reads required in my English class and the more in-depth classics and popular novels that I sought out for myself. Romance novels were the fluff that made me giggle on any particular day where a girl made a snide comment about my clothes or when my hair wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do or if I was just having a bad day. (You remember all those things that were so totally important when you’re 16?)
I wrote a paper in college on the influence of romance novels on young girls’ minds, and how they usually set impossibly high standards for any guy out there. There are no guys who are as smooth, or as romantic, or as perfect as a lot of the ones in romance novels are. If a guy seems like it, then there’s probably something wrong with him otherwise that should make you go screaming the other way, in my experience.
After a couple bad experiences with guys over my freshman year of college, I met my husband three weeks before school ended for the summer at a rodeo dance. (I’m from South Dakota. We have things like these.) The second time I truly hung out with him on a party night at his frat house, he carried me up the stairs to sleep on his couch after vomiting heartily into another frat brother’s trash can. (We won’t go into the causes there…) I was amazed he still wanted to talk to me after that experience, but the next week he asked me to be his girlfriend.
We spent the summer talking once or twice a week, sometimes for fifteen minutes and other times for an hour. That next year our relationship blossomed, to use a romantic cliché. Then came my junior year, when I was managing editor of our college’s student newspaper. He was working and taking a full load of courses, while I was taking a full load of courses, working 10 hours a week and working on putting out the weekly paper. We rarely had time to see each other, unless we skimped on something else, and it seemed to me like we fought at least every other week.
Somehow, we made it through that year. Scott said once that he wondered, that year, if we shouldn’t end it. I admitted that I thought about it as well.
We didn’t end it, though, and I’m happy to say that today is the first anniversary of our marriage. Obviously, our relationship hasn’t been perfect. No true relationship is. It takes work to make a relationship last. I’m convinced that’s why a lot of people’s marriages don’t work out; they’re not willing to take the bad with the good, and to work at their marriage. Some do work at it, and it doesn’t work out. Others, though, want things the way they want them, and when things don’t go that way, they give up.
Now, I’ve only been married for one year, so I can’t give you all of the marriage wisdom that other people could. I will say, though, that if you truly love the person, and are willing to make sacrifices for each other (and each of you has to be willing to make those sacrifices), marriage can be a wonderful thing. We’re looking forward to buying our first house, having our first child, and an amazing set of other firsts in the future, like having our first anniversary. No high expectations; it’s a Monday night, so we’ll probably grill some steaks and watch a movie. That’s okay, though; we’re happy.
That’s my sappy post for the year. Have a happy day, everyone.
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