lasting love.

Falling in love with Tim happened so suddenly and so quickly that I hardly had time to catch my breath. It happened over late-night phone calls, flirty texts, and then finally, after more than a month of just talking, a string of great dates. The kissing didn't hurt either. ;)

We've been together now for over 11 years, and we both joke that we had no idea what we were doing when we decided to commit to each other all those years ago. There we were making googly eyes at each other at a restaurant when the subject of marriage casually came up as if we were talking about dessert. It was as simple as this: "So I think we work well together. I'm having a lot of fun. I really like you (perhaps we said love, but I can't remember), and I think we should get married." Thinking about it now makes me laugh because I can't believe it's worked out so well after such a mediocre talk. I mean...what were we doing?!

Neither of us knew what we were doing, but then again, does anyone really? Even with the grandest proposals and years of dating, does any couple really know what they're in for? Doubtful. You can dream, hope, and wish for a certain future, but there are just too many variables to really know how things will turn out.

And Tim and I realize we're still in the thick of things. In fact, I think we always will be, but one thing that I think sets us apart from a lot of couples I know is our absolute commitment to put each other first always. In the 11+ years of being with Tim, he has always loved me first before any child, any animal, or any object. He kisses me immediately when he walks through the door, holds me for a minute after dinner, offers to play with the kids or remove them from my sight while I clean up dinner, runs his fingers through my hair as I work, and snuggles with me as we talk before bed.

He's watched me stretch and shrink in more ways than just physically. He's helped me through tears and anger. He laughs with me and makes me laugh multiple times a day. He's been very flexible with the person I've become over the years. There is still a ghost of the previous version of me lurking around, but for the most part, I'm a different person in a lot of ways, and he's learned to love and nourish that person. He's willing to try new things. He's not opposed to disagreeing. He gives me the space I not only desire but need from time to time, even though I know it's incredibly difficult for him because if he had a choice, he'd be by my side always.

He is my lasting love. He is the choice I make everyday. He is the love I continue to admire and dream about.

And although falling in love was as easy as can be, it hasn't always been easy to stay in love. Sure, we have always loved each other, but being deeply in love is something we work for a lot. You'd have to review our text messages and random notes to each other to believe it. I tell Tim all the time that I've never been more attracted to him physically, emotionally and spiritually. And I'm doing everything in my power to keep this going as long as possible.

I realize life will happen, and there will be dull moments, and perhaps even bad moments, but I think the difference between a first love and a lasting love is that you continue to choose the love you want each day instead of dwelling on what was when the relationship started.

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