I feel spoiled lately. It’s a very new feeling. We are finally in a place where we are breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck rat race. I shattered some sort of ghetto-girl glass ceiling by getting my first brand new pair of UGGs (as my house shoes, so they don’t get messed up). It deserves so many exclamation points. We still don’t have “savings” — or whatever.

In a material sense, we are doing well. I pinch pennies, and my husband understands quality over quantity. Which is code for “he likes nice things at a good price, and knows what’s nice.” I mean how can you argue with this face?

His mother knows what I'm talking about.

We have had all sorts of setbacks. While we are coming up on our 10-year anniversary of meeting, we have been married 6 years, but had our wedding 5 years ago. So we’ve done things a little bit in reverse.

My husband and I have been tested. Our older daughter has been tested. Our younger daughter is part Marlon Brando, part Paw Patrol (she has not been tested). And the fact that our younger daughter has no idea, or unconscious clue about what her father and I have been through, individually or as a couple, is a testament to the fact that we are improving.

Very few people talk about what it really takes to make a long-term relationship last. It’s adaptability and, after that, faith. Put those two together and throw in a dash of the best sex ever, and you would be getting close to romantic love.

I can’t speak for the future, but I can tell you — Our present is better than our past. He and I have worked so hard to build our relationship and our family. And it’s not the busy work, like in middle school. It’s the type of work that engrosses you, like a scientist pushing to make a discovery. The work is intense, encompassing, and unrelenting.

That picture was taken at a bed and breakfast in Havre de Grace, MD. I had coordinated and planned for 24 hrs baby free. After some shuffling and last minute cancellations, we got and entire 24hrs alone, together. Not to ruin the mood or anything, but . . . This was the night I told him about my top three complaints regarding our relationship and our marriage. These were BIG and SCARY topics that pulled in ethics, morals, self awareness, emotional intelligence, and possible substance use problems. BIG.

It took so much of me to plan for that picture because I knew this was when we were going to have that conversation. And if he didn’t respond well, it would have completely ruined what was supposed to be a romantic overnight to help us reconnect. While things were very awkward for few hours, we went on to spend some true quality time together. We needed that quite space together, away from every whining noise whirring around us in our lives, in order to see each other again. Really see, and really hear.

The next day, antiquing in Havre de Grace (with our outlandish $100 budget), we found several gems that we still have in our collection. Our collection of stuff we like. He found a geode that looks like a unicorns hoof. (I know!!) I found mirror trays that we designed into shelving. We ate lunch at 7-11 and drank Red Bull.

He is the love of my life. Everyday, we keep trying to be better than the day before.

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