One thing that no one has ever accused me of being (except with sarcasm) is an incurable romantic. I know that's something that's bothered my husband over the years, but... you know, he married me, not Cinderella. Here's my issue with Cinderella: while it's a nice story, it ends too soon. Sure, she married the Prince, they had a fairytale wedding, beautiful dress, $1000 wedding cake, but no one ever tells you what happened after the wedding when she and the Prince headed home to the kingdom and she found out that the Prince had decorated his castle entirely with free sports memorabilia from ball games, bean bag furniture and empty beer cans stapled to the walls. How did you handle that, Cindy? Because if that had been part of the story, the whole Cinderella thing might have had a tiny bit of relevance in my life.

Here's the thing. I learned a long time ago that there are no perfect relationships. Life doesn't end when the Knight in Shining Armor sweeps you off your feet; it goes on. After Knight shows, you might have a big party, but when the big party is over with and you've swept up all the cake crumbs and crumpled paper cups off the floor of the cultural hall in the church building, the adventure begins. This is life. This is where you endure to the end.

My philosophy of marriage is that in general, it sucks and if you can avoid doing it you should. Sharing your space, your home, your life -- dealing with someone else's foibles, baggage, and weird habits on a day to day basis is not only difficult, it's insane. Why would anyone willingly choose that life if they didn't have to? It's my own personal Ockham's Razor of relationships: all other things being equal, marriage is not really worth the trouble. But then there's this monkey wrench you throw into the mix: you put up with it because you love the person. And you realize that the toenail clippings in the rug, the stolen pillows, the socks on the floor... that's all a part of life. And life, whether you're living it with someone or not, is full of Stuff You Do Not Want to Put Up With... but you will. Because even that stuff? It's beautifully imperfect.

To my beautifully imperfect husband... you won't hear me say it publicly much, so brace yourself: I love you.

Happy Anniversary.