It took her 10 years of marriage to realize it…

When we first got married wed argue and wed fight. I remember trying to go to bed afterarguing about something really important like dishes or laundry.In my mind we had entered the verbal boxing ring, and I had one goal: WIN.

20 years young, gettin married.

He had one goal also: SLEEP.

Finally Id think of apointSO GOODhed fall silent. I was sure he was speechless with my wisdom, andIwould let the victory spur me into more knowledgeable insights and quotable thoughts. I was five minutes in before Idrecognize the sound ofheavy breathing. Hehadnt just drifted off, the man wasin some sort ofeuphoric coma. He had MISSED my moment and he still did not know that I was RIGHT.

Id turn on all of the lights and open all my dresser drawers just to slam them again. Id grab my waterfrom his side of the bed by accidentally trampling him with all my limbs. When all else failed I would drive around town until two in the morning eating tacos. Finally my passionwould dwindle andI would gohome, conceding only because I was surehe would be worried, that hed be awake andright where I wanted him in thedepths of despair. Instead he was snoring. Snoring is annoying.

Weve been married almost 10years now. Still we fight. Not as much. But still, sometimes, I bring out all my ugly in front of him.

But I dont think thats because my marriage is hard.

We are vulnerable, we are raw and weshow all ourugly because we are safe for each other.He loves me with my crap, and hetells me to stop it.And thats what I need.My marriage is mybest place to be real. Messy as it may be, its my favorite.

In our 10 years (of short) experience, here are 10 things we have learned and live by:

1. Our marriage isnt defined by the hard stuff.Sometimes all the cars break, and the blender breaks, and I get the kids to school an hour late. Sometimes I set the cooking utensils on fire and shatter a $400 window. Sometimes there are surprisetax payments and ason who decides to put beads in his ears.

Torched I tell you, torched.

Thereareall the little things. There arealsothe harder things like miscarriages and broken friendships. LIFE is challenging, but at the end of the day we are on the same team. Our marriage isnt aboutlifes obstacles, and we are stronger together.

2.We mess up. We make mistakesand it is not pretty. But we stay, we show up and we forgive.Its taken time, but we know now: Theres no better person on earth to fail around than each other. I know that his messesand his ugly dont make me less, and they dont make him less either, and then we can fight things together. Thats what best friends do. When I say Im flawed and I can never change, he says BULL, and he is right. We are better and stronger when we listen and are safe and we forgive.

3. Its OKtolose it.Were not each others mentors, bosses or parents. Were each others friends, confidants and partners. Sometimes after the end of a long day of keeping it together, we fall apart.Because we can.We cry. We say we cant do it anymore. We let all the thoughtsOUT, and its good.

4.We are each others most importantcheerleaders. This man hasseen me in sparklygaucho pants, light blue crocs and a pregnant belly. Hes with me every morning when I stumble my way downstairs for coffee and can only communicate in grunts and swearwords.If anyone knows, he knows, and he says I have what it takes to conquer my dreams. So I must.

5. Sometimes he forgets what its like to be at home with kids. Sometimes hesays, If you would just look at our two-year-old,and raise your oneeyebrow at herlike I do, then shewould listen and you wouldnt want to bash your head against the wall. But then he stays home instead of me, and afterheneeds to go into the mountains for four hours, and so he knows.

6. Sometimes I forget to ask him how his day was. I forget thathe just worked 12 hours, and all I care about is that he changes the diaper, and that he casts a magic spell on the chaos to make it STOP. But then I remember and I make gin and tonics and his favorite burritos, and we high five becausewe each survived this day #likeaboss.

7. Its good to let things go. Sometimes we have tochange our minds about things, like how he decided to think its cute that I lose everything and that I never have my own socks, so I borrow his. He decided to think its cute instead of annoying, and that was nice of him. I decided to like shows about cars and pawn shops, especially if it involves my back being rubbed.

8.We have friends besides each other. We have other people too. He has poker nights and bro-trips and I have the best-besties a girl could ask for. People we do life with and are absolutely real with.We are big on being authentic and if were struggling we talkabout it. We need community to be healthy.

9.We still adventure. We love adventure. We still have theme parties and go out dancing.We soldour house so we couldgo to Costa Rica and take our kids across the country in a camper. We have loneventures too, and arequick to accommodate each others plans. Settling down does not mean we have to settle-in.

10. We are, and we always will be, best friends. Yes lovers. Yes parents. Also best friends. People that love to talk to each other about anything and everything. The silly things, like how I was so tired I almost tried to pay for my Americano with abowl of oatmeal this morning, or how hisday was just the worst. Being BFFs is abouthaving secrets that no one else will ever know, about dreaming together,aboutalways having each others backs and thinking the best, not the worst.

He is my best friend and I like him. I think hes funny and smart and that he is the best dad. I like that he thinks it’s cute when I cry, and funny when Im angry. And if Im going to behangry or unreasonable or frazzled or depressed, Id rather be that way with him than any other place on earth.

Because the thing is, ourmarriage is a place for ourmost ugly, but its also a place for ourbest and ourmost beautiful.

About the Author: Jessica Johnston, her husband and her four kids (Malachi 8, Scout 6, Oaklee 4, Haven 2) live in the heart of Montana. Shes passionate about community, adventure, family and KEEPIN IT REAL in the process. Her writing has appeared on and Scary Mommy. She loves sharing laughs with you at You can follow her there, or like her page on Facebooks WONDEROAK Blog.

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