People like to say that my wife and I look young, but you should have seen us when we got married on April 20, 2001. There is a picture from our wedding day on our dining room wall, and it serves to bring joy and laughter to many visitors. We were young, fresh out of college and ready to begin our adult life together.

We have changed and evolved over the past twelve years. I’d like to think that we just keep broadening our horizons. We went from small town to suburban to urban. We started a non-profit organization. We simplified. We had three beautiful and strikingly unique children. I listen to more hip-hop, and Andrea finally stopped listening to country (praise God from whom all blessings flow). But the crazy thing is that I love my wife as much, actually more, than I ever have. I am quite simply crazy about her in every way. Sometimes when I tell people this they give me a funny look. They tell me about how many of our peers are going through a messy and painful process to just stay together, and I nod my head. I know.

A part of me wants to create some grand dramatic story of our fight and our tension and that time I almost left…but that just wouldn’t be the truth. Of course, there are difficult moments, selfish afternoons and stupid arguments, but I am truly so incredibly happy with my wife.

I find marriage, like life, to be a series of millions of small choices. What time will I wake up? Will I put my toothpaste away after I use it? Will I check my email on my phone while we struggle to get the kids to school on time? Will I appreciate that Andrea did the dishes before she went to bed last night? Will I let the pile of clothes in front of my dresser grow and grow? Will I take the kids to school when it’s not actually my turn? Will I notice when she is tired and needs a break? Will I ask for forgiveness when I’ve been rude and selfish?

It’s not glamorous, and sometimes it’s not sexy at all, but it’s real life.

As much as anything, I have learned to appreciate my wife. I see the compassion, the skills, the talents, the effort, the commitment and the beauty. I see how much she does for our family, and I simply choose to be grateful for her. I thank her. I value her. I respect her. I love her.

I have Andrea’s back, and she has my back. She tells me to go to the gym on the weekend, even when I feel guilty because she will be home with three kids. She knows it’s good for me and I’ll be happier the rest of the day. I encourage Andrea to chill out every now and then, to grab a cup of coffee and stare at the sky, because she is wired to accomplish and think about details all day. I watch romantic comedies, and Andrea watches painful documentaries about America’s prison system. We choose to compromise, and we choose to help each other through the day.

And the next day we do it again.

[For Year 14 of Marriage with Tim and Laura Tucker, click here]