The “Unicorn Couple”: That couple that has it all together and has their happy ending. Nothing gets them down, nothing can tear them apart, their love is boundless and has no end. They shower each other with love and affection at all times, under all circumstances. They never fight, they never fail, they never have hard times or struggles.
I don’t know who they are, but we get mistaken for this couple time and time again. Comments on Facebook say we’re an inspiration. Friends ask how we can still be this in love after “all these years” (its been 7). Still others want to know how they can end up just like us one day. People think that we are this perfect example to look up to, a Unicorn Couple. Really we don’t have it all together either. We may not air our frustrations on Facebook or at family gatherings, but that doesn’t mean that we get it right all the time.
When J and I met, neither of us knew what we were getting into. We worked at the same place (and she worked with my mom in a different department than me) and had seen each other from afar. I was not out yet, she had pictures of Kelly Clarkson all over her desk. I had just turned 21, she was 28. We had mutual friends, but our circles never really intertwined. The first time we hung out together was New Years’ 2008, which was the start of our story. Like all new love, sparks flew, passions were high, and we couldn’t stay away from each other. We fell prey to U-Hauling and moved in together within 6 months of officially becoming a couple. By the time we’d been dating a year, we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but same-sex marriage wasn’t an option in most of the country yet. We planned to elope to Canada to get married, but then we both got laid off and had no money to make that dream a reality.
We’d been together three years when we decided that we would start trying to have a baby, resolving that we’d get married someday. The original plan was that I would be the only one carrying, but J decided she wanted to experience it after all and so she went first since she was older. We tried for about a year before finally moving over to the RE’s office. In April 2012, we were finally able to afford to get married, as we had to fly out of state, pay fees to have the paperwork filed by proxy, etc. We were married in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2012 in a private ceremony, just the two of us and our officiant. It was not ideal, nor what we’d always dreamed of our wedding being (we wanted the pretty white dresses and the huge reception with our families and friends celebrating with us), but the important thing was that we were legally married and the ceremony we did get to have was beautiful. J got pregnant with Jaxson the following month, and we always say that God was waiting for us to get the order right (love, marriage, baby carriage).
People tell you, and you never really listen, but marriage is tough. Despite being together for four years before tying the knot, things still changed after we became Mrs. and Mrs., especially with having Jaxson right away afterwards. Three years later, I can say we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve struggled and prospered, and we’ve had times of unhappiness and times filled with absolute joy. We’ve had a baby and bought a house and a new car, and we’ve also gone for weeks without having sex. We deal with my chronic illness which has left my paycheck close to $0 sometimes from missing work, but we’ve also been able to afford to go on family trips. We’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve yelled, we’ve slammed doors, but the one thing we’ve never done is stop loving each other.
I can honestly say that I love J with everything I am, under all circumstances. I was raised not to casually date, but to instead date with purpose. When she and I started dating, I could see a future with her. I could see us happily married, with children and the white picket fence in front of our house. She was just trying to have a good time with the cute girl in the next department, but she knew that there was something special about me from the beginning, too. She never thought she’d get married or have kids, but she couldn’t stay away from me, despite trying to talk herself out of pursuing me. Sometimes we have moments when we don’t like each other very much, but we have never ever said or felt that we didn’t love the other.
The other night we were talking about how people ask us: How do we do it? What’s our secret? How do we keep the love alive? The “You’re an inspiration”, “you’re a Unicorn Couple”. Surprise! The love is not the hard part. It’s everything else that life throws at you to test that love, and show how committed you are to your spouse and to solving those problems together. We’ve watched couples young and old around us fall apart. They split up or get divorced, going their separate ways seemingly without a second thought. Sometimes its over irreparably damaging things like cheating or abuse. Other times its over something like one person wanting kids, the other not, which comes as a surprise after the rings are exchanged.
When we got married, we both went into it saying that divorce was not an option. Not “not an option” in that we couldn’t get divorced, but we promised each other that we would literally do every single thing possible to ensure that divorce was not the final answer to any of the inevitable problems we would someday face. We’re not stupid, we’re not naive. We both agreed that we’d always talk about our issues and try to figure them out together. Partners. That’s what we wanted our marriage to be, a partnership, and for that to be true we have to be on the same page.
In our years together before getting married, we talked about everything: having children, where we’d live, what we wanted to do with our lives, where we saw ourselves in 5, 15, 30, 50 years. We knew what we were getting into, we truly knew the person we were marrying, and we talked about the hard subjects ahead of time so we were sure we were on the same page. We got married because we loved each other, yes, but we got married because we knew 100% that the other person was the person that we wanted to build a life with. We started laying the foundation for our life together from day 1 of our relationship, not day 1 of our marriage. There are no unpleasant surprises in our relationship, no “you couldn’t have mentioned that 7 years ago?!” arguments. We do argue and we do fight, but it’s never about something that can’t be fixed with a little work. Like making sure I communicate more often with her about our finances. Or her being mindful of her tone of voice when she’s offering suggestions. Or me making sure the dishes from the dishwasher are clean before putting them away. Or her expressing her feelings better instead of hinting things at me.
Our Facebooks are filled with tons of pictures of Jaxson, of our life, of us. We are still smiling, still enjoying each others’ company, still loving each other. We always say we would have found each other eventually, despite the varying paths our lives could have/should have taken; we truly believe we were meant to be together. I still look at her today and get flutters in my stomach and think to myself just how lucky I am to have found her.
So, what’s the secret? How do we love each other so much after all these years? How can you, too, experience one-of-a-kind Unicorn Love? All that I know is that I love J with all of my heart, and I fight for her and our relationship every single day. Not a day goes by that I take her for granted and I’m thankful every day for the love she’s given me and the life we’ve built together. When we wrote our wedding vows, we wrote words we could live by, and we work every day to keep those vows:
Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most and I will share in your dreams, delight in your joys, and console you in your sorrows. As we travel life’s journey together, I will always try to be understanding and forgiving and sensitive to your needs and feelings. I will be your comfort and support through hardships, and celebrate with you in life’s successes. You are my life; you are my dreams; you are my joy; you are my love; you are my everything. You are my forever.
Loving J is easy. She is my soul-mate and my best friend, the one person I know I’ll always have by my side, forever and ever. She is beautiful and smart and funny and driven. She is the constant in the chaos of life, my life-raft in stormy seas. I trust her implicitly and value her immeasurably. And I know that whatever life throws at us, we can overcome it together.
So when people call us a Unicorn Couple, maybe that’s what makes us so inspiring: We’re just two normal girls 100% committed to each other, and to building a marriage, a life, and a family that can weather any storm. We may not have it all, but we definitely have the love.
Today is our third wedding anniversary. It’s felt like a lifetime already, but I know we are just beginning and there is so much more in store for us. This past year in particular has been really rough on us: We’ve struggled with poor self-esteem and feeling unattractive to each other (and all the issues that go along with that), health issues, balancing work and Jaxson and finding enough time for ourselves at the end of the day, dealing with the struggle of trying to get pregnant (and paying for it), and of course stressing about money (or lack thereof) for all of the crazy expenses that come with owning a house and pets. It’s been a hard year, for sure, but I’m looking forward to next year being much, much better.
Happy Anniversary, my love! Here’s to many more magical years together; I can’t wait to see what comes next, and I’m glad I’ll be seeing it with you. ❤
Our Wedding Day
Three Years Later