Photo by Ahna Ziegler, ARTZ Photography and Design

This is how almost every single car trip with the dearest, darlingest, love of my life husband, begins

“I cannot believe you.”

“What do you mean?” he will respond as he finishes his right turn. The right turn that commits us to twice as many red lights and lower speed limits.

“Why do you always go this way? We’re already late, and it’s added like, ten minutes to the car ride!”

This is when he looks at me with that gaze of utter love and understanding, the look of a man completely in love. He smiles—I love his smile—and this is when he says, “Also, we need to stop for gas.”

I thought I would write about our third year of marriage before we actually got close to the anniversary in July. Anniversaries make everything feel sentimental and important, and right now, I’m more interested in the everydayness in our marriage.

Life, after all, is in the small things. How you handle the chores says more about you in some ways than a memoir ever could. Of course, when we first got married, we insisted (I insisted) that the small things would never trifle us. We would take them in stride, or talk through them, handling each challenge with maturity and understanding.

And then we went on the honeymoon.

By the time we came back, we had learned several things about each other. For instance, in my husband’s view, a wet towel left on the floor is a crime just about worthy of a felony charge. We also learned that while I enjoy many exciting things in life, a morning run is not one of them, and that ecstatic, coach-like encouragements that I could run “just one more mile” will result in something heavy getting thrown at your head—possibly my running shoes.

Things didn’t necessarily ease up. About a year into our marriage, a relative jokingly asked us if we had had our first “knock-down, drag out” yet, and my husband and I looked at each other sheepishly.


“Just one or two,” my husband said, and we both gave a smile that tried not to say “we are lying to you.”

Now we’re nearing the end of year three, and I’m happy to say that while we haven’t quite stopped having conflicts about the small things, we’ve at least stopped feeling ashamed about them.

Like most married couples eventually realize, it is normal to get annoyed with one another. It’s not ideal—no one’s saying that—but no one’s saying that your marriage is going down the tubes because you fought about the laundry yesterday either.

There’s no great judge out there looking for flaws in our marriage, which means—mercifully—that a fight can simply be a fight. It’s over with quickly, we kiss and make-up at the end, and know that things will work out in the long run.

Besides, it’s comforting to think that as much as we annoy each other in a million small ways, it’s also in the small ways that we most show love to each other. I still smile—a true smile, you know the kind—whenever he sends me a text to say “I love you,” and I know what it means to him when we go for a walk at the end of the day and I slip my hand into his.

So this is how most car rides end.

We have an extra ten minutes together, plus another five at the gas station.

We spend this time talking, or listening to rap music—which my husband explains while I think about how white we are—until we finally arrive at wherever we were going.

Fifteen minutes late, but still rocking this marriage thing.

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