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It has been 12 years today. I often laugh when I look at our wedding photos, because we look so….unsuspecting. Smitten. Completely unaware of the challenges that will set themselves before us.

Marriage, I used to think, was about all the things that love was, is, and I wasn’t wrong.

But it’s just as much about the things that love isn’t – the things love can’t be. Can’t do.

Love never fails.

I had it engraved into his ring. To remind him. To remind me. That whatever we face, we should face with hope.

That has been the challenge. Through 12 years of changing seasons. Misunderstandings. Shifts in the dynamic. Ups. Downs. Even when, especially when, the scales have seemed unbalanced.

I’ve gone from being smitten, to being a true admirer of his strength. From watching him be a father figure to an actual Dad. From loving my child, to watching that same daughter become his own.

If there is an unselfish one in this marriage, it isn’t me. I have dreamed and pursued, dreamed and pursued, and he has been content to walk beside me – even behind me – even when he strongly disagreed with my direction.

It’s easy to love someone in the beginning of a relationship. When all things are possible and new and full of potential.

It’s the test of time that refines love. The moments of fear, and disappointment that ultimately decide if it is real.

I believe it is.

I’m not who I was 12 years ago. My own personal changes have been drastic at times. A hard swing in directions I could have never anticipated when we said our vows.

Love has been tested, but it hasn’t failed.

Love has taken some unsuspected twists and turns, but it hasn’t failed.

Love has made us face harsh truths about ourselves, each other, and the life we’ve built. But it hasn’t failed.

It’s not without blemish. Even deep, painful scars. It hasn’t always been romantic, and those looks of doe-eyed optimism have long since faded into the photographs. But the photos remain. And so does the possibility that looks out from the eyes of the man and woman that set out on a journey together, all those years ago.

We have surprised one another. And we have failed one another.

But love hasn’t. It doesn’t. Underneath all of the shifting sands that life can be, love is still the foundation underneath it all.

Love never fails.