I am married.

A year later...and I still can't believe it. Though I've already touched on my shock that I got married - in the wake of my year anniversary...I feel the need to revisit the world-shaking, eye-opening event that has been my first year of marriage. In the grand tradition of my best friend Emily Gray and list of facts in celebration of major events (mostly birthdays - this is one of her best)...here is a list of the things I've learned, discovered or realized during my first full year as Leah Armstrong.

1. You don't ever have to grow up. I realize most of my family members are rolling their eyes at this point - but this discovery has been one of the most liberating of my life. I am already an unwilling grown-up - but now realize I only have to be so in age. Being married doesn't change any of my child-like attitude, qualities or desires - in fact, all it has done is given me a partner in crime, ice cream and Saturday morning cartoons. I feel as if I've seen the man behind the curtain - and he's still wearing his pajamas, eating ice cream for breakfast.

2. Being married isn't magic. When it comes to marriage - there is no secret formula or magic ingredient. It's simply two people being as honest, vulnerable and loving as they can that day....and hoping the next day they can be a little more of all of the above. Also, being married doesn't magically erase any undesirable qualities in your spouse - but it doesn't magically increase them either.

3. Fighting is a good thing when there's resolution involved. Having the same fight over and over again can be frustrating - but having one good fight that gets everything out in the open and dealt with...it's one of the best feelings in the world. I am a firm believer that most arguments stem from a lack of understanding or communication between two people - and everything I've experienced in the past year has helped strengthen that conclusion. Though I'm not quite sure me getting more firm in my opinions is a good thing.

4. Acceptance is magical. I know I said that being married isn't magical - but the unconditional acceptance that comes from your spouse sure is. I have found myself more motivated to be productive, more encouraged to embark on new adventures and more excited to improve myself than ever before. I almost wholly blame this on my husband's unfailing support and encouragement of me - regardless of what I do (or don't do). Knowing I don't have to perform to earn his love or approval has freed me to be fully myself. And turns out - I like me!

5. You can get everything you want (just make sure you want the right things). I was never one of those girls that wanted their life to look like a fairytale. Refer to me as a princess or my husband as my prince and I'm quite sure you've earned a spot on my "you don't know me" list. But even though I'm no where close to a princess - I do like getting what I want. I always wanted a honest, open, accepting, loving relationship with someone who was as much of a mess of contradictions as I am.
Levi Armstrong is a southern gentleman who loves sports, hunting and working outside. He is also a nerdy braniac who spends most of the money he should be using to buy new socks on books about the brain and neuropsychology. He enjoys laying around watching movies on TV with me all day - but is down for a hike or day on the river whenever the sun is out. He can carry on a conversation with almost anyone - but is just fine with spending hours in quiet at home while he reads his brainy books and I read my not-so-brainy books. He is refined - yet country, irreverent- yet deep, intellectual - yet silly, sweet - yet thick skinned enough to let me nickname him fat face (he sleeps on his face at night and always wakes up with it adorably swollen).
I got it all with him. Everything I wanted, didn't think I would get - but got anyways.

I am married. I am happy. I can only write this kind of post once a year because I'm almost literally nauseous from how sappy it is.

Picture: ...my favorite one.

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