You know those cute little elderly couples you see on the news or social media who dress in matching outfits and are unknowingly photographed doing little things to demonstrate just how much they still love each other after all these years? I used to read about those couples and wonder if it was true. It seemed like over time love would eventually fade away or get lost between deepening wrinkles. It just seemed to make sense that you would probably get to so used to being together that the other person became nothing more than a presence. People grow apart, after all, and there are countless books written and movies made about escaping loveless marriages with boring partners. Could you really could fall in love with someone and stay in love with them for the rest of your life?

The answer is yes.

I know this because in August 2003, I met the man who has proven to me time and time again just how true it is. And today we’ve been married for 9 phenomenal years!

Nikki by example |

My amazing husband, Nick.

Nick and I met during my first few weeks of undergrad at ECU, and our meeting is one of my favorite stories to tell! I had a printer that wasn’t working so I asked for help on the school’s message board. This guy named Nick messaged me to say he could help but he didn’t live on campus so we would have to arrange a time for him to come by my dorm room. We chatted online for a few days and then classes started, all before he had a chance to take a look at the printer. On the first day of biology lab, I walked in and sat at the first table I saw, in a chair next to this cute guy wearing a white MTV t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and red Oakley sunglasses on his head. The TA started taking attendance and called Nick’s name first. I was still trying to figure out why it sounded so familiar when she called my name and the cute guy in the cargo shorts next to me leaned over and whispered, “So, did you get that printer fixed?” I was so surprised that I had unwittingly sat next to the guy I had been chatting with these last few days, but he walked me back to my dorm after class and we’ve practically been together ever since!

Nick and me, in my dorm room. We were two kids who had just met but were already falling in love!

Our 17-year journey wasn’t always the smoothest, but we made it to where we are now, and I’m so incredibly lucky to be able to look at this man every day and know that everything is going to be okay. I look at him and remember everything he was back then, and I appreciate how much he’s grown since (and how much we’ve grown together), and I sincerely look forward to everything he’s still going to become. I look at him every day and love him just a little bit more. I see the gray hair sprouting at his temples and I marvel at how he seems to get more handsome each day. I look at our son and see the same almond-shaped eyes, brown pupils, and love of Legos and cars, and I can’t believe I am so fortunate to share this life with him.

My boys.

Nick has truly been my rock. While he has always supported me through my endeavors–enthusiastically encouraging me to follow my dreams and go to grad school, taking photos of my outfits while I pretended to be a blogger, never getting angry when I moved from job to job because I never quite felt satisfied–it was in the last few years that he really showed how seriously he took the vows we made to each other. He was there to take care of me through my freak heart attack, and then he supported the whole family while I took time off from the work force to heal and bond with Sebastian. And even now he does his very best to ground me when my anxiety and PTSD beat me into an emotional and irrational mess. Look, if I’m the glue that holds this family together then he’s the synthetic polymers that make up that glue. And I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

True love.

So, to my partner, lover, companion, and friend; my greatest ally, my biggest fan, and my toughest critic; my comrade in adventure and my accomplice in mischief: after all these 9+ years, I still vow to laugh with you in joy, to be your comfort in sorrow, and to turn to you in my times of need. I promise to continue to grow with you, to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, and to love, respect, and cherish you through the rest of our days.

I love you more now than ever and I’m so happy to still be on this wild ride with you.

And I can’t wait for us to be one of those cute little old couples who wear matching outfits!

Happy anniversary!