Thoughts on the Fourteenth: As a Newlywed


I don’t want to bore you with another cheesy marriage post. I don’t want to fool you with the thought that my marriage is flawless; it is not by any means perfect. Let’s talk about marriage…for real. Yours may…yours will…look different, because you have two very different hearts from us that are bonding. But, what I do know, is that I am so exhausted of the lingering doubts caused by false beliefs and staged perfections–telling me that what we (the Kims) have is not enough.

When we were engaged, people loved to ask _what are you looking forward to most about your wedding? _And my answer was always hard to find, because the wedding just seemed like the cherry on top. What I was most excited about was the morning after the wedding, waking up for the first time in Will’s arms. No more holding my hand until I fell asleep, laying on the floor next to my bed (don’t judge, we’re in love), and sneaking away in the wee hours of the night. The man that taught me safety and that offered me security is finally mine to snuggle for 6-8 uninterrupted hours.

My answer is still the same–_what’s your favorite part of marriage,_ you may ask…and if you don’t, I’m still happy to share. I absolutely love waking up in Will’s arms. In fact, if I ever sense he has turned his back toward me or that his arms aren’t wrapped around me throughout the night, I wake him up to make him hold me. Yup, we love each other.

But some mornings, the mornings where we have time to linger and lounge, I turn towards my bedside table, still resting in my Will’s arms, and grab my phone, and start scrolling through people’s lives via Instagram. Suddenly, the night’s embrace isn’t enough to satisfy…they went on a trip to San Fran? We could never afford that…He made her breakfast in bed? That would never happen here…he bought her what? I wish Will bought me more…

Random acts of greatness pale in comparison to habitual acts of faithfulness.
-Ann Voskamp

Yes, folks. Comparison is a trap, even in marriage. The incessant need for _more. _That thief comes and blinds me to my husband’s sacrifice–that he chose me, _after _I had adopted my 16 year old brother. He wakes up at 6am every single morning to take our “brotherson” (as we like to call him) to school. He fills up my gas tank and does wood work when I’m convinced that wires hanging over our fireplace is ruining the look of our entire house. He uses his birthday money to make sure my tires are safe, and he does the dishes when he knows my pregnant body can’t stand another ten minutes.


And we lack in the area of perfection. I entered marriage with this set of idyllic expectations: all the dates we were going to go on, all the mini-moons that would take place, all the hours of praying together that would put us on the path of being “that” couple. You know, “that” couple that everyone wants to be like? “That” couple that has mentees knocking at their door and friends swooning over their bond…

But we aren’t them. We’re the Kims. And our story is different than most newlyweds; we’ve chosen a path of hard sacrifices and big choices. And an unexpected baby, and a move, and setting curfews, and finding a sitter, and job changes, and evaluating dreams, all in our six short months of becoming one.

And sometimes when the dreams I have are crushed by comparison, even the small ones of…wishing Will would wake me up in the middle of the night with a surprise trip to a romantic city…I sink, quickly, into a pit of despair…because sometimes, I do see other newlyweds being able to do this and that and those special things that I thought were non-negotiable in marriage. And I have to remind myself that, instead of waking me up in the middle of the night with sweet whispers, I was waking him up with long and loud wails because the leg cramps of pregnancy that make me think I’m going to die (think I’m being dramatic? Ohhh just you wait…the struggle is real). He silently giggles and rubs the cramps out, at 1, 2, 3am, even when he wakes up the next morning at 4 to start his workday.

Our first Feb. fourteen is quickly approaching, and my love language is the one no one likes to admit having…gifts. Yup, I want presents all the time. Small, big…whatever. Just a present to let me know you love me. I want to feel special and be doted on in magnificent ways, maybe, secretly, even just so I can get that “awe…“ from my admirers (aka followers). And then I can respond, “I know! Isn’t he the best!” 

NO! The best is the guy that babysits a little boy fresh out of the system with me so his mom can keep a job. The best is the guy that unclogs the toilet and laughs at my jokes. The best is the guy that runs to Yogurtland at 11pm because our baby (in my belly) needs it. This is the undocumented, daily, thankless, faithfulness that I receive. This Valentine’s Day, our first Valentine’s Day as the Kims, I want to celebrate that faithfulness. Maybe the sweet fourteen isn’t about me, but about us, and about him, and about how I can celebrate the gift of him.

So I go to sleep, again, remembering that resting in his arms is still enough. And try to remind myself that the best moments aren’t the moments of perfectly staged sweetness, but of the treasures and gems we find in the battles where we fight for and with each other on a daily basis.

Photos by Kevin Rogers

Sally Kim

Sally is a wife to one and momma bird to five-it’s a good story. Well crafted Vanilla Lattes and gram-worthy coffee shops are her love language. When not mommying, you can find her editing for her client friends or writing on her blog, Letters From A Mister.