Abby's Road: Marriage is love without the make-up

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My cousin had been married less than 24 hours before. I was sitting beside him and noticed he had something on his upper lip. I told him to wipe it off. He looked at his very new wife, standing on his other side, and gently teased her that she needed to tell him that kind of stuff now. She said she hadn’t seen it.

I am sure she hadn’t. A year from now, she will be able to spot it from across a crowded room.

Weddings revel in the romantic side of love. The side of love where thunderclaps measure emotions and soul-mate status is proclaimed. The side of love worth getting dressed up for.

Romantic love doesn’t see imperfections. The errant specimen on an upper lip is either adorable and worth keeping, or it is invisible.

Weddings should celebrate that side of love. It is important to honor the beauty behind a lifelong commitment.

Married love is not always beautiful. It is rarely put on public display. The only rice thrown at married love is the rice that spills out of the takeout container when someone uses chopsticks too aggressively.

Married love senses when someone has done something that would tend to install an errant specimen on a visible surface, and it promptly acknowledges the imperfection. The identification is proof that the partnership is both vital and overwhelming.

Romantic love is plotted on a calendar that ends with jewelry. Married love is a calendar of medical appointments written on a sticky note and posted on the refrigerator.

Romantic love is a dozen roses. Married love is helping each other clean the dozen eggs that cracked on the kitchen floor when you’re supposed to be watching the Super Bowl kickoff.

Romantic love is butterflies in the stomach. Married love is going to the drugstore for Pepto Bismol when someone was too enthusiastic on Taco Tuesday.

Romantic love is staying up all night talking. Married love is jointly looking forward to sitting down together in total silence.

Romantic love is new outfits, full make-up and styled hair. Married love is swapping sweat suits, feeling too tired to shower, and baseball hats.

Romantic love is watching a horror movie as an excuse to be closer together on the couch. Married love is the horror of thinking you don’t know what to do anymore, and then figuring out what to do together.

Romantic love is taking someone by the hand to go somewhere special. Married love is taking someone by the hand to go anywhere.

Romantic love should know that the destination is married love. Married love should remember how the romantic love felt, and why it felt complete.

Our flight to my cousin’s wedding included a short layover. We had several carry-on bags and a Newark terminal to navigate. My husband avoided eye contact with me from take-off to touch down.

That’s because I am an exceedingly anal traveler. I have no patience for anyone else on the plane, including the pilot. I am the fastest terminal walker you’ve ever seen.

It drives my husband nuts.

His philosophy is that everything will be fine. He arrives at the airport with no margin for long lines at security or Starbucks. He takes a walk as soon as the flight attendant looks ready to start the boarding process.

It drives me nuts.

He said nothing as I hustled off the plane and began directing our group to the next gate. Our slow-walking son was threatening my pace, and I tripped over his rolling backpack when I tried to cut around him. It was then I realized that I had left my carry-on bag in the overhead compartment.

We barely had enough time to make the connection as it was.

As soon as I issued a strangled cry about my mistake, my husband ran back in the direction of our arrival gate. The rest of us continued on, planning on holding the next flight until he returned with my bag. He arrived just in time, shiny with sweat. He handed me the bag, kissed my cheek, and hasn’t mentioned the incident since.

It’s the romance of married love.

Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.