He kissed me on the cheek, a sweet, quick gesture he thought I didn't notice.
It was the middle of the night, and I had been asleep for hours. My husband was just coming to bed after staying up late to play video games. He thought I was asleep, but I awoke just enough to note the kiss, to feel the sweet, secret gesture of love before he groggily turned to his side of the bed and fell asleep.
To an outsider, it would've been no big deal. It certainly isn't the Instagram-worthy moment of romance we all think of. It wasn't a grand, flashy gesture for all to see. It wasn't a shouting from the rooftops of who we are and how much he loves me. It wasn't a status update or a public gesture of romance.
It was a simple, sweet, stolen kiss on the cheek in the middle of the night when no one was around.
But to me... it meant everything.
To me, it was a reminder that our love isn't for show. It isn't some flashy candlelit dinner or dozens of roses on a whim. It isn't a trip to a romantic paradise or overt displays of passion.
Our love is a genuine, deep kind of connection and an unconditional concern we hold for each other. That kiss reminded me that he truly loves me, not because it's what married people do but because it's who we are together. It was a simple gesture, but a gesture that said so much... because it was for no one but us.
In truth, that kiss symbolizes who we are as a couple. We are a couple based on simple love, deep friendship, and the understanding we are a team.
Our love is a heartfelt connection, a knowledge that we're better and complete together. It's his strong arms holding me when I'm ugly sobbing about an injustice. It's our simultaneous laugh at the same humorous moment that no one else thinks is funny. It's our small habits and routines that make us who we are. It's the way we laugh about the cat being in the way every night at bedtime and the way he says "I love you" before going to sleep, even if we're pissed.
Our love is listening to each other vent and helping each other overcome. It's about chasing dreams individually but always together. Our love is communicating with the raising of an eyebrow or a single look.
Our love is a surprise chocolate when he knows I'm having a bad day or a listening ear when he's frustrated by someone. It's pizza on Valentine's Day and inside jokes. It's walking our mastiff on a Saturday night and lounging in sweatpants on our date night in. It's eating appetizers while watching HBO instead of going out. It's a fast food restaurant and a bouquet of wildflowers for a special occasion. It's a random trip to a consignment shop on a snowy winter night in our hometown. It's a walk hand-in-hand to a local shop for breakfast, my hair a mess and my clothes wrinkled.
Our love isn't flashy and obvious. It isn't the kind of sweep-you-off-your-feet, once-in-a-lifetime dates kind of thing you'd see on The Bachelorette or another reality show about love. It isn't this in-your-face, traditionally romantic thing.
But over the years, I've come to realize the beauty in that. I've come to realize how much I like our love story and the fact it isn't the traditional, obvious sort of thing.
Our love is a sweet, simple kiss on the cheek when no one else is watching--and I wouldn't have it any other way.