What No One Tells You About Marriage [the One Thing]

There is something
no one tells you
while the guests are still there,
while the cake watches,
while the rings still feel
like something stuck between
your teeth.

What that thing is,
what no one tells you,
(during the toasts or the speeches
or the dancing)
is that you will need to
say those two words
and again

and again.

The preacher makes it sound
like it’s once-and-done,
but it’s

After the first fight,
for example,
the one that catches you
off guard,
you will have to say those two words,
and again after the twenty-seventh
argument about the same thing,
your tone, maybe,
or the smallest rolling
of the eyes.

And again
after the one hundred
and fifth
when you’re sitting on the floor
of your office
in despair
and she is in the room
or despairing, too,
over things you cannot name
and never could have foreseen.

And again
this time gladly
on nights when your hands
under the covers, live wires,
or when your child leaves
the room, and you
smile at each other with joy
there goes the two of you
and so much more
in one body.

Shawn Smucker
Shawn Smucker
Shawn is the author of the book The Day the Angels Fell, a middle-grade adventure tale that asks the question, “Could it be possible that death is a gift?” He has also co-written numerous non-fiction books and lives in the city of Lancaster, PA, with his wife and their six children. He blogs regularly about family, faith, and city-living at shawnsmucker.com.

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