real paris love, not the perfect marriage

so here the honest truth.
being married is hard.
i feel, at times, mystified by the couples out there who seem to be perfectly matched.
when they pipe up saying that they married their best friend.
i don't know how to relate to it.
my husband is cute and sometimes funny and a hard worker and determined and sometimes doesn't like what i like and really organized and a little fancier than me and a bit perfectionistic and very active and super snuggly and sometimes hurting and so incredibly loving to our kids and at times tries to be thoughtful to me and sometimes he's my friend and sometimes he's not so much my friend.

if you asked him, he'd probably tell you that i am creative and messy, and full of ideas that many times don't make sense, and emotional and well intentioned and confusing and trying to do what i should and sometimes shy and not affectionate enough with him and in my own head a lot and talking frequently about heaven and "things that aren't here" and putting a great deal of my everyday effort into mothering and sometimes a woman he likes and sometimes a woman that frustrates him.

i love him so much and i am also hurt by him at times.
too often we are caught up in our jobs and forget how to be kind.
too often we just look out for our own interests in the giant mess.
we hurt each other.
it makes us both lonely sometimes, i think.

so there we are.
a very imperfect couple goes to paris.
it was beautiful.
i thought i'd have a little time on my own, but i was wrong.
we were together every minute.
and it turned out just right.
paris has few temptations to lure innocent mountain bikers away from wives.
and i didn't feel super confident on my own anyway (didn't want to get lost)
so we explored every place we could together.
he really wanted to see the louvre and Notre Dame.
i wanted to find some macaroons and this little antique shop i read about here.
we walked and walked.
i climbed the stairs of the Eiffel tower for him.
he walked BACK to the antique shop with cash for a painting for me.
we stopped for coffee whenever he wanted 
he took me to the flower stands and let me take pictures while he bought the tulips.
on this trip, we were friends.
and i think that i will have the memory and hopefulness of that in my heart for the days ahead that may not always be as "friendly"
life does go on.
and we are not on paris time anymore.
but i want to keep these photographs in my line of vision as much as i can.
and remember the gift of paris.

(there's a part of me that wanted to sum this whole thing up with a lesson. 
like giving your marriage over to the Lord.
or promising that Jesus has is all in his hands.
and while those ideas are true and helpful at times, i am not as much a teacher as i am someone who wants to share as much as i can and be as open as i can without violating another's trust, in the name of freeing anyone who has similar feelings and wants to feel not as alone.
thats why i'm sharing this personal business and that is also why i'm not trying to bring it all to a perfect synopsis. so, there you go. these photographs are the way that i personally deal with my feelings right now. and i assume i will have more to say as my life goes on.)



  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You read my mind and my heart! Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest- You're the best!

  2. i love this, shauna. such a great synopsis of the perfect "regular" marriage. our husbands sound a lot alike. he's super cuddly and affectionate and i'm just not quite so much. but that's ok. we make it work. we're different, but have the same goals. we're good. it's good.

    thanks for your transparancy.

  3. This is really one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
    It is so very, deeply, true.
    Marriage is hard.
    My husband is my best friend--I like to be with him more than anyone else.
    But, like all friends, sometimes he annoys me.
    Or hurts me.
    He's hurt me a lot.
    Or I just want to be by myself.
    And that hurts him.
    But I need space.
    We've been married nearly 14 years and are still figuring that out.
    I just love the forthrightness with which you speak about this.
    It touched me and blessed me.
    I cried as I read it and cried again as I looked at your pictures.
    What a swwet gift God gave you in Paris.
    You really can look back at those pictures and say, "We'll always have Paris!"
    In the best way, of course.
    Anyway, now I'm rambling and writing as ridiculously long comment.
    I'll stop.
    Thank you for blessing me.
    Love from,
    And seriously, those pictures are amazing.

  4. Very. good. stuff.

    Thanks, Shauna.

  5. Beautiful pictures, beautiful post, beautiful honesty. Thanks for sharing your heart, friend.

  6. Shauna, I can honestly say that this is one of your best posts, EVER. Your honesty and raw emotion is so freeing. There are so many bloggers out there that constantly drive home the fact that everything is so very perfect in their marriage or motherhood is so easy or how there homes never have a thing out of place...Thank you for putting it out all out there and making me feel better about myself this morning!!! Blessings to you and your beautiful family. ~rose

  7. thank you for being so real and vulnerable about marriage, shauna (something that's really really hard to be real and vulnerable about!). i love your blog the most out of all i follow - it just oozes with inspiration! but sometimes i feel like, 'jeeze, is her life really as awesome and ideal as it looks??' i know you say it isn't. but this post REALLY says it isn't. now i find your blog not only inspirational, but entirely relatable, too. keep rockin' it. : )

  8. Thank you so very much for putting this out there and being so open and honest. More of us than you probably think feel the exact same way as you do about our marriages. I did not marry my perfect match. And it's a struggle at times. We are very much opposite on so many levels. And it's work. And it's hard. And it's worth it.

    You rock, my friend.

  9. Love this post! Beautiful photos. I dream of going to Paris. Loved your honesty, marriage is work. But I do agree it is worth it!

  10. LOVE this! Thanks, Shauna, for the encouragement to all of us in "real" marriages. :)

  11. I am really thankful that you shared this. I feel like a lot of what you described was scooter and me. Your pictures were all amazing!!!

  12. The beauty of the struggle. This piece is one of the prettiest word pictures about the submission and growth that takes place in a real, thriving, growing marriage.

  13. What a wonderfully perfect post about imperfection. BE-A-U-TIFUL photos!!!!!!!

  14. This is truly amazing on so many levels.
    It totally made sense to me, and it made me wonder how many other people NEED to read this today.
    Thank you, Shauna.
    Looking forward to more of your thoughts and your pictures from your trip.

  15. i have clung to the words my wise mother-in-law gave me at my bridal shower.
    love is a choice, not a feeling.
    and i can guarantee you, i have not 'felt' like loving, A LOT.
    but my point is that it is such a blessing to see you rely on the Lord during the not so loveable times, and continue to trust Him, and grow in His grace and knowledge, because He is enough.
    thanks for sharing your vulnerability today, and for teaching us a good lesson about not giving up when things aren't always perfect.

    ps. i think i am going to be mortified when all of my kids are grown up and it's just 'us'{just because my life is SO about all the kids all the time!}. is that weird? did you feel like that in paris?

  16. marriage is hard.
    hard work.
    and a trip together.....after the babies....for a long time....is a wonderful thing.
    i am so glad you went.
    so glad you put marriage first....even if you didn't know you were doing it.
    i love what you wrote.
    it's not a fairy tale...it's work.
    and completely worth it.

  17. Shauna,

    I just stumbled onto your blog today (via Jones Design Company, to see the wavy hair tutorial [and I love it by the way]). I can't begin to tell you how much I needed to hear [read] something like this today. Marriage is difficult. Mine is still young. We are still young, with so much life ahead of us. My husband and I are in the middle of "figuring some things out" and I know it will take time and I know GOD has a plan for each of us, but that doesn't always take away the uncertainty of "now". We want solutions, and we want them "yesterday". You don't have the answers I (or many more) are looking for--and you don't have to. Just being honest, open and just plain truthful has meant more to me in the past 15 minutes of perusing your blog than you may ever know.

    Thank you.

  18. thanks Shauna for putting that out there, being open and honest.
    Life is not all roses and fairytales that's for sure. NObody has a perfect
    marriage and I mean NOBODY! my husband and I get along great and rarely fight,
    but we have those times, where we feel a little disconnected and then need to
    make our way back to each other and make an effort to put more time into our marriage.
    you are right, marriage is HARD, it's a struggle, but one that is worth it in the end!
    thanks for being vulnerable, too often we all (me included) only put the sunshine roses stuff out
    there for people to see and that can make others feel inadequate. I tend to not share about personal stuff too often anymore because my girls read my blog now (they are 10.5 and 12) and they would be mad if I shared anything too personal! I should make a personal blog just for me! lol
    thanks again for sharing!
    and keep working on your marriage, it's sooooo worth it!
    just get those pictures blown up and put REMEMBER PARIS over them!

  19. oh girl. I love this post. I love how I was right on every word nodding in agreement and knowing everything you said I have felt too.

    Marriage is a journey. A test of wills. A completely perplexing adventure that sometimes asks the question "Who IS this person, I thought I knew!?" I love how you were able to be buddies on this completely dreamy trip to Paris - and while it is a cliche - I know it to be true - "We'll always have Paris". How special is it that the two of you have a tangible memory that filled every one of your senses to remember your friendship and commitment to a lifetime together.

    Thanks for being vulnerable and for taking fabulous photos of my favorite place on the planet...... xoxo

  20. All I can say is I LOVE THIS POST! Your honesty is so raw...and so what so many women want to say but don't feel they can. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Oh girl, I feel like I just had a free therapy session, a much needed one. And reading all the comments was like have coffee with a bunch of friends and letting it all hang out!
    Marriage is hard. I thought it would be easier. Not being on the same page, having different dreams, wanting different things, but loving each other more than anything. It's worth it isn't it? Love the pictures too, thank you so much for sharing.

  22. you are a good writer.
    and a good picture taker.
    and i really love this post.
    and who has all the answers anyway.

  23. shauna, just discovered your blog and I love it! thank you for sharing!!

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am doing my morning blog reading and just saw some beautiful house in a "home tour" and how lovely she and her children and home are and I am sitting in my messy living room thinking, "screw you pretty house"...lol. And then I stopped here and read this and thought, "thank you, thank you for feeling that too". Marriage is hard and it isn't perfect. And I am sooo glad to read I am not the only one who thinks he is my best friend one day and really don't want to talk to him the next...lol. God Bless you and your honesty! And hello, beautiful pictures of Paris...(and you guys do make a pretty darn cute couple)...lol.

  25. Shauna. This was amazing. Just what I needed to hear. I am so appreciative of your ability to write it, your willingness to post it, and your being comfortable with your own skill enough to not wrap it all up with some advice. It was just perfect. Thanks!

  26. Thanks for sharing! This was a great vulnerable post and those are always my favorites (especially from you!). The beauty of this covenant relationship of marriage is that when we're intentional to love each other well...there is always good fruit that comes if it. This post challenged me to make some plans to get away with my hubs and be intentional with him...I could use some lovely fruit in my marriage. : )

  27. I loved all your Paris pics. So dreamy. This is a great post. Also, I have recently become a mountain biking widow. who knew this hobby could take so much time, it kinda stinks ;)

  28. i had to think about this one for a while before i commented. i LOVE this post so much, shauna. and the other thing that i love is that you were open enough to share this and probably wondered if you should and then you get so many comments from people that know just how you feel and are thankful you were honest, so they could be, too. ummm....not as affectionate? creative and messy? in your head too much? seriously, are you talking about ME? ; ) i love my husband to pieces but he is not my best friend. he is my partner and my spouse and i am so happy i am married to him but my best friend's name is tara and we have been friends since 7th grade. sometimes i feel like everyone else is married tot heir best friend but me. anyway, i loved seeing your pictures here on a bigger scale and love all of your words too and am thankful that somehow i found you out here in this big, crazy online world.

  29. I can relate, Shauna. It does seem like I look around and everyone seems to be married to their "best friend", sharing all the same interests and joys in life, and my marriage feels mostly like... work. The friend thing has just never come naturally. So we trust that God always gives us His best, and count it as very good work. We've actually been doing some counseling with an older couple lately, not because we're in trouble, but just because it helps to talk through things with a (knowledgeable) third party. So many things we assume about each other, so much we don't know even after years of marriage. I highly recommend it. Anyway, thanks for being so open. cailan

  30. i love your photography! what do you use to edit your images?! are you a photoshop girl or lightroom??

  31. wow... i can so relate to this post.
    my husband and i are two weeks away from a child free vacation to italy/switzerland.
    we never go away alone.
    at least not since our first was born, over 8 years ago.
    that's a long time to not have "alone" time, no?
    anyway, i'm super excited... but also a tad nervous.
    will we get along?
    will we be able to find that we still enjoy one another's company.
    i mean, i know we do... i know we love one another immensely... but it's nice to know we don't always have it together...
    and that others are in the same boat.
    there's not always times where we get along.
    we fight... we make up... we ignore one another... we annoy one another... and we love.
    we're committed always, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
    so thanks for sharing your heart... and your wonderful photos.
    i hope our trip is equally dreamy and can have some wonderful memories to lead us through the tough times that are sure to come.
    (don't they always come?!)
    thanks dear!

  32. shauna.
    that last little bit, it's for me.

    grateful for your story and your sharing it. i love you.