There are moments that stick out when you love someone…and these aren’t always the big moments, the momentous moments, the most tender moments even. These are the moments that catch you by surprise. That show a person’s true character underneath it all.

My husband and I have THAT story – I’m his princess, and he, my prince. Feel free to roll your eyes at any point. I won’t hold it against you. Just bear with me if you can . . . An undying romantic, I had always wanted to find that epic love, that person. And as any good romantic, I was willing to not find it as well. Be the ever searching soul if need be.

I knew for a fact that my sloppy first kiss as a teenager could not be what poets wrote about. I knew I might have to kiss a lot of frogs and other princes before finding the right one. I knew I was going to have a career, find myself, travel the world, and probably meet this person in my 30’s – then I would be fulfilled and ready. I knew I would fight for love. What I did not know is that fate always get to have its fun along the way.

The perfect relationship is not always perfect. I found my great love at barely 20 years old, and it suffered the hardships of moving from a fun university life to the real world. We faced tribulations of him getting his face beaten to a pulp and many plates, screws, surgeries. Of me nearly dying in a bus accident, and temporarily losing my ability to store long-term memory like in 50 First Dates. We continually faced visa challenges, as apparently being from two different countries in another country is something the world tries to make as hard as possible. We faced great family drama, personal crises, depression over jobs, bad decisions, huge career changes, destructively destroying fights.

We also found support and a deep love in each other. Passion, energy, laughter, intelligent discussions and arguments. He is a true gentleman, like I’d always dreamed. We shared many values, and some we grew together. He never wanted to get married – until he heard what I thought about marriage, and decided that we would make it our own. We travel, have great adventures, incredible friends in our lives.

In this miasma, you want to know the first thing I thought about when I was thinking of love? I thought about him cleaning my fish for me while his meal got cold. I had just met his father, who I had been told was a notorious stickler for manners. Being from the desert, I had never been served a whole fish before. I had a minor panic attack trying to figure out even how to begin, secretly trying to look at others. Without a word or hesitation, he grabbed my plate and saved me. I was so relieved I nearly cried.

My thoughts then turned to the time a bee managed to viscously sting me in the middle of the night. In our flat in London. In the winter. For some reason, stuff like this always happens to me. I started shrieking, then crying, then trying not to pass out. My prince initially flailed around with sleepy eyes trying to find what foe to slay. He has this amazing presence of mind in a crisis, which he then put into full force. He found the naughty culprit. A cool cloth appeared in his hand. He magically procured tweezers to scrape away the stinger. I had actually lost those tweezers a week before. A Disney Band-Aid and ibuprofen was conjured. Chamomile tea to lure me back to calm. He held me, but not too close. I was a wounded animal, after all. He gently stroked my back until I fell into sleep. I slid even further in love with him that night.

These are the moments that count. That stick out. Love bleeds through when you least expect it. The grand gestures and delightfully perfect moments are wonderful, the bad moments, those times you are nearly through, will test and hone you, but it’s these little moments of love that define relationships. They define people. They make life worth living.

“Little Moments” was written by Ashlee Renz-Hotz.

Ashlee Renz-Hotz is an author, screenwriter, and creator in film and theatre. She grew up in the lush deserts of New Mexico, before taking off to study and discover the world. She now resides in New York City, though can often be found skipping through other lands. Her blood is made out of equal parts green chile and chocolate, with a splash of prosecco.

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