My husband and I are going through a pretty stressful time. He’s just retired from the Air Force, took a new job in a different state, and is leaving this Sunday to go down there and start work while our kiddos and I stay behind to finish school and sell our home. All with a looming deadline on a story coming due, fixing the house up to get it ready to go on the market next week, and kids in their sports. Oh! And our oldest is getting married in four weeks, too!

Yeah. Our stress levels might be a bit high. Just a bit.

And while I LOVE writing romantic comedies because you get to crack jokes, take characters to the brink and bring them back—through a comedy of errors—and play around with them, they’re still fictitious people. In real life? Oh man. It’s hard to find the romance sometimes. Especially in times of serious stress.

This post? It’s an ode to my real-life romance.

Donkey (my husband’s call sign, named after the character Donkey in Shrek, because it isn’t getting him to talk that’s the problem, it’s getting him to be quiet) has done so much in the past week since accepting the out-of-state job and knowing we need to get the house on the market. So much, in fact, that he’s fallen into bed each night utterly exhausted. He even woke up at 5:30 this morning to take our daughter to her early-morning skating practice. And tonight, our Realtor told us that we had a good start but we still have a lot of work to do, including clearing out some large furniture to make our large home look even larger.

It’s stressful.

It’s frustrating.

It’s daunting.

And through it all, the romance is shining in our relationship. I see it in the way he drove around the city today grabbing supplies, reserving a storage unit to house some boxes until we move, in changing the lightbulbs, painting the master bathroom, and leaning over for a kiss while handing our kids dinner. I see it in the way he’s worried about leaving me this weekend if we aren’t able to finish doing everything our Realtor asked us to do to ensure the house is ready for pictures in one week. I see it in the way he’s doing my house chores while I’m at work during the day. I see it in the way he quietly prays for us.

Our life is definitely not a fictitious work. It’s real. It’s gritty. And yes…it can be a complete comedy. Because my husband is hilarious. But I’m funnier. That’s what I tell him, anyway. Even better, it IS a romance. It may not read like the books, but it’s true, deep, and so, so beautiful. (Even if he makes me roll my eyes with his dad jokes.)

I love romance. I love hearing about romance. I love reading about romance. I love living a romance. It took many, many years before I found my romance, but it was worth the wait. And it’s worth even the stress of selling a home and moving to yet another new state.

What is your favorite romance story?

Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast, and proud military wife. By day, she works as an administrative assistant for an international ministry, serves in her church’s library, runs her kids to all their sports, and drinks lots of coffee. By night, she talks to figments of her imagination as she attempts to write while dinner is burning. And drinks lots of coffee. When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Mikal now lives in Nebraska with her husband, their three children, and one ferocious feline. Connect with Mikal on mikaldawn.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.