Loved this! My wife and I had your kind of marriage. Avoided the big ceremony though. We mostly slept separate, not because there was anything wrong, but because we both slept better that way. We had four kids together and almost never fought about anything. We were best friends, lovers, parents and just two people who chose to do life together.
I’ve been in two relationships with the “marriage changes everything” type since she passed. Neither relationship could withstand the expectations.