This week we celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary and in the lead up, I have been thinking about marriage so I thought I would share my thoughts for anybody who is interested. Obviously, if you’re not interested, feel free to leave.
Before we got married, we attended a marriage preparation course and at the end of it we had a meeting with our priest. He posed an interesting question to us;
‘Who do you put first? Yourselves or your children?’
‘The children!’ I answered, quick as a flash. This was back in the day when I thought everything would revolve around the kids, that they would never behave badly and I also thought for some reason, that they would eat aubergines. HAHAHA. Don’t worry, I hate past me too; she was an idiot. Or maybe that’s a little harsh, I think she was just full of hope and was totally blinkered to the realities of having children and life in general. Let’s cut past me a little slack.
‘No,’ he said ‘you need to put your marriage first because that is the foundation and if that is crumbling, then everything else will fall down.’
‘Oh’ I said, feeling a bit sheepish.
But how right he was and it is something that we have had to learn to do over the years because make no mistake, marriage IS work, you HAVE to work at it and sometimes putting your marriage first can be difficult with everything else going on in life. It isn’t that Disney image of getting married and going off in your carriage to your Happily Ever After.
I don’t mean that you have to go out for a romantic dinner every week with champagne and flowers (though that would be nice and I wouldn’t say no if we had the money). It is the little things; the odd text here or there to show that you’re thinking of them; cooking a meal and eating together child free (haha easier said than done!) at the table, not slumped in front of the tv; slumping but cuddled up in front of the tv together when exhausted and conversation is just too hard; non sexual physical touch (this is just as important as sex! All the men are shaking their heads); saying thank you for every day things like bringing milk in without having to be asked or bringing chocolate when they know you have PMT (David is really good at this, I think he’s tracking me… bit weird maybe); making each other a cup of tea or a G&T when you can see it’s needed; the list goes on and everybody has their own small things they do for each other. Because whilst life is wonderful and we have a lot to be grateful for, it can sometimes be very mundane and your relationship can get buried under work; raising children; paying bills; doing STUFF for other people; taking the kids to extra curricular activities and on and on it goes, so it’s important to snatch those little moments with your partner; to make each other feel loved and appreciated.
As I have looked back over the last ten years, we have faced a lot as a couple; financial hardship; death of a parent; emigration; re-patriation; mental health issues; physical health issues; caring for a parent with ill health; a stressful job with a lot of absence from home which also equals a lot of solo parenting and last but certainly not least, raising three human beings! Do not underestimate what hard work parenting is, having children is a truly wonderful blessing and one that has brought more joy than I could ever have anticipated but equally it is hard, those miniature versions of you know how to push your buttons like nobody else! But somehow we keep surviving and loving, and I think it is because of the little moments we take for each other.
I thought I would end with a quote by Albert Camus that our priest read at our wedding which has stuck with us over the last ten years.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Happy Anniversary my friend, here’s to the next ten. X