This week on 23rd April marked my silver wedding anniversary, 25 years of marriage and still standing.
I know its totally cliched but I really do not know where the time has gone, I mean 25 years sounds a long time and we have done lots in that time, but it does feel as though it has shot past us in the blink of an eye.
So how did we celebrate and mark this momentous occasion. Well our eldest also turned 21 recently so we decided a little while ago that we would combine the 2 occasions and have a family trip away in Dublin. Somewhere we all have wanted to visit but I really wanted the boys to be of legal drinking age before we went so we could all participate in all the typical touristy things. We chose to do this instead of having parties as we have rarely been able to afford to take the boys on holidays while they were growing up and we thought this would be money well spent as an experience rather than a party.
Therefore, the actual day on our anniversary was a quiet, chilled affair. My youngest was at school all day and then went to work and my eldest was revising for his impending exams for uni. So we knew we had the day to ourselves…………so what did we do? We booked into the Flashback cinema to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen as its one of our all time favourite classic films!! I bet you wasn’t expecting that little bundle of excitement.
I also had a beautiful bouquet of roses , something my husband does every year and a rose is added for every single year we are married………so obviously 25 roses for 25 years this year. This makes me laugh as I can imagine the stress he’s under when handing over more and more money each year, but as he started it when we got married he’s had to continue it.
This year though he did actually surprise me with a gift- we have never done gifts on our anniversary, that’s just how we are and he’s not normally one to do that as a surprise which makes the gift even more precious.
Now obviously I feel lucky to have my marriage last the test of time, but I also feel like its a huge achievement in this day and age too. Do not be under any illusion that it is anything other than hard work! There will be great times, testing times and downright shit times. So I thought I would share my pearls of wisdom on what I have learned in the 29 years we have been together and the 25 years we have been married…………….
** You will not be happy ALL of the time.
Contrary to what the Hollywood films and big budget Sky box sets will have you believe, marriage will not be a bed of roses all of the time. Unlike the films, general everyday life will get in the way of what they portray! Working a stressful job, having children, sleepless nights, dealing with obnoxious teenagers and generally being with the same person for the rest of your life does get, dare I say it…………..BORING! There will be plenty of times you will want to throw the towel in, believe me, but once you realise that it is meant to be worked at, like anything in life, it will have it’s own rewards along the way. Do not be fooled by the ‘perfect’ instagram families living their ‘perfect’ instagram lives that make you feel inadequate or a failure if your relationship if it’s not instagram ‘perfect’. Real life is not easy, it’s messy, it’s conflicting, it’s working out a way that works for your relationship regardless of what anyone else is doing.
** You will clash over lots of things and that’s ok.
As you grow older, or your dynamics change through jobs, having kids, financial issues etc you will clash in opinions. You may even have the screaming at the top of your voices arguments. That’s OK and surprisingly normal! We change as people as we get older, our opinions change, our outlooks change and our priorities change and you might find that you are both singing off different hymn sheets occasionally – again that’s fine as that’s where you learn to both compromise and work out what’s best for both of you. I think accepting the fact that it wont all be plain sailing is half the problem!
** You will at one time or another take each other for granted.
I haven’t met a couple yet who haven’t at one stage or another taken each other for granted. I mean we do not all walk around with that ‘live everyday as though it was your last’ because that just isn’t reality. All of the above things I have mentioned will get in the way. I personally think this is one of the first normalities that creeps into a long term relationship. Yes it’s important to take steps to recognise it and do something about it when it happens but equally you do not need to beat yourself up about it when it rears its head- it’s PERFECTLY NORMAL.
** There will be days where your partner will get on your very last nerve!
Oh God yes I have certainly experienced this and I am sure my husband can absolutely say the same about me! When you have been married or in a relationship for this length of time I guarantee those days where you can pretty much pre empt absolutely every move he will make and every word that will come out of his mouth……………I can vouch for this! My husband is a pretty stable, dependable guy but that comes with me being able to read him like an open book. Some days this can be reassuring if you are in need of grounding in an uncertain or anxious time, but also a source of discontent if you choose to allow it to annoy you and therefore become a problem. Again……….can you hear that?……………that’s the sound of the ‘normal’ klaxon!
** Its OK to not be ‘in’ love all of the time.
Again this stems from what we are fed from films and TV showing what I think to be unattainable levels of being loved up in a long term relationship. Now this could just be me but on conversations I have had with friends I don’t think I am on my own with this. Personally I think it is OK to not be ‘in’ love with your partner every minute of every day, as a long term relationship or marriage will always face issues along the way. You can absolutely love someone without being ‘in’ love with them at that moment. It’s a bit like kids, we absolutely adore and love them over everything else but there are days when you can dislike them because of behaviour etc. To me it’s the same principle. We might have a discussion over an important decision we have to make and voice different opinions and hear things we do not like, or our partner may say things we don’t want to hear or that are hurtful ( and obviously we can do the same to them) and therefore we dislike them at that moment until things are resolved…………..THAT IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM NOT LOVING THEM……….we might just not feel in love with them at the time!
**You will not want to spend every waking hour together.
When you first get together you literally cannot wait to be in that persons company. You want to do everything together, you want to spend every waking moment in each others company……………….believe me that madness will wear very thin! Now don’t get me wrong there probably are those couples who love spending all their time together, however, after over 29 years together I can tell you it’s absolutely heaven when he’s at work ( especially as he works shifts) and I have the remote all to myself and I can watch all the crap I love without him saying ‘ Christ on a bike what is this drivel’! I will confirm though my husband has shit taste in programmes………..if it’s not on the Dave channel he will fall asleep. So my eclectic taste of horror, sci fi, off kilter weird films, zombies and nordic noir’s is not on his radar and I get piece to watch and fully enjoy them when he’s not here! I’m not quite sure how I’m going to cope when he retires from his job, but hey we will deal with that hurdle when it lands on our doorstep!
Equally when he goes in to clear up after dinner ( I know, I know…….he clears up after dinner!) he will think nothing of putting his headphones on blaring his music into his ears and ignoring me while I watch another episode of whatever random programme I am watching at the time! We are in 2 separate rooms doing 2 separate things and we are absolutely fine doing that.
** No one is perfect all of the time.
This definitely goes for me. We would all love to think we are perfect and that all our opinions are right all the time. However, no one is perfect. So try to remember that when we are navigating a long term relationship. No one person can be right about everything every time! I am an extremely difficult person to live with………….. not only do I recognise that but I accept it too. I will be the first person to put my hand up and say I am a complete moody cow and if you catch me in one of those moods you will be lucky to escape with your tail between your legs. But equally that does not excuse someone else’s behaviour either. So as long as you are honest with yourself about your own downfalls you will be more understanding of someone else’s. Being able to say ‘ Yes, OK, fair point’, ‘My bad’ ( as the youth would say) and ‘I’m sorry’ is a great skill to have people!
**Dare I say it………….. you will probably prefer a cuppa and a chunky kitkat over sex!
Yes, yes I know, it’s probably my age and probably just me………….is it just me………now I’m properly wondering?
But y’a know we’ve been together 29 years so it kind of takes a back seat. Lots of reasons for it……age definitely being one of them and hormones being all over the place and your libido does a disappearing act to rival Lord Lucan! But also having older teenagers in and around the house is enough to put anyone off their stride let alone the fact both of us would feel cheated if we are not tucked up and snoring in bed by 10pm.
So ………… is it just me…………….help me out here ladies…………..am I on my own with this one?
Anyway, those are just a few little nuggets of wisdom from a 48 year old woman whose been married for 25 years now and together with her partner for over 29 years.
What I would like to know though, is what have you learnt from a being in a long term relationship – is there something I haven’t mentioned?