Six years ago I turned left at this sign and got married.
I was in my mid twenties, totally in love, ready to commit but of course a bit scared of what ‘for the rest of your life’ would bring.
I’m full of joy to report that we are still together and going stronger than ever. That’s not to say that some times haven’t been tough or rocky, but so far so good. After two kids, one and a half mental breakdowns, a mortgage, the passing of my mum, the passing of his Nonno, job dissatisfaction and satisfaction, chores and a dog, it hasn’t been a fairy tale. It is something better – real love set in reality.
So while I’m lying in my kids’ bottom bunk, pretending to be asleep so they will fall asleep (I’m typing this under the covers on my mobile), I thought I would share six things I’ve learnt from six years of marriage… I apologise now for any typos or poor grammar, again, due to my current circumstances 😉
1. Two TVs in the same household is a must if you want to keep the peace. Get Foxtel and Netflix too. This way you won’t be forced to watch sport 24/7 and you’ll get to Keep up with the Kardashians and the Proudmans from Offspring. Hey, I’m happy to watch sport now and again, but not every night. Once you become parents it is a bit tricker to get out in the evenings so TV time becomes even more important.
2. Marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. Take this how you want, it works on many levels. A simple example is how we all have our own standards on how we run a household. It took us a few years to work out a happy middle ground. I realised we both have our strengths and weaknesses when it came to domestic duties, so instead of demanding something be done a certain way, just divide and conquer. For example, I suck at cooking so Hubby does most of ours. He has no interest in clean sheets, bathrooms or separating loads of washing into ‘normal cycle’ and ‘hand wash’ so I take care of that. As long as you are both contributing, it all evens out in the end.
3. Marriage requires self improvement. Nothing like saying ‘I Do’ to put a magnifying glass on all your weaknesses and faults. Sure, we are all human and getting married you need to be aware of your partner’s and your own shortcomings. But that isn’t an excuse to not try and improve. You, your partner, and if you have them, your kids deserve the best version you can be. This is no means easy but if you picked a good egg you can be guaranteed support while you go on your self-improvement mission.
4. Love Languages are real. Learn your partners and understand your own. This is a massive one and a feature in marriage that continually needs focus. For you that don’t know, Love Languages basically means we all have preferences on how to receive and give love. These preferences and broadly fall into the following categories Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. We might prefer to receive love overwhelming one way but give it in another. By understanding our own and our partner’s Love Languages we can identify when we are being shown love and how to make our partners feel loved. We can also learn how to ask for what we need to feel loved. Sounds simple, but rarely is.
5. Don’t expect your partner to be everything to you, there is a reason why you have other friends and family. We have never had this problem, as I’ve always had my girls and him his blokes, but I have seen others sadly fall into this trap. It makes your worlds’ small and I imagine, boring.
6. Loyalty is key. That and respect. Cut off situations that may damage your partnership and family. Whether that is the show up of an ex, putting your work in front of family, of simply getting into too many pity parties resulting in a change of attitude. If your marriage is going to survive you need to fight for it and that means ALWAYS putting it above other temptations.
There it is. I don’t claim to be an expert, fuck, I think we are all just winging it. But here is a massive shout out to all of you fighting the good fight! Because I know it isn’t always easy, but it is totally worth it!
Ps. Both the kids are snoring! Yippee!!