Today is my 8th wedding anniversary. Eight years ago today I married my best friend (BARF), my partner in crime and the yin to my yang, so what better time to reflect on the love in my life and what my marriage means to me. Despite the fact I grew up steadfastly determined never to marry, here I am happily married and completely in love.
But I’ve learnt a lot over the past eight years, and this is why.
1. It’s not about grand gestures
So much of our thoughts around relationships centre on the “grand gesture”, and there is a lot about weddings that does too. The proposal, the gasp appearance at the top of the aisle, the perfectly choreographed first dance. Indulge in those set pieces if you like, but marriage isn’t about that in my opinion. It’s about the everyday – being together, loving each other and indulging in your lifetime commitment. Sure, little gestures are lovely, but for me marriage is very much about being. And that is ok.
2. Everyday should be our anniversary
I don’t wait until the 18th July to express my love to my husband. Over the years important anniversaries have become about buying really big, disgustingly soppy cards for the person you are with. But I’m married to him now – woohoo! I don’t have to wait until one specific day to tell Mr S I love him, buy him a takeaway or cuddle on the sofa – and neither does he. Scheduled romance = not very romantic.
3. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
When you get married, it’s for life not just for Christmas folks. As I said my vows, I was committing to my husband till death us do part and that is quite alright by me actually. But just like marathons, marriages are hard work. Every day isn’t going to be the same and there will be battles, and obstacles and tough stuff that comes your way. But in a marriage there are two of you to work at the battles and barriers – you can’t just expect to do a sprint finish and grab your medals. You’ll need to constantly work to make it, well… work.Relationships teach you so much about yourself and others - here's some lessons learnt from marriageClick To Tweet
4. It’ll bring out the best and the worst of you
Just like any long term relationship, being with one person for a while will bring out all your best bits (why wouldn’t it – you are with the person you love the most IN THE WORLD) but it will also bring out your worst. I trust my husband implicitly, and because of this my guard is down all the time – so I don’t control the tantrums, the roaring temper (which lasts about 5 minutes), the fact that in real life I am actually quite boring, I’m a bit of a slob and I talk to my cats as if they are my children. Hey I never said I was easy to live with. Of course I try very hard not be this way (as I don’t like it either) just as Mr S tries very hard not to spend the whole weekend sleeping, but it is a fact of life. If you are with someone for that long things won’t always be perfect. And that is ok.
5. Love changes over time
If you think marriage will be exactly like the exhilarating first date you had where you kissed under the stars and your belly did flip flops, or will be exactly like buying fancy new matching underwear every time there is a potential sexual encounter with your new partner…you’ll be disappointed. Of course I feel a spark when I kiss my hubby – but he has seen me at my worst (and I him) and I can’t keep up any kind of underwear fetish and afford to pay our mortgage. And that is fine. But we have a long term love that bears the scars of the years but also understands each other so much more than when we had that first kiss in Starbucks. And I’d take it over sexy time in matching pants any day.
6. I’m not that romantic
I’m not. I’m thoughtful, but I’m not that romantic. There, I said it. I find romantic gestures in public slightly cringe (can you imagine how I felt about a public proposal in Starbucks – it was the most awesome thing ever, but I did die a bit inside) and I don’t do fluffy teddies and candlelight suppers that well. But I’m fun and I’m thoughtful and I think for a lasting marriage that is worth more.
7. You don’t have to marry your twin
When people first get to know Mr S and I, they can’t really believe how different we are. Friends and family who have been with us since the beginning completely understand why we work, but sometimes others can’t believe how different we are, even 12 years into our relationship. And we are. Sometimes this is a problem (obviously), but by and large our differences are our greatest strength.
8. If you strive for perfection, you’ll fail
Like anything in life, if you try and make your marriage and relationship just perfect, you’ll fail and be miserable. Your definition of perfect is almost certainly not your partner’s, and who wants perfection anyway? The imperfections, the mistakes – they make it real. And if I’m married, it’s real.
9. Together we are stronger
In a lot of ways, I feel like together we can achieve anything. Whilst I’m a very independent soul, as a team we are unstoppable. And I kind of like that. It feels bloody excellent.
10. Marriage is basically awesome
It’s hard. They don’t tell you that in the glossy wedding magazines. But I wouldn’t change for the world my marriage or my husband. Marriage is essentially the biggest commitment you’ll ever make to another human (apart from becoming parents I guess), and if it is right it is absolutely awesome.
So today on our 8 year wedding anniversary there will be no grand gestures or huge romance – there will be love and laughter and reflection and food. Reflecting on all the learning from marriage, and being married to my best friend.