Two years ago, at about this time, I was getting ready to get married. I thought I would be a nervous mess, worrying that all my plans were in the hands of other people and my control had been given over. However, I found myself particularly calm and even a little bit too well planned. I actually had far too much time that morning and there was plenty of sitting around and waiting. The only thing I was really nervous about was my dress. I got put into it way too early (before the photographer arrived!) and sat there trying to get comfortable. With 2-year hindsight, I am glad I did. It relaxed me to get it out of the way and helped me wear it in and settle before I left my room.
For me the morning went slowly, but from the second my amazing toast master (Patrick Collins… you must use him if you are in the area!) arrived to my room to tell me it’s time to head down and quietly asked where my dad was (as he seemed to be missing), the day flew by. I loved it and I would do it again in a shot if I had the money. Yes, there are 1 or 2 things I’d do a little bit differently… but all in all it was the perfect start to the rest of our married life.
A lot has happened in the past 2 years. Many changes, mostly for the better, and with it I feel I have grown more than I thought I ever could. A few days ago I was driving somewhere and got to thinking about what these two married years have taught me and here is what I’ve come up with (in no particular order):
- We are each other’s teacher. We both come from different places with different life experiences and are meant to learn from each other and to use our knowledge and experiences to develop ourselves. As well as this, we need to learn as much as we can about each other in order to navigate and understand the other person’s behaviours. For me it is important to listen to why MrB does what he does and consider this in my own reactions to his actions. For example, I get terribly hormonal and am totally irrational, irritable and snappy sometimes. After a few too many massive arguments, I explained to MrB why I was the way I was (he is one of 4 boys so isn’t that used to it!) and we worked out how to push through those times (basically go away and leave me to myself for 10 minutes!).
- Following on from the above… If either of us do something wrong, we have to accept it and learn from the mistake. We both have to be willing to make some changes if we need to. Compromise is something we have both had to work on over the past 2 years, but it really does help!
- We are never going to love every single habit or annoying thing that the other does, but we do have a choice of how to manage our own response to it. I’ve learnt to only ask MrB to change the things I absolutely can’t live with and then work with him to help him change it. When I do this I have slowly realised that I can’t expect either of us to change overnight, but that over time these little niggly things can improve. For the things I can tolerate, I have had to find ways to deal with my own reactions. For example, MrB goes to bed REALLY early and I find that a challenge sometimes, so we make sure that the lounge has a cosy sofa with a blanket for me so I can snuggle with a book in the evening without having to go to bed and turn the light off.
- I can’t love everything MrB loves. I DO NOT love football (especially his team!), I hate computer games and I really really hate some of the food MrB eats. But as long as he doesn’t kiss me after he’s eaten them or I have something else to occupy myself with when he is playing games or watching football, then I am happy. What is more important it to find some time to spend together doing the things we do share a love for. MrB and I enjoy going places for breakfast and DIYing things for our home. We are also trying to find new things to try together (we have been trying to start the London Loop walk for several months…).
- Plans change. We had mapped out the route we wanted the first few years of marriage to take and it didn’t work out the way we hoped. We didn’t factor in health issues we didn’t know were going to be there, that promotion or bonus we expected to get but didn’t come. These things will have a knock-on effect. We are actually both quite bad with this. We had decided when we wanted babies AND what their names would be, but things definitely didn’t work the way we thought and we are slowly trying to un-plan things and calm down with things we have little control over. Having said that, lots of great things came our way that we weren’t expecting… I have a job I love with loads of opportunities and this has significantly helped us to get on the property ladder, something I thought it would take us many more years to achieve. You never know what will happen, we just gotta chill out and take it as it comes.
- Play to our strengths as a team. A marriage is basically a very small team working towards similar goals and it will grow if you decide to have children and as they grow. I like to think I am a pretty good team player and I have a deep-rooted belief that everyone in a team should have a different role and an individual can’t be an expert at everything. We are definitely different people and have different strengths and weaknesses. MrB gets things done. He moves things and sorts things and gets the washing done when I’ve let it pile up. I am a thinker and planner. So I come up with the ideas, I speak to the people, I plan the holidays, write the emails. Let’s take the example of us recently buying a shared ownership property. I did everything until the date of completion. I researched, gathered documents, applied for things, spoke to solicitors and housing associations and told MrB where to sign. The day completion happened, he dealt with the technical side of moving all our stuff into the new place, realising our boiler was condemned and needed to be replaced before we could move in (next week!), working out how to turn the water and gas off and then working his way through his own contacts to find the right person. One thing we didn’t expect… me to be the far superior wall painter of the two!
- It is ok to get pissed off and want a divorce… it is a temporary feeling caused by something small or irritating that they did. It will go away with just a smile and an “I’m sorry”, so long as we really are sorry! I always remind myself why we love each other. I no longer think every argument is going to end in divorce and deep down during all the silly arguments I always know that we still love each other.
- I’ve said this before elsewhere, but it really is the key for me. Remember to make each other laugh, even when you have made each other cry.
Happy 2ndanniversary MrB! Looking forward to many more years arguing, not making any serious life plans, early nights in different rooms and laughing until we accidentally hit each other in the face.