Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. Yay!
Craig (yup he’s the one I married) and I have been together almost 15 years now and married for 13…wow. It’s been the greatest adventure of my life. That’s us there on the left looking soooooo much younger!
I was never a girl who grew up planning how my wedding would be. Like most, I laughed and loved Monica and her wedding folder in the wonderful sitcom ‘Friends’ but it was just not something I had ever dreamed about.
I think I married my friend independence fairly early on. Running from commitment was not unusual…or better still if something was going well with a guy I’d find a way to subconsciously sabotage it. I managed to spot that pattern later in life!
Clearly I had no idea about what or who was to come!
Didn’t see him coming!
Then Craig walked into my life. He was on a ‘Stag do’ and I was on a ‘Hen do’ in Dublin. Eeeewwww indeed, lol. Sparing you the details, but suffice to say that Craig challenged me every step of the way at the start of our relationship. He (sometimes to my annoyance) spotted when I was subconsciously trying to sabotage things and would block my moves. Damn him…but it kind of worked. I’d never been challenged before. Early on he had such confidence that we were going to be together for the rest of our lives and that was that. It wasn’t arrogance, he just seemed to know.
He was a different kind of chap for me, I liked it and then properly fell in love with him. Finally I began to let go and surrender some of my stubborn and misguided thoughts over being in a proper relationship. He asked me to marry him after 7 months and I found myself in no uncertain terms saying ‘yes’. Wow.
Craig and I are very different people, very different, but we complement each other massively. There is no way I could love and live with another ‘me’ and I know he feels the same. So we’ve been married for 13 years…successfully I believe.
Here are 13 lessons I’ve learnt in my 13 years of marriage!
1 Marriage is like a child.
It grows up, goes through different stages and even has the odd tantrum. You have to keep adapting and changing your approach. 13 years in and we are two different people to those that who said ‘I do’ on our wedding. Keep up with its needs to survive and more importantly, thrive. Our circumstances and family dynamics will change again in a few more years, so our marriage will need to adapt too.
2 You need time apart
We both have different interests and it’s important to each other the space to pursue them. Two whole and happy people make a couple, right?
3 Don’t expect your other half to be a mind reader.
OMG this is a big one for me and I see it all the time. If you ever find yourself thinking or saying ‘If he loved me he would know what I want’, slap yourself about the face with a wet fish quickly and wake up. Come on, let’s be honest, most of the time you probably don’t know yourself what you want, let alone expect your partner to know!
4 Be honest about your needs.
You’re married! You can be honest. Tell each other how they can best feed your relationship needs. This isn’t about being politically correct, this is about getting it right for each other. Understand what makes the other feel loved.
5 Ooooo and arhhhh over each other ‘jobs’ they do about the house.
This is a family joke to us but it’s established from a great place. It’s about gratitude. It’s about being appreciative of stuff getting done. For example I am perfectly capable of putting a framed picture up on the wall, however I am not a fan of getting the drill out, finding the right bit and getting it straight etc…I LOVE taking the image and getting it framed and when Craig puts it up, I happily tell him what a wonderful job he has done (note to readers…he always does a perfect job!). So I ‘ooooo that looks great’ and a ‘aaaarh you even hoovered the mess up’ over the job well done. Simple. Fun.
#Important note. Being sarcastic or patronising is not part of the deal here!!
6 Communication is essential
Life happens, we have children, a puppy, work, you know the score. But it’s important to talk and communicate with each other regularly. Check in with how each other is, both. We communicate within a marriage in many ways, keep an eye on how that is going. If you’ve not had any ‘bouncy cuddles’ lately, then ask yourself why and do something about it. When time is tight, get out the diaries and book in some time together! Keep those opportunities to communicate frequent.
7 I feel we’re both committed to this marriage.
Sounds a bit obvious, after all we did say ‘I do’. However we believe that a marriage only works if two people want it to work, are happy in it and are prepared to look after it. We know our boundaries, we understand what would be deemed as ‘unfaithful’ or what actions the other could take that would be the kiss of death to our marriage.
8 I married my best friend.
Craig is my best friend. No doubt about it. He’s proven it time and time again.
9 Respect each other.
I’m going to rant here a little. It saddens me no end when I see a post on social media about someone verbally bashing their other half. We all get cross and upset sometimes, but giving each other the basic respect of keeping it between you is, I feel, essential if you want to move forward. Respecting each other in all situations is key.
10 Forgiveness over the little things is easy and powerful.
I used to be the type of person who got really worked up over something someone Craig said to me that I didn’t like or felt hurt my feelings. I’d let myself get so dramatic inside about ‘why would he say something like that?!’ (imagine back of hand on forehead lol). Well it took me a few years but forgiveness is a wonderful thing. He’s not perfect and guess what, neither am I. We don’t always get it right with each other, so forgive. Get stuff into perspective. Assume the best and not the worst. Most of the time a miscommunication has happened and that is all.
11 You fall in love again and again and again.
To love someone and BE IN LOVE with someone are two very different things. Life happens and sometimes we just don’t feel very ‘in love’ with our partners. I think this is OK. I also believe when this happens we have to take some responsibility and plug back in. It can be the smallest things that trigger the feeling of being in love. L out for the new ones. They are there all the time. I love discovering these. We grow, we change and we evolve as individuals. Craig isn’t the man I married…there’s more to him now, he’s experienced more, developed and like me has learnt some lessons along the way.
I remember the very first time he took Lauren as a new baby off me and told me to go to bed to get some sleep…I completely fell in love with him all over again. That hadn’t come up before…so it was a new reason to be in love with him. When I was ill last year, we made some big decisions together concerning my business, his support and encouragement to change it all…gave me another reminder of why I am ‘in love’ with him. Bet you can find a few new ‘in love’ moments today too!
12 Back each other up in parenting.
We’re a team. We’re bringing up 2 amazing children. We make sure we are both ‘singing from the same song sheet’ when it comes to how we are bringing them up. Be mindful of how you behave with one another in front of the children and agree on the boundaries. THIS makes for great harmony in our marriage. I cannot imagine how we could be any other way.
13 Laugh together.
There is nothing better than a damn good laugh with your partner in life. Every now and then we find ourselves saying…’we’ve not had a really good laugh together for a while’. Sometimes life gets so busy, schedules ridiculous and time gets short. Find the time for fun things, to be silly together and enjoy a really good laugh.
So happy anniversary to me and Craig! I’m proud of what we have experienced and achieved together. I cannot wait to see what the next 13 years brings us!
Over to you.
What great about your marriage? Do you have any top tips? Please feel free to comment below, always happy to pick up and try a few new ideas!