Apart from “I love you” and “I do” these to me are the most important, significant and meaningful words my husband has ever said to me.
Before I begin I just want you to know that this isn’t a post about wedding pretty, there will be no delicious details or inspirational ideas for you to steal and for that I apologise.
What it is is a piece about marriage. And not a perfect idealistic marriage either. It’s about a marriage where there have been a series of major highs, some memorable lows, sacrifice, compromise and unexpected change.
I guess what I’m saying is it’s a piece about real marriage and the only one I have any experience of and therefore feel I have the knowledge to write about is my own.
So then here goes…..*deep breath*
For those of you who don’t know I met James on a blind date just over eight years ago – interestingly he was actually supposed to be a fireman called Matt whom cancelled a few days before. I won’t lie and tell you I wasn’t a little disappointed to discover Mr skilled-with-giant-hose was going to be a no-show (I was, the shallow Madam that I am) but I am a firm believer in fate and Mr O’Shea was (excuse the potential mush here folks)….the most beautiful man I ever saw.
I’m sure our pre-married relationship was similar to the majority of yours, enjoying amazing holidays, spending time with friends, moving in together, moving again (erm…seven times anyone?) and generally loving spending as much time as we possibly could together.
And we, like the fairytales and the romance novels and the films where it all ends in that big kissing cresendo thought once we were joined together in holy matrimony it would carry on much like before.
Only it didn’t. Because the rose-tinted vision of us both carrying on climbing our chosen career ladders and starting a family became a distant memory once I decided that actually, my life-long dream was to start my own company and I was going to work my butt off to make it happen.
James didn’t sign up to a partnership where we would go for weeks with barely seeing each other, we would need to refuse endless nights out offers from friends and every holiday would be spent with me glued to my iPhone or tapping away on my laptop.
It has been way less than ideal.
And then came what is now fondly* known at RMW HQ, in the O’Shea household and amongst our nearest and dearest as “The Black Summer”.
Several unexpected events occurred in June 2011, Adam and I entered into what was probably the most intense project of our “day job” to date, a multi- million pound take-over that saw us working significantly longer hours than usual and not having a spare second to think about RMW until we were in the car and on the way home, when to be honest all I wanted to do was fall into bed.
At the same time as aforementioned project we also got hacked, and then a third of our team left. The future was seemingly not filled with sunshine and prosperity.
But we carried on regardless and did the best we could, sometimes not sleeping for a few days in a row. And this was possibly the hardest time of all for James and I, I don’t think anyone can wave their hands in the air and say they are a whole bunch of fun when they are tired, irritable and look like death. I certainly wasn’t.
And then our readership dropped by 35%. Or at least it looked like it had, even on the holy grail of blog statistic measurements that is Google Analytics. So for a few months we felt like we were failing, where had everyone gone? there was simply no option for us to work any harder than we already were and after basking in the glow that continual growth and subsequent success brings you I don’t mind admitting it was a bitter pill to swallow.
There was a defining moment though. Me, a crumpled deflated heap on the living room floor, feeling sorry for myself and looking back, more than a little defeatist and James, looking at me intently and frowning.
James: I know this whole situation is unbelievably shi*e right now but I promise it will get better.
Me (possible wailing): But how do you know that?
James: Because I’ve seen how hard you’ve worked and all the crap you’ve put up with and it might seem that you’re at your lowest point right now you still get up every day and throw everything you’ve got into that website and you bloody deserve for it to be a success.
Me (increased wailing) : But I just can’t see how we can do anymore than we are already…..and I know these last few years have been a great deal less than perfect and I just feel like I’m letting everyone down…
James: Who are you letting down? only yourself if you don’t pull yourself together and get the hell on with turning this situation on its head rather than just moping about it…
Me (Major wailing): But that sounds so harsh! I really am trying so hard and I just need you to support me…
James: I am supporting you, every step of the way, I love you, I respect you and and I want to spend the rest of my life with you but most of all I believe in you, I have always believed in you.
And that lovelies was all I needed to hear. Because he is my rock. My shoulder to cry on, my piece of tough when the rough gets going. The one constant ray of hope and light when everything else appears dark and bleak. He’s got my back. And I’ve got his.
And you know what? He was right. Turns out when our hosting providers moved over to some kind of cloud-web thingamy (no idea – ask Adam) all of our links and searches broke and we didn’t even realise. Imagine your website or blog having to get back all of the search engine rankings it has achieved in that last two years because it essentially went to zero – that’s what happened to us.
As it happens once we got “fixed” (again no clue – Adam did try and explain but I was lost after the first five minutes of explanation) it transpired our readership had in fact grown substantially, in the last six months the amount of you lovelies visiting RMW has doubled and after taking the reins of all things ‘social media’ our Twitter followers and Facebook fans have trebled.
We’re doing alright Jack.
But actually I just want to say a few things about that. Because as well as we’ve done and as much as we’ve achieved I just want to do the whole “proud wife” thing and say a few words about what my husband has achieved whilst he has been supporting your truly in following her dreams:
James has worked really hard, he’s fulfilled his progress ambitions for the last six months and continues to excel in his chosen field. I never questioned that he would of course – I believe in him as much as he believes in me. And I know he will continue to kick some serious property development ass regardless of the current economic climate or the fact that so many of his so-called “contemporaries” have told him that he can’t.
And I will go on supporting him and believing in him until death do us part because that’s what I signed up for.
Marriage isn’t a bed of roses or a 24/7 state of euphoria, sometimes it’s bloody hard work. But it is always, always worth it.
And on that note I guess I should explain what all these images are about….
During “The Black Summer” Polly Alexandre asked if James and I would ponce around London for the American master of film Jonathan Canlas and his FIND (film is not dead) workshop. I of course said yes and may have told Mr O’Shea a little white lie about it being a very small shoot with just a few photographers….not walking around the streets of London with several hundred of the great British public.
And when I told him I would then be posting them on RMW to accompany this post he said:
“Oh no, you’re not going to use the one where I look like I’ve got a chin like Bruce Forsyth are you?”
Me: “Don’t be silly of course not, besides I think you look extraordinarily handsome in all of the pictures…”
Now, I said all you needed for a happy (albeit real) marriage was love and belief, I didn’t say you couldn’t tell some small fibs along the way if absolutely necessary…
Next week I have some news on a rather time-consuming but significant “project” we have been working on behind the scenes that has finally come to a stage where we can share.
And just in case this post has in anyway made you doubt our commitment to RMW (I tried my best to provide an honest and open account without appearing wishy washy) then please, please don’t, we’re here all guns blazing for 2012 and beyond.
Would love to know from those of you still planning, or those of you that are already married, any similar situations you may have been party to or any career-changing plans that have occurred unexpectedly during your relationship.
Big Thanks A Million For Sticking With Us Through The Rough Love
*it is fondly know as “The Black Summer” because as rubbish as it seemed at the time, it was without doubt the best thing that ever happened to us – all will be revealed next week folks.