In the way things often happen in my life, only the other day (very timely, given this wifey week we had planned) I was driving down the road with Pete and thought, we are meant to be together. That might sound a little bit random, but bear with me while I share the story.
Two days before I had been driving home from work, trying to get into the lane I needed to turn right and a huge Volkswagen drove past on my right. I can only describe the vehicle as a bus, and there was a man at the wheel, with his wife I assume and a teenage daughter in the back. The car was full of luggage and they were obviously going away but they all looked very bored with life and cheesed off. For all I know anything could have been happening to them that day, but my first thought was ‘please don’t ever let me drive a bus like that…’
Two days later in the car with Pete, we were driving to B&Q (I’m so rock’n’roll) and a similar bus-like MPV pulled out in front of us. We both fell silent as we had been chatting about something or other and Pete suddenly said, ‘Please don’t ever let us have a car like that!’
I couldn’t help myself but laugh. This isn’t a story about fancy cars, or material aspirations, (although my husband is a car fanatic so it probably was for him!) but about good partnerships. It’s not a profound example, but it’s a good one, of the feeling that I get most days when I’m with Pete. That feeling that we’re on the same page.
I say most days, because there are days I don’t see him. We are independent, the blog takes hours of my time and we both work very hard. Fortunately for me, Pete is sociable and sporty and keeps himself busy, which might sound a recipe for disaster, but I know he does it in support of me. Of course, he wouldn’t stop playing football if I stopped doing the blog, but he certainly makes sure he allows me the time I need to do something I love. There are also days, as happens when you have been with somebody for ten whole years, which we will have been later this year, that life just goes on and you might even forget to look at each other. There are days when I want to kill him, like the time I came home and found a patch of cement coloured paint on the wall in our living room, because he ‘wanted to decorate’ so thought he’d try a tester pot. Or the day I came home from London at almost midnight, stepped onto what should have been our path and almost missed my footing because the newly torn up surface that used to be our path was now 2 inches lower than I anticipated.
I’m a realist, not a romantic and I think thats what it takes to make a marriage work. I always remember thinking my parents were going to get divorced one night as a child when I heard them having a particularly heated discussion, but when I went downstairs crying about it my mum said, ‘It’s the people who don’t talk who have a problem”. I believe in communication, talking about your day, your problems and your deepest darkest desires. I don’t think it’s being married that has taught me these things, but being married to Pete. The way he cares for me, seeks to understand me and supports me, has taught me by example the kind of wife I want to be. Two years of working at that has brought us even closer together. A solid united front and a team.
However, I am getting off the point, which is, I don’t have the answers when it comes to what it takes to have a happy marriage, but I’m learning and I think that’s what it’s all about, learning together. You make mistakes, you say sorry but you always work at it.
So, the message here is that I don’t have the answers, but regardless, because I’m not the shy type and most of you here usually appreciate my honesty, I thought I would share some of my top tips for staying happy, not just two, but ten years later. I hope some of these resonate with you, make you laugh and most of all, I hope they make you think of your own little tips, because we want you to hear the little secrets to YOUR happy relationship, accompanying stories optional 😉
Laugh together, often. It might sound obvious, but you know what they say, if you don’t laugh you cry and it helps remind you both you’re on the same side of whatever battle has been drawn that day, even if it’s between you, the leaking toilet and the dripping ceiling.
Flirt. If you’re a few years in, flirting might not be a given, but a bit of cheeky banter is great for bringing back all the excitement of the first few weeks and months.
Surprise each other, and I don’t mean with gifts. Pete often leaves the house and asks me to tidy up for example and more often than not, when he gets back, I’m still sat here in front of the computer screen blogging away. I don’t purposely not do it, time just runs away. So on the occasions I make the effort to get up and do it, he loves it and knows I made the effort for him. He also loves it when I do my ‘football chat’ – Pete’s an avid footballer and follower, so when there’s a big match he’s always talking about it. If I hear something on the radio on the way home, I might chip in with some learned comment about the team selection or latest gossip and he’s always taken by surprise. (I think he also secretly loves that if he lets me talk a bit longer I invariably get myself into deep water and give away my lack of actual knowledge.)
Save time for each other. Pete and I are our relationship’s own worst enemy, we’re so social that when we have free time we spend it with everyone else, even if it is as a couple. Add the blog to that and it’s a disaster. So Friday night in our house is pizza night. Charlotte and Adam can testify I rarely work on Friday nights, and we just spend it with each other. Easy food, a bottle of wine and reconnect before the weekend, when we often haven’t had a proper conversation all week. Pizza is the food of love 😉
Keep your own interests and your own friends. It’s easy to fall into the socialising as couples only thing but I think it’s really crucial to spend time away from each other, so you get a different perspective on your own issues and everyone else’s!
Lastly, the most obvious one, the most important one. Talk. About everything, from how your day went, to what you want out of life. Sharing your thoughts and dreams make the foundations of your life together strong, and means you grow together.
I could go on forever, but now it’s over to you… share your tips, secrets, insights and funny stories please. I’m willing to bet there’s some serious pearls of wisdom between you all out there!
Yours (feeling like an old married agony aunt but happier than ever) Truly,
PS Thanks go to my Mum, for teaching me most of what I know about relationships and being a wise woman indeed 🙂