Recently we attended a friend’s wedding. The venue was an old barn purposely converted for these kinds of events. It was picturesque and its rooms were filled with loved up couples, all fighting to hold back tears of joy. There’s nothing more romantic than a wedding celebration. Even for the stone hearted among us, it’s hard not to soften even just a little.
As we sat down to the wedding breakfast, the father of the bride stood up to give his speech. The poor guy was finding it so hard to hold it together in front of his radiant daughter, but he managed to part with some good advice for a long and happy marriage. My better half and I have been married for a while now and so I couldn’t help but think about the advice I could give about staying happy in marriage. After some thought, I decided that the recipe for the perfect marriage is difficult to concoct.
What I do know, is that being married is a lot of hard work. It involves a lot of give and take, as well as being incredibly frustrating on occasion. There’s all the good stuff too; having someone to come home to every night, sharing your thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams with someone you love is never to be taken for granted. As much as I can’t give you the recipe for a perfect marriage, I can tell you how we’re currently nailing being wed:
I stay at home to look after the house and the kids –
I imagine this statement will resemble the equivalent of a red rag to a bull for some of you, but one of the reasons our marriage works so well is because I’m always here. Ever since having our first child, I’ve been at home. Granted I’ve managed to carve a career out of writing, but initially it was intended that my role should be ‘stay at home mum‘. This wasn’t forced upon me, it was a mutual decision and it works.
My husband has a very successful career. He works hard and he continues to climb the ladder. All of which would be made much more difficult if I decided that I was going to go back to work full-time, outside of the home. There would have to be a lot more give from his side and that could really affect his progression. That’s something neither of us want to happen. I might be a housewife 70% of the time but I’d rather that, than have my actions impact seriously on the goals of the person I love.
We’ve learnt to communicate adult to adult –
I want you to be aware that no couple is ever perfect, we all have our moments. What my husband and I have learnt over the past few years though, is that to make sure our marriage stays on an even keel we need to make sure we are communicating adult to adult. We don’t play games, we don’t purposely wind each other up out of the realms of jest and we work hard not to raise our voices. Turning disagreements into a rational discussion saves wasting a lot of time and energy.
We’re a team before all else –
Since having children especially, we’ve become a solid family unit. We are a team and we make important decisions together, before any outside factors are considered. Have you ever heard the saying ‘teamwork makes the dream work‘? It’s cheesy, but it’s one of my favourites! We bring up our family together, we graft together and we take time out together. Et voila, teamwork at its best!
We’ve learnt to accept each other’s bad habits and how to let the niggles slide –
We all have bad habits, yes even you. I for example, am a chronic over-thinker and I’m hard work because of it. My husband is a perfectionist and he’s hard work because of it. There have been times in the past where we have completely and utterly clashed as we can be so different, but frankly behaving that way has never gotten us anywhere. Accepting bad habits really is essential for a happy marriage, niggles will always be there – you’ve just got to let them go.
We do go to bed on arguments –
How many times have you been to a wedding and the best man advises never to go to bed on an argument? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this bandied around at every wedding we’ve been to. Well, I completely disagree! How many times have you woken up after having a total barney the night before and thought, what the hell was the point in that anyway? So often things seem brighter in the morning, which is why I think putting disagreements to one side and getting some kip is a far healthier approach to marriage.
I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to have a marriage that’s perfect, as we get older and wiser though I can’t help but think there are certain ways to go about making life as simple as possible. I can only recommend that you compromise, reassess how you communicate, work together, accept bad habits and don’t waste time on pointless arguments. Maybe I do have a good recipe for marriage after all?