Why our marriage works

nye
‘You make it look easy. I know it’s not’.

A friend posted this comment on my wedding anniversary blog post last week. I smiled when I read her comment because it’s true.

Marriage isn’t easy. Marriage takes hard work, patience and plenty of give and take.

Dave and I have been together for more than 15 years and while amazing for the most part, it hasn’t always been roses.

We were just 23 when we met – young and passionate with nary a worry on our minds.

It wasn’t long into our relationship that we struck a massive hurdle which threatened to derail us.

Three months after we started dating, Dave moved to Dublin.

Before we met, Dave had applied for a working visa in Ireland and his paperwork came through just as we were falling for each other. Talk about timing.

We maintained a long-distance relationship for about 10 months, the first of many challenges we’ve experienced in our time together.

Over the years we’ve faced financial struggles, job loss, death of loved ones, infertility, health issues and more, but we’ve managed to stick together and bear the brunt of those challenges.

Those challenges and life itself has changed us from the people we were when we first met. We’ve grown together and individually, accepting of the people we are today.

If asked why our marriage works, my knee-jerk reaction would be to say it’s because Dave is so laid back he’s almost horizontal.

That’s not entirely true. Our marriage works because we work at it.

I don’t profess to have all of the answers nor have a perfect marriage, but here’s why ours works.

We communicate
We talk every day. Really talk. We listen to each other and offer advice. If there’s something weighing on our mind we lay it on the table before it gets too big to handle. It’s difficult to find the time to talk when you have kids, but you need to make the time.

We take an interest
Dave and I went out to lunch last weekend – a rare opportunity to spend time together. Dave talked about construction 90 % of the time. I don’t find construction the most fascinating of subjects, but it’s what Dave lives and breathes. I listened intently to Dave’s animated chatter and made all of the right sounds in the right places. Just as he does when he walks through the door of an evening and I vomit an update of my mundane daily events onto him. He takes an interest because it matters to me and vice versa.

We never go to bed on an argument
Dave and I rarely fight. There’s been only one massive argument that threatened to split us up before we were married. Fortunately, we’re both fairly even tempered. If we have harsh words with each other one of us will crumble before long. Dave will crack a joke or I will go in with a hug. No matter how long it takes us into the night, if we have a problem with each other we talk it out and work to resolve our issues before we close our eyes on the day.

We make time for our own interests
Just like you need an escape from the kids every now and then, taking time out from your other half for some me time is vital. You need your own space and your own interests. Dave has his rock climbing and I have my writing. Feeling fulfilled personally and happy in ourselves has a positive effect on our relationship.

We get on each other’s nerves and we deal with it
It drives me absolutely bananas that Dave sleeps in every weekend without fail while I have to get out of bed to tend to the kids. Just as I’m sure there are things I do that drives Dave bananas. It’s up to you how you deal with these minor issues. These issues aren’t deal breakers for us. We remind each other that marriage is about give and take and we need to be mindful of the other person in the relationship, especially when kids are concerned. We know that life together isn’t going to be perfect all of the time. It would be pretty boring if it was.

We don’t forget who we are as a couple
We attempt to not lose sight of who we are as a couple nor forget the person we fell in love with. We spend time together, go out on dates and keep the spark alive. We know this is especially important with kids on the scene because God knows those sweet little beggars know how to monopolise your time and sap your energy.

We are kind to each other
I treat Dave the way I expect to be treated and he does the same for me. We talk kindly to each other and do little things for each other. There may not be any grand gestures or declarations of undying love, but let’s face it sometimes all you want is someone to fix you a cuppa without you having to ask. We also ensure we talk positively about each other in front of the kids to help them feel safe, secure and trusting in our relationship.

We dance
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes the dark clouds come in and you can’t see a way out. On these days, we dance. We dance when we’re sad. We dance when we’re happy. Actually, we dance a lot. We laugh. We let it all out. If dancing isn’t your thing, find something simple and easy that you can do as a couple and a family that will bring pure and simple enjoyment into your lives.

So, there you have it. That’s us and that’s how our marriage works.

What makes your relationship work?

Linking up today with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.

59 comments on Why our marriage works

  1. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    August 2, 2016 at 6:30 am (10 months ago)

    I love this! We excel at getting on each other’s nerves but we deal with it. I remember my mum telling me that a relationship is “warts and all” that when you love someone, you love them even with their annoying habits, although I like to think of them as quirks! And yes, never go to sleep on an argument. Hug it out!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:10 pm (10 months ago)

      Hugging it out is the way to go 🙂

      Reply
  2. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    August 2, 2016 at 6:44 am (10 months ago)

    We know so many people breaking up right now. Marriages done with. Families in distress. I think for us we make it work as best we can as it’s as much about not wanting the alternative.
    Communication is probably the biggest thing we all need to work on. Calm, focussed and non-judgmental.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm (10 months ago)

      Exactly. It’s so sad to hear of so many broken down families. It’s hard for everyone involved.

      Reply
  3. Lydia C. lee
    August 2, 2016 at 6:49 am (10 months ago)

    That’s really lovely! And yes, I think the little things like remembering who you are as a couple and as a person is important

    Reply
  4. Jody at Six Little Hearts
    August 2, 2016 at 7:06 am (10 months ago)

    Yes, all great foundations for a long term happy marriage. A sense of humour is important too. It helps you both ride through the hard stuff.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm (10 months ago)

      Oh yes, of course!! Forgot about the sense of humour. That is key 🙂

      Reply
  5. Vicki @ Knocked Up & Abroad
    August 2, 2016 at 7:34 am (10 months ago)

    Marriage is definitely a foundation that needs to be built up and it looks like you guys have certainly built something really sturdy and lovely. Wow! Dave taking off after three months, that would have been a deal breaker for so many. Just shows how keen on each other you were 🙂
    I agree with most of your points – they’re all things Mr Vick and I have learned over about 16 years as well. I think the most important one is dealing with the little irritations, the little idiosyncrasies. I think I used to let them get on top of me but over time I’ve realised they’re just little and to roll my eyes and get on. Communication is a big factor here too. I think we’ve really worked on that skill over a decade and keep getting better at it. xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:12 pm (10 months ago)

      Good on you, Vicki! I can tell through your writing what a strong bond you and Mr Vick have xx

      Reply
  6. Melinda @unitedstatesofmama
    August 2, 2016 at 7:55 am (10 months ago)

    Great reminders! I think accepting that marriage doesn’t begin and end with the wedding- it takes ‘work’ and commitment ever after… It’s certainly not as easy as they advertise in the brochures!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm (10 months ago)

      That’s for sure 🙂

      Reply
  7. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    August 2, 2016 at 7:56 am (10 months ago)

    We are much the same. I feel sad for people who don’t communicate with their partners and don’t laugh and enjoy each other. The little bit of effort is worth it.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm (10 months ago)

      It really is and it doesn’t take much.

      Reply
  8. Kathy
    August 2, 2016 at 8:59 am (10 months ago)

    Lovely post Renee – you guys seem great together. Like your Dave, my hubby is very laid back – it drives me crazy because I take on stress for the two of us and much of the ‘mean mum’ discipline with the kids, but I also appreciate his calmness. And I know that I create my own stress….working on that one.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm (10 months ago)

      Yes, I do the same, Kathy. I think we’re all a work in progress.

      Reply
  9. Jude
    August 2, 2016 at 9:01 am (10 months ago)

    Hi Renee, I just wanted to say how much this resonates. Hubby and I are off to Sydney this weekend child free. It’s those breaks which help you to remember why you stick out the mundane and chose this person in the first place. I can’t wait for us both to be able to sleep in!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you so much for your message, Jude. It means a lot. I hope you and hubby had an awesome mini break and you got your sleep in 🙂

      Reply
  10. Denyse Whelan Blogs
    August 2, 2016 at 10:55 am (10 months ago)

    Beautiful words here Renee. I agree that marriage is hard work but you reap the rewards of much as you go along. Right now, I am in the challenging place of ‘transitioning’ from being work-centred, family-centred to being ‘me’ in retirement and if it wasn’t for my patient listener and advisor of a husband I would be bereft. We complete each other I guess as that old saying goes. Denyse xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:23 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww bless. That is so sweet, Denyse xx

      Reply
  11. Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    August 2, 2016 at 11:32 am (10 months ago)

    Happy Anniversary for last week! Great tips for a successful marriage. I’ve been married for 31 years and it still takes work that is for sure.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm (10 months ago)

      Wow, Min! What an achievement. Congratulations x

      Reply
  12. Cate@Life Behind The Purple Door
    August 2, 2016 at 11:52 am (10 months ago)

    excellent tips! As we approach ten years next month, how our marriage has survived is playing on my mind, especially since I discovered on the weekend that FIVE of my friends are in the process of splitting up!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm (10 months ago)

      Oh my God, Cate. That is full on!!! Hopefully that leaves you and hubby safe then 🙂

      Reply
  13. Kylie Purtell
    August 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm (10 months ago)

    Great post, Renee, I love the way you and Dave approach your marriage. It’s definitely not easy but it’s always worth it x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Kylie 🙂 x

      Reply
  14. Kit@lifethroughthehaze
    August 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm (10 months ago)

    This is a really great post Renee. I remember about 6years ago really good friends of ours separated and as far as she was concerned they were done. But they found their way back to each other. I vowed then that I would do everything that I could to keep us together. Clearly we need to work at everything together but in as much as I can control things I will do that. I have since then royally stuffed up a lot of things but we have come through that much stronger so we are doing something right xoxo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:25 pm (10 months ago)

      That is beautiful to hear, Cathy. All those trials and tribulations can definitely make your relationship stronger xx

      Reply
  15. Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers
    August 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm (10 months ago)

    I love that you dance. Marriages are hard I like the ways you work at yours and congratulations on your wedding anniversary.

    Reply
  16. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    August 2, 2016 at 3:19 pm (10 months ago)

    Great post Renee, we are dancers too! We also love a regular date night, usually at home, because finding someone to sit with 4 kids is nearly impossible for us. Communication is key here too, and when we are disagreeing, it is usually because our communication has been stilted. Thanks for sharing your tips xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:26 pm (10 months ago)

      Hooray for more dancers!!! I love seeing your lovey dovey updates on Facebook. You’re a great couple x

      Reply
  17. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    August 2, 2016 at 7:41 pm (10 months ago)

    Love this so much, what a special couple. I need to more like you at times…. but it’s the backing down back I battle with, always have! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm (10 months ago)

      There’s nothing wrong with being sure minded 🙂 You guys have a beautiful relationship too x

      Reply
  18. Denise
    August 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm (10 months ago)

    I must admit, I wasn’t going to read your post. I separated from my husband a few years ago now and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about reading it. But actually I really loved it and I think you are spot on in everything you say. I think I’ve learned through living through a marriage that didn’t work what it takes to create one that does. You guys are a great example, thank you for the reminder:-)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww thank you so much, Denise. I’m glad it wasn’t too painful for you xx

      Reply
  19. Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    August 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm (10 months ago)

    If I was to sum up the secret to making our marriage work in one word, that word would be “grace”. Grace to allow each other to be who they are, to make mistakes, to have an off day, to gloss over the negatives, and instead focus on all the good things about each other and our relationship x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm (10 months ago)

      Beautiful, Janet. I love seeing how in love you and your hubby still are 🙂 x

      Reply
  20. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    August 2, 2016 at 8:52 pm (10 months ago)

    I honestly don’t know how ours works because for the most part we do the opposite to everything you do, but under it all we really know we love each other. I guess the thing that really works for me is that I know I have freedom in our relationship to do things I want to do which I never had before with my ex-husband. We do need to work on not taking our frustrations out on each other, sometimes we are mean because there is nobody else to vent or talk to about issues so we can take it out on each other {just little things though not huge things}.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm (10 months ago)

      Go with whatever works for you, Toni 🙂

      Reply
  21. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    August 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm (10 months ago)

    Exactly – marriages work because they take work. Agree with everything you’ve said. And I think the biggest one, at least for me, is to not sweat the small stuff. I remember listening to Oprah interview a woman who had lost her husband and something the woman said really stuck with me. She said she used to complain all the time that her husband left his dirty socks by the bed every day. Now she wishes that he still did.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm (10 months ago)

      Oh my God. That just broke my heart a little.

      Reply
  22. Natalie @ our parallel connection
    August 2, 2016 at 9:39 pm (10 months ago)

    I’ve been with hubby for 23 years and married 18yrs and I think our key is communication. Long term marriage is something to be celebrated this day and age

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm (10 months ago)

      It certainly is, Natalie!

      Reply
  23. Lisa
    August 2, 2016 at 11:14 pm (10 months ago)

    Bugger, you made me cry happy tears. Such a beautiful post. Made me realise how much my hubby “gets me”. Stay awesome Renee.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww thanks Lisa. You’re the best!

      Reply
  24. Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    August 3, 2016 at 9:30 am (10 months ago)

    Oh I love this post and your beautiful relationship with your hubby. I completely agree that you need your own things going on and the communication part. My hubby and I need to conciously work on that part now that he is regularly away. I kind of get into my grove of just getting stuff done and forget about the other half of parenting. :/

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:18 pm (10 months ago)

      I can imagine! That would be very hard to keep the communication going when you’re a FIFO couple. You guys manage it so well.

      Reply
  25. Seana Smith
    August 3, 2016 at 2:28 pm (10 months ago)

    What a pleasure to read, thoughful and uplifting. Paul and I have been together for over 20 years, with many ups and downs and a big issue in our lives right now with one of the kids… we do annoy each other, but we don’t fight and we are kind to each other too. We also both know how to apologise, and we get plenty practice too…. important.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:20 pm (10 months ago)

      Sounds like a lovely relationship, Seana.

      Reply
  26. Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life
    August 3, 2016 at 9:19 pm (10 months ago)

    What a great post! I admit there are probably a few points you listed I’m not terribly good at and need to work on more!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Ingrid 🙂 Good luck!

      Reply
  27. Zanni Louise
    August 5, 2016 at 6:21 am (10 months ago)

    Beautiful post. Having met you both together, I can see how easy you are with each other. I can see you respect each other, and know how to have fun. The important things! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww! Thanks Zanni. That’s really sweet xx

      Reply
  28. Druime@SnippetsandSpirits
    August 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm (9 months ago)

    The Dancing got me in the heart how beautiful Renee . Long may your marriage last. It sounds like you have great fun together. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      August 25, 2016 at 8:27 pm (9 months ago)

      Thank you so much, Druime. That’s a beautiful thing to say x

      Reply

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