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 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.
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.