We’ve all heard it before – marriage is hard work and requires sacrifice from both parties. Every couple goes through good patches and bad ones. And it’s likely that the “blissfully perfect” marriages have the darkest secrets.
Ten years of marriage has snuck up on me. Time has flown by, although so much has happened – a child, a new home, a new career. But time seems somehow compressed, like it all happened in fast-forward. And after recently chatting to a friend who also just reached the one-decade mark, I started wondering what I’ve learned, if anything, over this time. I jotted down a few of my thoughts that may only be applicable to Hubby and I, but maybe you can also relate to one or two.
#1 SOMETIMES WINNING ISN’T WORTH IT
Arguments over stupid things can blow up and quickly get out of hand. What starts off as a decision over which movie to watch, can snowball into teary accusations of “you never consider my feelings”. I’ve learned that sometimes I need to defy my combative nature and just let him win. Watching one sci-fi movie won’t kill me.
The line between being accommodating and a doormat is thin. I certainly haven’t mastered it yet.
#2 HAVE A JOINT HOBBY
Whether it’s golf, a cooking course or a dance class, a joint interest gives us something in common. For us, it’s cycling. There’s something bonding about dragging each other out of bed early in the mornings for a workout. Or slogging up Suikerbossie together when we’re on holiday. And even though there can be some grouchiness if the one leaves the other behind or we don’t agree on the route, most of the time our joint hobby keeps us motivated and gives us something to chat about.
#3 QUIET DOES NOT EQUAL ANGRY
It took me a while to figure this one out. Every time he came home from a hectic day and was eerily quiet I thought I’d done something wrong. I’d poke and prod to find out why I was in trouble. Turns out 99% of the time is wasn’t me. He just needed some time to “power down” and would perk up after an hour or so.
It’s not what you think…
Most of my friends will concur that I’m not a very touchy-feely person. I don’t dish out hugs every time I see someone. But believe me when I tell you a hand on the thigh or a cuddle on the couch goes a long way.
#5 BEING A MOM IS EVERYTHING, BUT…
To most mom’s our kids are everything. Whether you’re a homemaker, an entrepreneur or a corporate executive, we’re all flat-out dealing with our day and taking care of the kids. Hubby kinda has to cope with getting the last ounces of energy I have left after a long day. He already knows this he’s last in the queue. I try my best not to reinforce his suspicions.
#6 HAVE A SET DATE NIGHT, EVEN IF YOU CANCEL
Set a day in the week for date night. Ours is Wednesday. We have a standard arrangement with a babysitter every week. About 50% of the time Hubby is out-of-town and then I either hang out with a friend or use the “credit” on another day.
#7 LEARN TO LAUGH IT OFF
Still a work in progress for me. Learn to not retaliate immediately when attacked. Sometimes things are not what they seem at first. Often, I misread the tone. Other times, yes, I’m being provoked. If I shrug and respond light-heartedly the situation can be diffused. Unfortunately, “light hearted” can be hard to achieve when you’re tired, rushed and under pressure!
#8 MISS EACH OTHER
If you do everything together all the time, you end up getting up each other’s noses. Unbegrudgingly give each other space and you’ll find your time together is more appreciated and special.
#9 IT’S OK NOT TO WEAR MAKE-UP EVERY DAY
I can’t figure this one out, but he says I look nice without make-up too. I think he’s lying. I look blotchy and haggard, but it’s good to rest your skin over the weekends isn’t it?
#10 DRESS FOR YOU
I recall buying a gorgeous cashmere bat-wing top many years ago. I proudly put it on for a braai we were going to attend. When I walked into the kitchen he burst out laughing. I was furious! I stormed back into the bedroom, changed my top and ignored him until I chilled out with my first glass of wine at the braai. A similar scene played off with my first pair of harem pants which I decided not to change but mostly wore to the gym and around the house.
Sometimes guys don’t “get” fashion and looking back he probably had a point, they are a bit ridiculous! Women generally dress for ourselves (and other women), but we probably have to make them think that we want to look pretty for them every now and then.
Here’s to another ten years of marriage, compromise and ridiculous fashion.
(RELATED POST: 5 Weird things I do when hubby is away)