Reflections on 10 years of marriage

Credit: digitalart

We’re celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this week. It’s a funny kind of milestone, since we’ve actually been together for 16 years (and have known each other for more than 20), but I’m a sentimental sucker so we went out for a nice meal and had a great evening. As we shared a few glasses of champagne I reflected on what particular brand of magic (or prayer!) helped us make it through the past decade which included: one move, two babies, one crib (unused), two diagnoses, five nannies, and the same old double bed.

My best friend often talks about 90% of parenthood being about ‘showing up’ and I believe her. Parenthood isn’t just about the big moments, like Ryan learning to ride a two-wheeler, it’s about all the little insignificant moments in between – the teeth brushing, story reading, bum wiping, sock sorting, lego picking upping, lunch packing, and sunscreen applying. In short, the stuff of daily life.

As I enjoyed a second, much deserved glass of champagne last night I realized the same held true for marriage – 90% of it is showing up. We just need to show up for slightly different things – like listening to each other’s work stories, or remembering to compliment, or to apologize, or to ask for something. And it’s not just about ‘being there,’ it’s about actually being present.

Here’s a few things that have helped with that:

  • Date night. Yes, it’s trite, but we have a weekly date night. I’d be embarrassed about it, but it really works! It’s the one night where we go out and talk, laugh, and leave our ‘business meetings’ about life and scheduling behind. Some of our friends book a night at home so there’s no sitter cost and that’s great too. I work from home, so I need to get out. We have a standing order with a babysitter and that’s worked for us.
  • Shared interests. We are nerds who love a lot of the same things in life: politics, newspapers, camping, birds, stars… it’s made a big difference in our ability to enjoy each other’s company and connect during good times and bad.
  • Anything said in the dark doesn’t count. This started when the boys were babies and in our bed and NOT sleeping. If the light is out there’s an amnesty on any cussing or complaining that takes place. Next morning is a new day.
  • Friends. Hanging out with friends really takes the pressure off your primary relationship. It also puts life back into perspective.
  • Self-care. When I started exercising again my outlook on life improved dramatically. When I started meditating the same thing happened.

I’m sure my friends are laughing as they read this post, since I’m certainly not a poster child for the ideal marriage, but I’m ‘dancing with the one who brung me’ and feeling really good about that. We’re laughing together. Crying together. Sometimes yelling together (or at each other). In short, we’re showing up – each and every day.

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5 Comments

Filed under Family, Self-care

5 responses to “Reflections on 10 years of marriage

  1. Congratulations on your 10 years of marriage. Good for you! That’s a great achievement.
    Like your list.Would like to add two more ideas

    Personal money – Money is one of the biggest sources of marital conflict. When each of you has a little money to use as you will, it cuts down on conflict and resentment (ie “You spent our money on THAT?…”)

    Be sure to talk – Expressing positive things builds strength in a relationship, and expressing little problems helps to catch them before they become big ones

    We just celebrated 22 last week (between an earthquake and a hurricane.)
    Hope this helps
    Catherine
    Foresight

    • Great suggestions Catherine. Thanks so much for responding. You’re right about money. And talking is key. A marriage counsellor once told me ‘The issues that you have now will always be the issues you struggle with. It’s how you handle them that makes the difference.’ Talk. Talk. Talk. Well…maybe not that much. It would drive Mike crazy! Thanks and congrats on 22 years. Wonderful!
      Anne-Marie

  2. Anne-Marie, I really love your story. And, it couldn’t be more true! I’ve had it both ways–a terrible marriage and, now, a fantastic marriage. God blessed me with a second chance,and this time, with someone who loves and respects me and is, as you say, present in our relationship. I completely adore Peter and can’t imagine what life would look like without him. We have always had a date night, and we wake up each and every single morning saying, “good morning, my love, did you sleep well, only three ( or however many) more days until date night!” We still make each other laugh and we support each other in everything we do. We, too, have many things in common, so it makes for some very passionate discussions and animated brainstorming sessions. We are each other’s biggest fan! We share the same morals and values. We talk, we don’t yell and we know that we can always work things out…together. Peter taught me one really important lesson: “You do what you do and I’ll do what I do.” It’s actually a line from a movie, but it works. It doesn’t mean that you live your life and I’ll live mine (that wouldn’t be much of a relationship). It means that if you prefer to take your vitamins at night, do so and don’t bug me if I prefer to take mine in the morning. Stuff like that. Boy, I can’t tell you how often that little line comes up in my head…like when I think he needs a haircut, but he’s not even going to start thinking about it for another two weeks. He does what he does and I respect him enough to give him his freedom to make these little decisions himself. And, he does the same for me. We don’t believe in sarcasm, nagging or judging each other. I’ve so often heard of couples fighting over the really silly little things…what a waste of time! Oh, and yes, we still hold hands when we go for our evening walks; we hold hands throughout every single movie that we go to (which we do about once a week); and, we always wave and blow kisses from the window or door when one of us is leaving (even when he’s only going to Timmies or I’m off to Shopper’s Drugmart. One thing I learned on my own (after 63 years I should have learned something!) is that you don’t go looking for happiness, you create it…for yourself and for others. Anne-Marie, I knew you were happy just by looking at your family photos. I wish you many many more decades of love, laughter and good health. Happy Anniversary! God bless, Gloria xo

    • Oh Gloria thanks so much for writing and sharing this. Your quote ‘You do what you do and I’ll do what I do’ will really stick with me. It’s so true that we often spend our time fighting against a person’s personal choices. I don’t really know why?! Do we really want everyone to be like us? I don’t think so. A lovely, lovely response. Made my day. Much love to you and Peter.
      Anne-Marie

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