I have not kept all my marriage vows.
Those who know me well will not be surprised and probably know which one I have broken already. In my defence, I tried my best to get out of it the night before the wedding, but our minister said it would require a special dispensation from the Bishop! So, there was no way but go through with it.
I did not want to OBEY. I think most of my female readers can understand that. When the time came to ‘love honour and …’, I crossed my fingers at the back (so it didn’t count!) as I repeated the word OBEY, said with a smile and very loudly by our minister.
I was reminded of all this as I watched two lovely, young people ‘pledge their troth’ (meaning, by the way, promising faithfulness) last week. Of course, ‘obey’ has long gone. But the rest, with allowance for some deviations, is more or less the same.
Anyway, I had plenty of reasons to reminisce as GG and I celebrated 35 years of marriage a few days later. I still love him and am still madly in love with him too. Of course, there are times when he drives me bonkers (as I do him, I imagine). The truth is that no marriage or relationship is perfect. And some just don’t work out, but that is another blog post.
Everybody has to work at their relationships…some harder than others. My daughters and some of my friends think my GG is a saint, but I remind them that when I married him he was far from perfect and what they see now is the result of years of training!
Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the subject:
Like everything else (skincare, exercise, make-up), what works for me might be hell for you.
HINTS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE
1 Let’s get physical
If you still still enjoy an active sex life, that is wonderful and seemingly good for your general health too (who knew?), but if that does not work for you, hugging and kissing and holding hands and cuddling in front of the telly are equally important. Never let that go.
2 Laughter is the best medicine
Having a sense of humour and seeing the funny side of life is vital to get you through what life throws at you.
We tease each other all the time and because we don’t have real arguments very often, we tend to ‘mock argue’. Our girls, when young, used to get upset thinking we were really fighting.
Being kind to each other goes a long way. Graham always makes me feel cherished with his words. Love can also be shown in the little things you do. GG makes me hot water with lemon and ginger and brings it to me in bed every morning. (It could be because he wants to watch SKY Sports in peace!)
4 Don’t hold grudges
Having seen what holding grudges and being stubborn can do to relationships, we always let bygones be bygones. If Graham ever annoyed me, I always tried to get some exercise, so it could have been a walk with a friend willing to let me do all the talking, or bashing the hell out of a ball on the tennis court. It rarely failed. Usually, I returned ready to sort out our differences or willing to forget it all.
5 Try not to go to sleep on an argument
In the early years when we had a disagreement, Graham would fall asleep and I would lie there upset. Eventually, following much shuffling and turning and a few inadvertent kicks, he would wake up and say he was sorry! And we would make up!! I did apologise too when I was at fault (not as often, naturally!) and wake him up. He was always the one sleeping, though.
6 Having similar and different interests
It is good to enjoy some common hobbies, but it is equally important to have different interests. Graham refuses to play bridge, for instance, while I have no interest in sailing. Now that we are both retired, it means we have time out away from each other and plenty to chat about when together.
7 Talk it through
In any relationship, being honest about your feelings is very important. Talking is king.
8 Cherish the small things
We too promised ‘To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death us do part.”
No one gets through life, let alone marriage, without problems or curve balls. We have had our share of them, (all of the above), but we always tried to find something to appreciate and enjoy in every day. And remember why you fell in love. That is the real secret.