Today Hubs and I celebrate our 7-year wedding anniversary. Each year, I like to share an insight about what marriage has taught me, as we reach another milestone.
Recently a bunch of roses arrived randomly at the door for my Mum. She thought they were from me because her and Dad were babysitting that night. It turns out they were from my Dad, because it was 50 years since the day they first met. It melted my heart. But that’s Dad, he always thinks of that little bit of magic. Likewise, my Mum does amazing things for him too, like bringing him tea and toast up to bed each morning. They are both magic in many ways. We all have a bit of magic in us.
I asked my parents for some words of wisdom as we reach our 7-year anniversary. If you tuned into my podcast this week, you will know this is a high-risk period for many marriages, according to the stats. We had a bit of a chat and then the following week, my Mum handed me a letter. Initially I was a bit scared. It must be important if she had taken time to put pen to paper. I read the letter on my own at home. I then gave it to Hubs. I won’t share it with you all, because contrary to popular belief, I do like to keep a lot of things close to my chest. Even if my first book is called UNCUT, even if I am dubbed ‘hilariously honest’. There are ways to share and be open and real, without sharing every little piece of your soul.
What I will share are some important reminders, in my own words, from what was a beautiful letter that I shall keep forever. I’m that person who buys a box marked ‘cards to cherish’. True story.
Thoughts on marriage, 7 years in
Bitterness and irritation can build. We don’t have to let it. Speak out before it gets worse. Share how you feel. Take the time to sit and share what is bothering you. Communication is one of the most powerful tools in a marriage, yet it is the most underused. Take yourself back to your wedding day or the first time you met. How did you feel? Underneath you are both still the same people. We change and grow but the fundamentals are still there.
Try to put yourself in the mind of your partner. Try and consider what they are going through, even if you think differently and struggle to understand it. You have a different mind and that is ok but sometimes we need to think about how our words and actions will impact the person we chose to spend the rest of our life with.
Marriage and relationships are a lot like running a marathon or writing a book. One step and one word at a time. We have to take each day as it comes. Before you know it, you are celebrating your 7 year wedding anniversary and then, like my parents, your 50 years. No matter the year, you won’t believe it has been that long.
Good times and hard times come and they go. Hold on and have a little faith. In chapter 8 of my book, I kick off with some words from a verse in the greatest self-help book of all time: the bible.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
Which brings me to faith.
My parents pray together. A lot. They pray in bed together every morning. Prayer has given them strength, it has bonded them. To quote Mum ‘we have had more prayers answers than we ever realise’. Their faith has got them through the dark days. Maybe you don’t pray, maybe you prefer to call it meditation. Maybe you don’t know who to picture when you are praying. What does God look like in your head? Maybe you never take time to sit and pray or meditate. When we pray it is an act of faith. It is a way to express our hopes and fears and to focus on and think of others. My parents always pray for others. If I tell them someone is hurting physically or mentally, they pray. Whilst praying for others is a selfless act, it’s also really good for you.
My parents have taught me the meaning of unconditional love and by watching them, they are proof to me that God exists.
Our marriage isn’t perfect, whilst it can be so easy to put couples on a pedestal, the perfect marriage does not exist. I think my parents have a winning combination though – faith and love. Thanks Mum for your life-changing letter.