From 7 year itch to 8 year rash – Is your marriage worth fighting for? The truth is, only YOU know the answer to that. Allow me to give some insight. If you have followed my work for a while you will know that I prepare some words each year with regards to what marriage is teaching me. Some of those words have since been read at weddings of people I have never met which blows my mind.
We have now moved from the 7 year itch to the 8 year rash and are still hanging on in there as we celebrate being married for 8 years. 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. As my wise Mum reminded me last year, before you know it, you are celebrating your 8 year wedding anniversary and then, like my parents, your 51 years together, since that first magical moment they met in North Berwick at the dancing, where their future daughter would be performing a show all these years later. No matter the year, you won’t believe it has been that long.
There have been hard moments this year that we felt like pulling a Craig David and walking away. Times that we have both felt unheard and disconnected from each other. Days where we have given the wrong advice or said the wrong thing and soon regretted it. Moments we have been so consumed by life that we push each other to the bottom of the pile. Times when our habits and routines have clashed. It’s very easy for this to happen when you have kids to raise and lists to get through. It can be natural to put those marriage goals to the bottom of the pile. I spoke recently about a holiday that connected us again. I spoke of a sofa that fitted us perfectly. Touch is good but when you get it constantly from your kids or perhaps a pet, sometimes you forget to touch as a couple. We need to keep touching each other. To get back to the basics like holding hands and lying together having a nice chat, in each others arms. It’s good for us. It brings us closer together. I’m talking some serious skin on skin. It also gives us a hardcore boost of oxytocin.
There have been special moments too. Moments that remind us to keep fighting. Because relationships are a fight. A fight of what you can tolerate, or are prepared to tolerate in a person. What has kept us fighting? He knows me and I know him. We don’t always like each other but we know each other. We know what we need each other to tolerate or even celebrate about one another. He gets the times I am wild and calm. He understands my passion for people and my honesty, which in the past some have not been able to tolerate. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he loves it. He loves the fact that I don’t do surface level stuff. I’m too intense for some people. But he takes it with a pinch of salt. One of my biggest fears is being misunderstood, which I confessed about recently in podcast 62. We all have a deep need to be accepted and understood. All l I want is to love people and feel free to say whatever I want, to give compliments, to laugh and not take myself seriously. I like to jump into life and he let’s me. Because freedom is one of my core values. He forgives me when I make mistakes and am not the best version of myself, be that due to feeling afraid, hurt or perhaps just radge aka hormonal. I speak up when I feel he isn’t the best version of himself either and we try our best to work through it and reach a compromise. I try my best to let him be him. The honest man who can’t lie. He finds it impossible. He doesn’t play games, he refuses. He is straight up. He treats everyone with respect no matter who they are. He is kind but if you act out of line, even if you are the CEO of his company, he won’t stand for it. That’s not for everyone but I enjoy and admire that about him. I have learnt to give him space and to try and understand his time consuming routines. I appreciate his talents and encourage him to reflect on what he really wants. We are still fighting together. Working together to be honest about the type of life and marriage we both dream of. To be honest about how we really feel and the times we feel hurt. It’s those times that we need to connect more than ever. Learning to push our ego and pride aside and to be less reactive is something we both continue to improve. Mindfulness helps. Time out to be still and off our screens and the never ending to do list is essential. But marriage isn’t easy.
My challenge is simple. What can you tolerate? What do you need someone to tolerate in you? Take the time to work out what is important to you. To both of you. Because if you can tolerate the important stuff, it’s worth the fight. Be honest about what you need those closest to you to tolerate. What makes you you? They need to accept what makes you unique and even better, love it.
You can find some of my older articles about marriage at the link below
A letter about love from my Mum