Today we celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. I’ve written a lot about what relationships have taught me over the years, it would be easy to fill a book. With a decade of marriage comes crazy highs, lows, everything in between and so many lessons. Get comfy and jump in for some of my favourites.
It’s very easy to post a passionate selfie in the heat of the moment but it’s hard to hold on tightly through a crisis. These are the times that will really test you, show you the strength of your love and the resilience within you. Sometimes you need to fasten your seatbelt as you dive into a dark pit, holding on tight until you come out the other side. Every love story is unique but it’s the tough times which teach us what love means. Love will always out live passion. It’s so easy to make up stories in your head. Perhaps you put people you don’t really know, who post passionate selfies, on a pedestal. Never compare. Love is an action word, not an emotion word. It’s the actions that will keep you together. Sometimes you don’t know true passion until you have seen each other sob like a small child and fall apart. Falling apart is as important as falling in love. It’s what allows us to build new walls. Stronger walls that can take you through and into a new decade. A decade filled with new lessons and opportunities.
The little, consistent things turn out to be the big things. Like the simple acts of care we do repeatedly for years and years such as cooking a favourite meal (great food isn’t just the way to a man’s heart), helping to put sunscreen on each other’s back, catching any hairs missed when shaving or giving your jumper to the person who feels cold.
(He wears my jumper well).
It’s about the little routines that build over the years and are adapted over time. It’s about those little private jokes, some that you forget and others that stick.
Breakfast in bed on a lazy bank holiday felt pretty huge, even though it didn’t take much. Small acts of kindness matter. Appreciating small acts of kindness matters too, it can be so easy to take the little things for granted.
If you are feeling irritable and tired, car journeys together should be avoided where possible. There is something about confined spaces that can make us snap. Know your weaknesses and triggers. Sometimes you need a cave and you need space. Space alone is just as important as time together.
If you experience PMS, it’s great to track those days that the hormones surge and schedule in some time apart. Plan in time to slow down and unwind, take more baths, start a good book, fill your mind and body with nice things.
Everyone has an opinion, the most important opinions are the two people in the marriage. It’s important to make time for both opinions to be heard. They say arguing is a sign of closeness. But often arguing can be avoided if you make time to talk, be super honest and set clear boundaries before negative feelings build. Sometimes you will have to give or listen to advice that one of you is not ready to hear, advice that deep down you know is true. We often get the best advice from those that know and love us the most.
When you are raising kids or busy with work and other goals, it can sometimes feel impossible to make time to talk. Sometimes it feels like that last thing you want to do or the last thing you have time for. But like all other good habits, if you stay consistent with it, you feel good and see results. If you stop, things can get a bit sore and uncomfortable.
Raising young kids can be a bit of a passion killer, some days you are literally just getting through and that is ok. Be kind to yourself. Hold onto the little magic moments and focus on small wins on the tough days.
Sometimes illness or stress can cloud your mind and stop you from thinking clearly. Sometimes you need rest or care before you can communicate properly and make big decisions. See my blog about sickness and mental health – I am super proud of this and so glad to hear it has helped others).
We all have mental health. Burnout can hit when you least expect. It’s great to encourage each other to get rest, protect your sleep, eat good food, exercise and make time for friends and family. A spa day is an amazing way to spend time as a couple.
Both of you will grow and change each year, never mind in a decade. There are times you will clash and find bumps in the road as you evolve and learn new lessons. It can be easy to grow apart. But that fire, that spark and those qualities that pulled you in and drew you to that person are still there. You just need to remember how to wake them up. If this feels too hard, then there is no shame in asking for professional help so you can be guided on the best way forward for both of you.
As complex humans, we experience so many emotions. It’s easy to love when we feel joy and happiness. Anger, hurt and fear can make us act like an asshole. So can tiredness. Everyone screws up from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself or each other.
It’s important to make a bit of effort to schedule in the time for fun. An annual two week holiday isn’t enough to sustain a marriage. Sometimes you need to mix it up, try new things that you enjoyed as a kid such as going for bike rides, jumping in the sea, walking in new places and playing cards or dominoes. Some days you need to pick up a couple of tennis rackets, head outside and have a laugh. It might just become a new habit that gives you permission to step away from the doing and into the being. These simple things don’t take up much time but they make a huge difference.
Keep laughing with each other. Self awareness about our flaws is key. When we can observe them and laugh about them, it helps us to feel lighter. Laugh a little as often as you can about those silly little habits, even the most annoying ones.
Jojo Fraser is an award-winning author, podcaster and keynote speaker, dubbed as ‘the Queen of positivity and a kindness advocate. She is a Tedx speaker and a regular speaker on BBC Radio. Jojo is known for normalising discussions around our mental health, making it accessible and relatable to all. She has quickly grown a reputation for having a huge impact even on the most sceptical of people. She has a huge passion for helping people to get their mojo back.
Contact her at – firstname.lastname@example.org or across social @jojofrasermojo
Follow Jojo’s popular podcast here, which is dubbed by her global listeners as ‘free therapy’. A new series will launch in Autumn.