For most of my life marriage, or children, weren’t part of my plan. By the time I met Adrian I had an 8 year old and was absolutely certain of it.
He changed my mind the fecker.
Ten years (May 25th) of good times, hard times, and two more children later, here are some thoughts on the matter.
What I love in life is multiplied in marriage, the power to make someones life better, everyday.
I don’t believe in fate so I just think we were lucky. I think the best thing you can do in any case is know yourself, be secure in you first, and don’t close yourself off to possibility.
My idea of working on a marriage is staying awake, and not taking anything for granted. Plus talking. Talking is so important, be open, that’s essential, and just say everything straight out. Forgive quickly and move on. Sometimes if I’m annoyed about something I decide I’m not speaking to him. But then I forget, or else I really badly want to tell him something. Or a million somethings.
Adrian is thoughtful, wise, and a great listener, he thinks of things I never would. He’ll do things for me because he knows I don’t like to do them, I feel like in a million big and little ways he always puts me first. And when I told him about this post he said…
We definitely don’t sweat the small stuff and we don’t really fight. When he’s annoying me I tell him.
I never annoy him.
I swear that’s what he said.
I know some people think that’s strange, that we don’t fight, but I could never be in a relationship for long where I had to fight with someone. I don’t want to fight with anyone, least of all Adrian. And I could never be or be with a jealous type.
At the end of the day it’s hard to maintain a self never mind a marriage in the face of everyday life and everything it asks of you. Especially if you have children. That’s what the fight so often is or should be, not against each other but against tiredness, the mundane, the endless demands, boredom, complacency. Every bit of post and paper, every bin and dish and pile of laundry, is like the drip, drip of water, wearing, endless. Hostility creeps and the anger is blurted or buried. And if that continues growth stops. That’s what you’re up against, you have to arm yourself.
Life is messy, family life is chaos at times. You have to accept you can’t control that, the only thing you can control is your reaction to things.
It’s helpful if you remind yourself to keep your sense of humour. When you have children you’re exhausted most of the time and the tendency is to, you know, lose your mind. Children drive everyone cracked, just keep saying to your partner, lets not lose our sense of humour, right. RIGHT!
Traditional ideas of marriage are a big turn off. I think a better plan for a relationship is lets support each others best life. In the face of all the shit, and against all the odds, lets be each others champion, lets be for each others dreams.
It helps to have an acute sense of how short life is. To go around like I do, under a cloud of existential sadness, the upside of which is ridiculous levels of joy.
I can’t get over how short it all is. Even if we get a good run it’s still going to be too short. So what a terrible thing it is then, to limit anyones life, to hold them back, for the sake of ego? Appearances? For a role?
Be an energy gatekeeper. Take responsibility for everything in your life, how you feel and the way things are. We’re all responsible for the energy we bring in the house.
If mine is bad I will say it. I will call it out. You can do that for your partner too. It’s the modern day equivalent of saying, wipe your muddy boots before you come in the house, only I say that one as well.
You have to care about each others happiness. Check in regularly. How are things going here? Is everyone happy? How can we do better? Have high standards for the things that make people feel good. That’s your power. You have to be conscious of that if you want a good life.
Practice radical presence, that is high awareness/gratitude/wakefulness. For me this is mostly unconscious, though intentional too. Intentional works, just as well. Even if one person does it both will be benefit, unless they’re an energy vampire. And down with that sort of thing.
Beware of those people who need you to be less so they can feel strong. You want someone who can take you as you are, an equal, and then be with you as you change and grow together, in full expectation and hope that you will, without feeling threatened by your shine.
And you have to see the other person as separate, always. They are other, they are free.
There are men who want a trophy wife. My view is that long term an intelligent person needs an intelligent equal partner. And an intelligent woman always needs an intelligent modern man. Preferably a younger man. Not counting (for me) Kevin Bacon. Or Viggo Mortensen.
Ten years feels special. Maybe because it’s a round number, maybe because it’s a long time. We’ve been through a lot together, we’ve had our children, and this feels like a really good time for us. We’re grateful, we’re happy. I think we’ll keep going another while.
And that my friends, is as close to the yucky love stuff as I’m likely to get. But not bad right?