It occurs to me that this is perhaps more of a milestone than I had appreciated as despite many glorious highs and deep, dark lows over the years I have never thought we wouldn’t make it through those moments together, and get to the other side. I suspect no one else would put up with either of us! So, while speaking with Mr F I wondered out loud how we’ve managed what so many people haven’t…
Below are our collective thoughts about what has meant we got to this wonderful day – and hope to get to 30 years and more.
Laugh – you have to have a sense of humour to live with any human being for any length of time. If you share the same delights and see the funny side of things together that’s a double bonus, but whatever makes you laugh you need to make sure happens for you often.
Talk and Listen – there is MUCH that we don’t agree on, and regularly have to agree to disagree… but that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge when something is important to the other person and respond accordingly. You also need to check in with each other often, life with a young family or a busy job means you may go for days or weeks without really communicating effectively and frustrations or fears can build quickly. We learnt this the hard way as a military family before email or texting, good old fashioned letters meant we could go for many days without hearing from each other. I really feel that has had a lasting impact, and we now appreciate that we can talk face to face.
Hold hands – there must be physical contact and connection. Humans need physical touch, and what makes a relationship different from just a friendship is usually the intimacy… so do that, as much as you can – and if you can’t then talk about it while having a hug. It’s an important part of early relationships and easy to loose sense of with children and little alone time while you both awake. Turn off the tv and put your phone down once in a while x Demonstrating affection while out and about and in front of the children also gives them a good sense of how a positive relationship works, and can be very comforting. It’s also hugely embarrassing at a certain age – but that’s no reason to stop 😉
Play the Long game – we have seen lots of couples spend so much time and money planning a wedding, but not a murmur about the day after and beyond. If you really are committing to this one person for the rest of your life you need to think about how that might go!
Keep a list – it’s very easy to mentally check off all the annoying habits of your partner, we all have them and without a happy list they can beprrak any relationship. So make sure you also keep a happy list…the things about that person you love and admire. I’m regularly driven crazy by Mr F having a long shower with the door locked on school days while I try to get four kids dressed and ready, but that doesn’t outweigh the amazing things he does for us all, his generous nature and adventurous spirit. Whenever I feel frustrated by a small event I try to list in my head all the much more important qualities and actions that I love in him.
Take a break – when two people get married, they are still two separate people, with their own interests and passions. It’s healthy to take some time to be your own person, especially if you are parents and time and attention are already stretched in many directions. This might mean joining a social group, having the odd afternoon or night away or meeting up with friends. It’s important to pursue your own goals, working together to make sure everyone has space at some point. You also need some time as a couple if you are parenting, it’s so easy to forget that once the kids leave home it will be the two of you again – and you may not recognise each other!
We are no experts, and have had disagreements and fallen out many times, but we are both committed to each other and our family and helping each other to be their best – more on this when we start our new topic about Frugal Self Care after the holidays x