What I’ve learnt from 10 years of marriage

This blog post is dedicated to my baby brother, A, and his wife of (just over) a week, E.

In August Hubs and I celebrated being husband and wife for a whopping 10 years. I’m still not sure where the time has gone. Since then and especially with my baby brother’s wedding last weekend, I’ve been thinking about our marriage, how it’s changed, how we’ve changed and what I’ve learnt over these 10 years. So here goes:

A lovely natural photo captured by a friend on our wedding day
2003: A lovely natural photo captured by a friend on our wedding day

Don’t fall asleep or say goodbye on an argument. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Life is too short, you don’t know what time you have left together, so by all means have the arguments, take time to cool off in separate rooms, but then make up.

A year later at a friend's wedding.
2004: At a friend’s wedding

Compromise is key. As much as you are crazy about each other, there will always be things you don’t see eye to eye on, so the only way to survive is compromise.

2005: In Sri Lanka, on holiday.
2005: In Sri Lanka, on holiday.

Talk, talk, talk. Communication is the secret to a successful marriage. Don’t bottle things up, talk about your dreams, your plans, your goals. Talk about things that upset you, don’t expect your partner to just know.

2006: On our way to a friend's wedding, 5 months pregnant with L.
2006: On our way to a friend’s wedding, 5 months pregnant with L.

Go on holiday. Sometimes it is better to dip into your savings to have a holiday together, to take time to reconnect as a couple, we have found that our holidays are like marriage therapy, we are so much closer after each holiday. And to us, that is worth far more than anything else that money could buy.

2007: With an 8 month old L
2007: With an 8 month old L

Learn to adapt when/if you have kids. Children will change your lives. You will change as a person. You will change as a couple. Work together on it and you’ll be stronger, ignore the changes and it could be the end of the marriage. We went through some rocky patches after having L (it’s been easier second time round), and you do have to work extra hard if/when you have kids.

2008: At a firework display in Cannes.
2008: At a firework display in Cannes.

Have weekly date nights. We were given a great book as a wedding present from the church in the UK where we had a wedding blessing (following our French wedding), “60 minute marriage“, and this book has helped us in many ways throughout our marriage. The main thing it taught us is to have a date night once a week – the author is very strict as he says no TV, no phones, just reconnecting. We are a bit more relaxed and don’t always make it every week, but probably once a fortnight. Over the years our date nights have varied depending on how much money we’ve got, but anyone can have a date night, even on zero budget. Put the kids to bed, have a nice meal, put on some nice music, maybe light some candles, eat, chat, enjoy each other’s company, ban all talk about work, household chores and to do lists. Sometimes we’ll put a film on and curl up on the sofa, other times we’ll stay at the table all evening, eating, drinking and talking. When we moved to London, were working full-time (so had money) and had a live in au pair we would go out pretty much once a week – to the cinema, a show, a restaurant, a walk around the sights of central London if the weather was good. It doesn’t matter what you do but put one evening aside a week/fortnight for date night.

2009: With Hubs and a 3 year old L
2009: With Hubs and a 3 year old L

Don’t let work take over. In the same book, the author talks about work and marriage. He says no one on their deathbed ever regretted not spending enough time at the office. It is easy for work to take precedence, everyone is under pressure (now more than ever), work takes up far more of our waking hours than anything else but don’t let it take over your life and your marriage. Something to remind ourselves of every now and then.

2010: Our penultimate day in France before relocating to the UK
2010: Our penultimate day in France before relocating to the UK

Be selfish. Whilst it’s important to be there for your kids, it’s also important to be selfish and to think about yourself from time to time. Once every 3 weeks we have a “me day”, a day to ourselves to do whatever we want – lie in bed all day, go shopping, to the cinema, out with friends, an all day TV-athon. Whilst one of us has a me day the other one deals with the girls, and it is a fantastic way to recharge your batteries and to come back to the marriage and family unit full of energy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

2011: Villefranche beach - back in the South of France for a winter family holiday
2011: Villefranche beach – back in the South of France for a winter family holiday

Do little things for each other. It’s really easy to start taking each other for granted after a while, but by doing little things for your husband/wife shows how much you still care, even if work and life does sometimes take over. Just yesterday morning I was hungover and tired after a big night out, Hubs took the girls downstairs to breakfast and then brought me a bacon and egg butty in bed. It’s just a little message to say I’m thinking about you and still love you, even in this hectic world we now live in.

2012: On holiday, pregnant with C
2012: On holiday, pregnant with C

Keep making an effort for each other. It’s easy to lapse into wearing greying undies and to slob out, but it’s important to keep the magic alive. I would be gutted if my sexy groom from 2003 let himself go and stopped making an effort so I try to do the same for him. It’s easier said than done because you get comfortable with each other, the pounds/kilos creep on and there doesn’t seem much point in buying nice, sexy undies, but I do think it shows a lack of respect for your husband/wife if you can’t be the best you for them. I’m not saying we’re perfect in this aspect but we do try, and I have to say that Hubs is as gorgeous and sexy now – if not more so – as he was when I said “I do” to him 10 years ago.

2013: Married for 10 years and celebrating baby brother's wedding last week
2013: Married for 10 years and celebrating baby brother’s wedding last week

Look to the future together but enjoy the present. It’s great to make plans for the future together, be it holidays, career changes or pipe dreams, but don’t forget to live in the now. It sometimes seems that life is a never-ending hamster wheel but do take time to smell the flowers and just live and be together, if you are with someone who you love and who loves you back then you are a very lucky person already.

I am so lucky in my marriage as Hubs is incredible, and whilst neither of us is perfect, and we drive each other demented at times, we are also equal partners and soul mates, as well as best friends, and long may that last.

Just a little nod to my parents here, as I couldn’t really write a post like this without mentioning them, as they were my first and are still my main role model when it comes to marriage – next June they will have been married for 45 years, they have 5 kids, 5 grandkids and are still going strong and are clearly still in love, as you can see at my brother’s wedding last weekend:

My goal: to be as happy as them in 30 years time.
My goal: to be as happy as them in 30 years’ time.

There have been so many magic moments during our 10 year marriage so I’m linking up to The Oliver’s Madhouse magic moments:

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43 thoughts on “What I’ve learnt from 10 years of marriage”

    1. Congrats on your 11 years! I’m glad you like the advice and that it rings true for others too :-)

  1. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! You are a beautiful couple and seem very much in love… and happy!

    And thank you for sharing your tips, I’m sure they will be useful to a lot of people.

    1. Thanks! Wow, that’s a compliment from someone with so many years on the clock :-)

  2. Some really great advice – marriage takes work, although hopefully not too much if you are simply aware of each other’s needs and don’t take each other for granted!
    Congratualations on 10 years. I too hope to be still very happy with my husband after 30 years and more!
    Nicola Robson recently posted…Magic Moments – HomeworkMy Profile

  3. What an absolutely, lovely fabulous post. I was gutted when it came to the end as I just wanted to keep on reading. This is one of those posts that you keep referring back to when you need a boost or a cheering up. Absolutely blinkin’ fab :) #MagicMoments

  4. I have commented previously but it hasn’t gone across. I said that this was an absolutely, lovely, fab post. I enjoyed reading it and admit to being a bit gutted when it ended. It’s one of those posts that you can refer back to when you need cheering up. Absolutely loved it :)

  5. Congrats on 10 years!!And great pictures!!! I only got engaged and will def bookmark this lovely post of yours to look back and show it to my fiancee i think those words are such great advice!!! thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks! I hope it helps – sometimes it’s good to take a step back and check everything is on track ;-)

  6. Happy anniversary. Some brilliant advice there, you’ve had me thinking about things we should be doing more. We always let date night slide more often than not. Think we need to put this back on schedule and definitely ban our phones. Lovely photos x

    1. Thanks, hope it helps. Sometimes we all need a kick up the backside to take stock. Yay for date night :-)

  7. Congratulations!! Love the idea of a weekly date night – I think our last one was in January lol!!

    1. Thanks. At times we’ve totally had to bribe L to stay in her room so we can have some kind of a date night!

  8. What a brilliant post – and good advice.

    My partner and i got married two weeks ago, after being together for 10 years! We actually had our very first holiday together (without our children) too, and after joking that we’d have nothing to talk about without the kids, we realised how much fun we have together and just how important it is to have some ‘couple time’. We had a blast – it made me feel like a 20 year old again.

    Congratulations on your anniversary!
    Gemma recently posted…Krakow Honeymoon: chapter oneMy Profile

    1. Thanks. Congrats on your recent wedding too! I love our date nights as it does take you back to why you got together with your other half in the first place.

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