Today is my wedding anniversary.
43 years ago today we said ‘I do!’
(and yes, I was a child bride!)
How does 43 years go by so fast? I have been pondering that question for the last few years.
One minute I was up to my elbows washing the nappies of my four babies and the next I’m changing the disposable nappy of my tenth grandchild!!
When I walked down the aisle all those years ago I knew what marriage was all about.
Of course I did.
I’d read the fairy stories, I’d seen the movies, I’d watched The Brady Bunch etc, I had immersed myself in my friend’s family, I wasn’t walking into marriage totally unaware!
As an only child, I was not used to debating with someone to get my needs met. When I grew up I was just told what to do, at home by my mother and then by the nuns – no questions asked.
Married life was certainly no ‘picnic’, no ‘walk in the park’ and there was definitely no fairytale ending when we walked off into the sunset after our wedding reception.
We were very young when we got married. My husband has admitted over the years that he had no idea what he was getting himself in for, that he was much too young and too immature.
We got married on 24th June, 1972 and set out on married life with a 13 month old son and a few hundred dollars in the bank. There were many people at the time who said ‘it won’t last’ and to them I would like to say, ’43 years and counting!’
I was very definite that I was going to be a stay at home mother. I was not going to let someone else bring up my child. So my husband had two jobs and he was studying at what was then called Tech (Tafe)
What that meant was that he came home only to catch a few hours sleep and then go again. So I was doing the parenting single handedly.
My reason for writing this is not to pat myself, or us, on the back, I was guided to write this because there maybe one person out there who is meant to read this.
Married life is tough. Living with someone is tough. When you live with someone you can’t do whatever you want, when you want it.
This past 43 years has certainly not been easy. Marriage is hard work and yes you have to work at it.
There were many times when I wanted to walk out (and once when I did)
There were many times I refrained from tipping his dinner over his head because he had commented ‘next time you make this can I suggest….’
He drove me to distraction many times ~ and I know I did the same to him!
We are not the same people that we were when we made those vows at the altar. We have grown, we have evolved, we have changed. We have things in common and we have things that we do individually.
You need space in a relationship. You can’t be together 24/7.
OK let me rephrase that. Maybe some couples can be together all the time but that is not our experience. We need our space. He loves cricket. I hate it, I mean I really hate it (there’s a story attached to that why).
He loves watching sport on TV and probably because of that I hate watching any sport on TV.
Now we allow each other that space. Then we come together and do things as a couple. We love to travel, we get on extremely well when we are travelling and discovering new places. We love getting together with our family. We love having guests.
The reason we get on so much better now is because I have worked on myself. I have done courses and workshops all designed to heal me, to heal the part of me that was ‘broken’.
We can’t change anyone else.
We can’t change anyone but ourselves. I know this from first-hand experience, I have the guernsey, as they say in sporting terms, because for years I tried.
Finally when I stopped trying to change him and started to work on changing myself….
a miracle happened!
He started to change
He is not ‘into’ any of the stuff I do. I don’t think he knows half of it ~ but that is his choice.
This morning I was given a box of Derwent 36 coloured pencils and an adults colouring book.
I had always wanted the large box of Derwent pencils when I was at school but it was something only the ‘rich’ kids had. Over the years I have joked with other friend’s that the reason I don’t know the difference in the colour shades is because I only had the basic colours with no shades, so therefore didn’t learn them.
He also gave me a Zen Colouring book, advanced art therapy, colouring for grown-ups. He told me he bought this book because I always doodle flowers.
I was so touched by this gift. It wasn’t diamonds and it wasn’t hideously expensive but it touched a place deep in my heart because someone has ‘seen’ me, has ‘heard’ me (something I battled with for years but that story is for another time). It touched me mainly because the gift had come from his heart, he had put some thought into it and he had bought something beforehand rather than on the day so that was ready to give me in the morning when I woke up.
Yes, so much has changed in the last 43 years.
To quote those famous words, ‘It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.’
Now 43 years later I have a husband; four children; their four partners and ten beautiful grandchildren. I have created the life that little only child always dreamt of, to be surrounded by family.
When I look back to that 19 year old getting ready for her wedding day I can tell her that she will get her happy ending ~ it will just take much longer than she thinks.
But hang in there because in the end it will be so much better than you ever imagined!