As the clock struck twelve on New Years Eve, we said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed in the new year with hope, dreams and apsirations for the future. We were watching the new years celebrations kicking off in Edinburgh which prompted hubby and I to reminisce about our engagement many moons ago. Shilts and I got engaged back on New Years Eve 2004 high up in the cold and windy skies of Edinburgh as we were ‘enjoying*‘ a ride on the Ferris Wheel in Princes Street (*actually I was pretty terrified and couldn’t wait to get off it.) Fast forward 11 years and we’ve been married for 8 of those years and crikey, we’ve fit so much in since that sunny August day when we both said “I do”.
Just before our friends got married in the summer, we were asked what the secrets were to our happy marriage. I hope I can speak for both of us when I say that we’ve got a happy marriage which is a loving partnership that we’re both enjoying. It’s not always been easy, there have been times when we have both really, really annoyed each other and we’ve had to have serious discussions about our future but luckily, those times have been few and far between and we’ve come through the rough times much stronger in our relationship.
Having thought about what makes a happy marriage, Shilts and I have come up with a recipe of what keeps our marriage strong, happy and successful.
One of the characteristics that really attracted me to Shilts way back when was his humour. He made me laugh with his awful impressions (which to this day are still pretty terrible) but he’s always made an effort to make me smile and pretty much always sees the funny side to life. In those situations when you can either laugh or cry, Shilts and I will be laughing about it.
Just because we’re married, doesn’t mean we always like the same things. I’m a West Brom supporter, Shilts supports Walsall and has a Season Ticket for their home games. I love to watch reality TV programmes such as Geordie Shore and I’m a Celebrity whereas Shilts much prefers comedies with Black Adder, Frasier and Alan Partridge making me cringe every time they’re on the telly. We make allowances for each other to make each other smile. We both make compromises in our marriage to make each other happy. Shilts doesn’t always enjoy gammon for dinner but will eat it for my sake and I’ll let him have Cadbury’s chocolate mousse puddings in the fridge despite me being on a diet.
Without divulging all the gory secrets of our sex life, it’s an important part of our marriage. Sex makes us both happy, it’s a way to relieve tensions and frustrations, the intimacy of sex lets us forget about everyone and everything else in life and it’s just us two, in the moment. After 13 years together, sex is still very much on the cards; we both enjoy it, we have a lot of fun and it’s not just because we’re trying for another baby to complete our family, we both love the closeness and the health benefits it can bring.
I think it goes without saying but to have a happy marriage you need to be able to trust one another. I trust Shilts completely. I trust him to make decisions for our family, I trust him to behave himself on a night out with the lads and he trusts me just the same. It’s part of the guarantee we both gave when we married and I’m so glad that the trust on both parts is still as solid as it was when we married.
It’s not just about expecting an honest answer when asking what happened on a lads night out, it’s all about being honest with each other about pretty much everything in life. Whether it’s asking if I look decent in an outfit that doesn’t suit my body shape or opening up about stresses at work which affect our life at home, being honest with each other is an integral part of our relationship together.
Another crucial ingredient to our happy marriage is support. Over the years, both Shilts and I have had some pretty rough times. We’ve dealt with death, debt, illness, frustrating work issues, a terrifying c-section and the birth of our adorable little boy. We’ve supported each other through the thick and thin and always been there for each other with an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on (mostly Shilts’ shoulders but mine have always been there!) It’s a desire to see each other happy and offering the encouragement and relentless support along the way.
Finally, our marriage is one full of love. It sounds soppy but I couldn’t imagine anyone else that I would rather grow old with. He knows me inside out and often finishes my sentences, knows what I’m thinking before I’ll admit it out loud and puts up with my ideas and often rather impulsive ideas. I couldn’t wish for a better Father for our Son; he’s hands on and willing to have new experiences (nappy changes and potty training to name just a few) whilst offering emotional support for us both. I think when you become a Parent, the love you feel for your partner increases as you see another side to them and that is most definitely the case in our marriage. I love Shilts and would be really lost without him.
If you’re still reading, I hope you’ve not choked on all the soppy stuff. Our marriages works as we combine the ingredients of life together and fingers crossed, we continue to work at it and love each other until we’re old and (completely) grey!
*Post in association with Durex