You may have noticed this picture already on Facebook because today is my tenth wedding anniversary! *yay for us* I look back at these pictures and it makes me realise just how much things have changed in just ten years - ten years sound like a long time but for me, honestly it's just flown in and I suppose that alone is a positive because they do say things fly by when you're having fun.
Hubster and I married when we were in our early twenties, having known each other since we were eight or nine years old. I never could have imagined it would be the boy that always wears football trainers and tracksuit bottoms that I'd marry because I never looked at him as anything other than being Lee, the boy we played with sometimes. For our young ages I would definitely say we were far more independent and wise for our age - old souls I call it; we just knew marriage, kids and the whole picket fence thing was what we wanted in life and never once did we question our choices or regret doing everything so young. Over the last ten years we've definitely got stronger, I could never imagine my life without him - he's the knee cap to my legs, the brain to my head and the heart to my chest; he's definitely the calming yin to my fiery yang but over time we've both taken on various aspects of each other making us both better people as a whole.
We've had three bouncing baby boys, not always the easiest thing but definitely the best - having struggled to conceive at one point we worried we would never have children and were put on the list to get Clomid (forces ovulation, normally the step prior to IVF). It was then that our gorgeous little Cole came and Cooper followed 11 months behind him (Irish twins I believe it's called when there's less than a year between births?) - Rome decided to join our crazy gang in 2009 making us complete.
We've had struggles, we've had health problems and we've lost people we love - together we pulled through everything that was ever thrown our way coming out the other side as better people. I've been asked before what our 'secret' is and decided I'd make it today's feature due to it also being our anniversary date.
Realistic Goals // If you both have individual goals in life then you will both have something to help each other grow on. Normally a good foundation is grown on goals, dreams and hopes and wishes for the future. Achieving each one and setting new goals will keep you both moving forward in life together of course. Hubster and I had completely random goals, he wanted to watch certain football teams in person, I wanted to achieve further education and go to college, we both wanted to move closer to where we were born and our major goal in life was to work towards having a baby - this took many years.
Communication // Take time each day to talk. Talking is the glue to your relationship and although it maybe difficult at first it definitely becomes easier the more regularly you do it. I've known people who don't talk for fear of upsetting their partner, for fear of disappointing their partner or causing them excess worry - this doesn't work as hiding things will cause one person to become stressed which then affects the relationship as a whole. As they say a problem halved is a problem solved.
Selfishness Doesn't Work // When you start to view yourself as being 'above' your partner then you should reassess where you're heading. Some thing they're 'prettier' that the other person is lucky to have snatched some a looker, some believe they should get it easier because they earn more or that the other partner should do x, y or z because they do less than the other partner. This frame of mind is so destructive - You are a whole! you're both lucky to have 'found' each other, you both bring things to the table whether it be the homemaker who pays the bills and keeps the house running or the partner who works longer hours or earns more, both parties play a part in the running of the relationship and like a good oiled machine both parties keep their machine running smoothly. When one changes the rules then the machine starts to struggle, the flow is stopped and it may break! Understanding what strengths your partner brings to you, your relationship and your future is so important.
Acceptance // Maybe your partner has a flaw, buys too many shoes, snores loudly at night, keeps the cap of the toothpaste or leaves wet towels on the floor. Communication should work here especially if you explain why it frustrates you and if it's a worry explain why - give them the opportunity to tell you what it is you do that annoys them and don't take it to heart, see it as positive feedback and BOTH work on making little changes to continue moving forward- you would absolutely work in this way in the workplace so why should it be different at home?
Romance // Stresses, strains, fall outs, family and friends getting on your nerves, lack of sleep, your partner not doing anything to help, breakdown in communication? Don't let romance fall to the wayside. Romance doesn't necessarily mean having sex, it could mean going out on a date night, snuggling up and watching a film, getting in a takeaway, doing something fun like sky diving or orbing - romance in it's simplest form is taking time to make the other person feel special, eye to eye contact, touching each other, showing them that they're loved and that everything else doesn't matter, even if it is just for a few hours a week. Making time is so important because both parties need to know that they're loved and knowing that you're loved and supported is so important when things get tough.
Memories // Making memories together will always keep you communicating. Take photo's, talk about things you've done and things you aim to do. Memories really are what glue your past together and the goals are what keep you together in the future, romance and communication is as you guessed what keeps your present flowing.
Don't Sweat The Small Stuff // You fall out, your partner doesn't apologise straight away or maybe you're just sick and tired of what they wear - you'd love them to look completely stylish and up to date, you'd love them to want to chase One Direction across the country or maybe you're offended that they dislike your new haircut -my answer - don't sweat it. These are changeable things and not hugely important. Just because they dislike your haircut or your latest celebrity crush doesn't mean they love you any less. Don't sweat it guys.
Intimacy // Following on from romance is intimacy, this is all about the kissing, the touching and the sex. Making time for each others 'needs' is important, guys are more weiner driven ladies so you need account for the third party in your relationship and similarly the guy needs to attend to our ladies needs rather than wham-bam-thank you mam. I don't need to really go any further do I?
Be Silly // Being able to do a silly dance, pull the worst ugly face and shake your ass is important and here's why. Being silly normally embarrasses if you can be silly without getting embarrassed shows you trust your partner - it's good to live out of your box and being silly is a great mood and seratonin booster - get more of the happiness hormone in your relationship guys.
Equality // You are both equals. When things get tough be there to help your equal just as you would hope they'd do for you. Being able to accept your an equal means you're less likely to quit the relationship when you go through a tough patch.
Of course these may not be what makes your marriage or relationship work but I really believe that they set a good grounding for any relationship - alter them slightly, find what works for you and your partner and stick to the rules of your relationship. When things get tough remember it's a temporary measure unless you make it permanent, you have the ability to grow, to change and to continually find true love in your relationship.
Lots of love to all of my sweeties, sending you all the hugest hugs and kisses today and tomorrow and every day after that.
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