Myself and High Command have just celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary.
I pulled out all the stops by cooking a romantic meal and we enjoyed a rare child free night at home.
One of the first of my friends to get married described marriage as a marathon, not a sprint, that requires continual time and effort investing into it.
Sage advice that has stuck with me over the years and that sometimes I have got right and sometimes I have got wrong.
Our first ten years of marriage have been a roller coaster of emotions which have been exhilarating, nerve wracking, stressful and joyful, all wrapped up into one giant bundle of experience.
I have learnt a lot over the years and here are my ten key learning points:
- Importance of communication – clear communication in a marriage is fundamental to it’s success. As the hustle and bustle of careers and children take more prominence it is vital that clear and regular communication is maintained. Poor communication is often the key precursor to a marriage breakdown.
- It’s all about teamwork – working together as a team within a marriage ensures that you all feel valued and succeed together. Through ensuring a shared vision for each other as well as the marriage, happiness can be maintained all round.
- Shared goal setting – regularly setting and reviewing goals, both individually, as a couple and as a family ensures that everyone is clear on each other’s aspirations in life. So often couples fail to do this which leads to a disconnect and subsequent resentment within the marriage as one person is prioritised unfairly over the other. If left this can result in the breakdown of the marriage.
- Compromise is key – as the saying goes ‘You can have anything you want in life, you just can’t have it all’. And this is so true of a marriage. Trade offs and compromise are key to a marriage’s success as you factor in each other’s aspirations and goals together with those of your children.
- Couple time – making time to spend with each other amongst the challenges of career and family commitments is so important. Whether it is through a family member, friend or baby sitter, ensuring you have child care options to make this happen is very important.
- Having kids is not a walk in the park – despite repeated warnings, it is easy to disregard the advice from others that having kids will be a walk in the park. Eight and a half years in with three daughters, and the sleep deprivation to accompany it, I now accept that the relentless pressures that being a parent entails takes it’s toll, and it is important to ensure that these are managed accordingly.
- Me time is so important – together with time spent at work, within the family unit and as a couple, it is vital to set aside ‘Me time’ for yourself. Whether it is exercise, pursuing a hobby or catching up with friends, this provides a break from the pressures of work and family life and allows time for reflection.
- The phenomena of flowers – women love flowers. I don’t know why but they do. Period! Setting myself a recurring reminder to regularly buy my wife unprompted flowers (as opposed to only when I have an apology to make) never fails to put a fantastic smile on her face.
- Important to give back – it is important to not just take, take, take from a marriage in terms of time, effort and love and that you must regularly ‘deposit’ the same back into the relationship to ensure the other is happy and feels appreciated.
- The power of marriage counselling – marriages are not all plane sailing and it is important not to give up too soon and walk away when the going gets tough. Marriage counselling is a powerful tool that can help you to gain perspective during a difficult period, reopen communication and help to steer your relationship back on course.
What have been the big learning curves during your years of marriage?
What advice would you give to others who are embarking on their marriage adventure?
As always it would be great to hear from you with your comments below 🙂
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