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Marriage advice before you say 'I do'

Marriage is hard.

It will begin with you both sitting entwined in each other's arms on the sofa but gradually you will untangle and end up at opposite sides, usually staring at your phone as Masterchef plays on TV in the background. As someone who has been married a while, my marriage advice to any budding engaged couple who are almost at the point of saying ‘I do’, is go in knowing that it won't always be easy (and that Masterchef is actually a pretty good show). That’s not to say you shouldn’t go through with it, no matter how 'doomsday' I've made it sound!

I remember being asked “how did you know he was ‘the one’” and to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t. I do remember thinking to myself ‘yep, this is a good 'un and I know we could build a life together’ which isn’t very romantic, or maybe it is, but it’s how I felt. I felt calm, myself, safe. If I could feel like that with someone and not get bored of it, or them, then it makes sense that we would commit and walk down that aisle.

We’ll be married ten years next month and boy, how things have changed. Ten years married, two kids in, an early menopause diagnosis (is that the right term?) has resulted in two humans who have become different people and no longer recognise themselves or know who it ended up this way. I think to myself, ten years is an achievement. Most couples would have split by now (the marriage retention rate is still pretty poor) so why are we still together? Well, that’s a question we’ve been asking each other a lot of late.

At the very core of everything, we are the best of friends. Again, that doesn’t sound so romantic but it’s a solid foundation for any relationship, if you ask me. The work comes in building on that friendship and allowing the love to grow, flourish and evolve with you as a couple and all that that brings. Sometimes to build and grow, we need to reflect and learn. We need to be reminded of why we are together in the first place.

If I’ve learned anything in the ten years we’ve been married, it’s that communication absolutely is key to making it all work. Now, it’s important to point out that communication comes in many forms and isn’t always going to be a calm, curated conversation about how you feel about something or what your opinion is about things. Nope, it’ll be arguments about why you dressed the toddler in mis-matched clothes, or frustrations at why it takes so long to do well... anything! It will be giving the silent treatment and still making that cup of tea and coming in for a cuddle when you’re upset because at the end of the day, we still need that person to feel calm, ourselves and safe.

So before you get to the 'how did we get here?' while sitting at opposite ends of the sofa, doom-scrolling Instagram reels, maybe put the phone down, skootch up a bit and watch some Masterchef. After all, those recipes will come in handy for the next date night in.


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