I was recently in conversation with Anna and I happened to mention that my wife and I would be celebrating our silver wedding anniversary soon. We talked on about the subject of marriage and she asked if I would put to paper my thoughts on being married for so long. I agreed, but I must say that it has been a hard process because it is something I have never actually considered.
I have always thought that marriage was just that. It was something that you did. You went out together, became engaged, got married, had children and grew old. My parents have been married for over 50 years, my uncle and both sets of my Grandparents also celebrated 50 years of marriage. In fact one set of Grandparents received a telegram from her majesty on their 60th. So long marriages seem to run in my family.
We married in 1991 in my Wife’s parish church. Back then you married in church, at a registry office or by special licence at a stately home or somewhere similar. Now forgive me for being old fashioned but the thought of shouting “I do” as you plunge towards earth on the end of a bungee rope with a ring in one hand and your life in the other just doesn’t appeal to me. I am not particularly religious but marriage is a serious business and I believe deserves a more formal setting.
I did a bit of research and I was surprised to find that the National office for statistics state that over 30% of marriages which took place in 1990 had ended in divorce before the couple celebrated their 20th anniversary.
So what made us more successful than the 30%?
First of all let me say that everybody is different. What I believe works for us may not work for somebody else. Also, this is from the male perspective as my wife has no knowledge of this whatsoever.
As a couple I think we are quite old fashioned in many ways. We have always taken the conventional path through life. We didn’t live together before marriage; we had a longish engagement, bought a house, married and then had kids. Nothing spectacular. But I believe this ordinary life has suited us well.
The first thing is that we met and developed our friendship in a very relaxed environment . It was the local café! Nobody dressed up for that, you just wandered in. What you see is what you get. Much better than a quick glance at the disco, hitting the floor to impress with those practiced John Travolta moves and failing miserably. I have not as yet mentioned the fact that I am 8 years older than my wife and it is something that has never really bothered me. Indeed my Father is older than my Mother by six years and it was similar on my wife’s side. I feel this age difference has had a huge bearing on the stability of our relationship and our marriage. When we first went out my wife was still at school so we only got together at weekends. Being older I was able to accept this, I was no longer an insecure teenager wondering what she was doing and who she was with during the week. I was also driving so was able to take her and most of her friends out at the weekends. In short we built up trust, without it no relationship can survive.
We took our time and went out together for about 3 years before becoming engaged and another 3 years before marriage. This was also age related as my wife was not going to be a teenage bride and I feel that this period of waiting added layers to our relationship.
As a couple we are not overly romantic. We are very practical and always work together towards achievable goals. It is far better to climb halfway up a hill than to waste energy trying to get to the top only to fall back to the bottom. An argument may highlight a problem but will never solve it. We have always worked this way. So I think “slow and sure wins the race” could be a good motto for the last 24 years.
I suppose we have been lucky in a lot of ways. We have always had our families close by. Both my wife and I have always been in full employment and have been lucky enough to live in the area we grew up in so friends are close by. All these factors have played a part in our successful relationship.
I have written and deleted this article many times. Every time I write new questions appear that I have to think about before committing to paper. It has to be right. There is one other angle that I had not considered and that is why I have stayed faithful throughout our time together? Even when we were only going out together long before marriage I would have never cheated on her. (I think we called it two timing back then) So why?
Now this may sound a bit strange but when we first went out together it was totally different from any other relationship that I had ever been involved in. There was something, I can’t say exactly what but I seemed to know that this was the person I would marry. My Mother calls it fate and I am inclined to agree with her. Maybe this was the one person I had been waiting for.
My wife still fascinates me. She bemoans the fact that her body is changing, that her face is becoming lined and even her hair is no longer the same colour. To me it just adds to the intrigue of this wonderful woman. In my eyes she just becomes more sexy, more arousing. Maybe it’s just a bloke thing. Will we be together for ever as we promised in church all those years ago? Let’s hope so.
I recently asked my wife what first attracted her to me. She didn’t know. Imagine basing the rest of your life on that.
For any younger readers of this blog “pinball” “disco” and maybe even “John Travolta” can be explained by your parents.
Thank you for sharing this with us Mr Anonymous!
Have you been married for a long time? do you believe in marriage, or have your experiences been very different to the above story? We’d love to hear from you, just leave your thoughts in the comment box below.
Thank you for reading.