My previous post could easily lead you to believe that once the honeymoon period is over, marriage stretches out like a monotonous wet blanket, smothering all pleasure and spontaneity in life.
This is very untrue and I am reminded of Manya’s “How to be in Love” post on A Practical Wedding (which, as an aside, was an absolute God-send when on the brink of a wedding-planning-induced meltdown) in April 2013. Manya describes her piece as “a loving mediation about [her] husband, [their] vibe, and a few of the nice little things [she enjoys] about [their] relationship.” A letter to her future self in case she ever needs to be reassured that her relationship is “good enough”.
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and four months into my marriage, I am inspired to do the same. I do not wish to hold myself out as having the beautiful eloquence of Manya’s piece, but it is a reminder to cherish everything that is good, rather than being led to think that the mundane and everyday are bad and need to be fixed.
Most days start with you turning over, just asking for “five minutes more”. Though the alarm has long since sounded and you’re likely to be late, he agrees. Snuggling in for one last cuddle at the same time probably helps.
Remember to cuddle. In bed, on the couch, while waiting in line for the taxi after a long night out. Don’t just lean in and let him to all the work either, as you are wont to do. Revel in the simple act of enveloping him in your arms while at the same time you lay your head on his chest. It is one of the warmest, safest places you know.
Remember to talk as well. And keep talking, even when your instinct is to turn away, close your eyes and clamp your mouth shut. Sometimes it is difficult to find the words, but it will help you both understand each other.
On the weekends, he’ll bring you a cup of tea in bed with a gingernut – he knows your love of bed and lets you lounge a little longer. He also knows your love of cups of tea and will make them for you often, especially when you’re feeling under the weather, despite your chronic tendency to forget to drink them until they are cold.
Cook together most nights, often with a tumbler of wine (because, as opposed to wine glasses, tumblers fit in the dishwasher) and a glass of water (because you are both getting older and want to avoid that hangover-like dehydration the next morning). Marvel at how you both learn to seamlessly move around each other in your tiny kitchen and as he becomes more and more confident, you work together more instead of you mostly instructing him.
You are the yin to his yang. You edit his thesis, work documents and other written work. He rescues you from the quagmire of excel and math. Together, you are unstoppable.
Love that he comes (less and less begrudgingly) to shows and may even enjoy them. The ballet, not so much, but theatre, even the crazy, left of centre stuff that you want to go to just to see what it will be like. You will come to watch the football and cricket, even if you do fall asleep. You might even get excited in the last five minutes, when one point is all that stands between a team’s victory or defeat. Ashton Agar was pretty damn good as well.
Appreciate his easy-going-ness in the face of your highly-strong, stressed, over-sensitive, verging on panic attack tendencies. He will teach you to have a calmer attitude, rather than always going straight to a “Henny Penny” imitation, while you will teach him your passion for causes, ideas and beliefs. Some things are worth a “Henny Penny” imitation.
Be quietly proud when his father says you have helped him become a better, more compassionate person.
It does not matter if sometimes you go to bed angry with each other. You will inevitably wake up and the storm has passed and see each other with clear eyes again.
Hold each other’s hand, especially when out and about. That simple act is aid, comfort, strength, relief, tenderness, affection, devotion and above all love, all rolled into one.
It is an effort, sometimes, to love each other. But it is worth it.