I'm not professing to paint a picture of perfection by any means, that would be unrealistic, unhelpful and I imagine fairly irritating! However, being married, working with the same person for over 10 years and throwing twins in the mix is not the easiest, most straight forward recipe to follow, but there are certainly benefits and high rises to enjoy along the way. I'm simply sharing my top tip ingredients to create a sweet tasting pie that we all call life.
1. It took me until we had twins to fully embrace this tip, it was probably one of those sink or swim moments! The most effective and productive way for us to work together as a couple; at home, at work and as parents is to accept the difference between us.
Different approach, standards and priorities. Different is not always wrong.
2. Despite running a household and business together, we keep our personal finances very separate. We've never had a joint bank account. Initially this was Dickie's choice, which frustrated me at times, but now I realize this is wise and as a result we never argue about personal money, which can be so destructive and negative in a marriage.
3. We spend a lot of time together every day, but we aren't 'always together' in the true sense of the word all of that time. We have a card on our kitchen wall which says 'Together is a beautiful place to be" It reminds us to stop sometimes, listen to each other and focus on each other rather than just rubbing along together all day, all week, all month and all year....which can easily happen if you don't make the effort.
4. Over time we all change, grow up, have a different agenda and expectations. We share these regularly to make sure we are growing up together and not apart. We tend to chat about what we need and expect from different elements of our life and experiences. If they are different from each other, that's cool - it's just good to know beforehand.
5. We enjoy simple pleasures together, unambitious and not necessarily that romantic in the traditional sense. We appreciate a walk together, watching a film together or simply enjoying a good meal at home. Going back to basics works really well for us and grounds our busy life.
6. We are big into making plans, they often change and evolve but we find it really positive to have a plan, stick to it and have markers of where we are going in life. These chats are usually fuelled by wine, which is fun and a good way to relax and let your mind drift to times ahead.
7. One of the most important things in our relationship and one that I think is key to longevity is that Dickie actually makes me feel more me, a better me than when I'm on my own. I'm hoping he feels the same! I'd never had that in a relationship before, when I found it I realized that's what I was looking for... you can't ask for more than that really.
8. Freedom and trust are two things that holds us tightly together. Working together as well as being married enforces that trust for us which is quite a force to be reckoned with. Freedom to explore alone is something that I truly believe makes us stronger too, like a piece of elastic. Explore and experience individual things and then spring back together. I'm hoping to achieve my life long dream of doing a cattle drive fairly soon (random I know!), this is something I want to do alone and Dickie is fully supportive in that dream.
9. Sneaking off together is the glue that holds the whole thing together for us, we only manage it once a year whilst our girls are still so small but it's vital for us to make this happen, relax, enjoy each other and remind each other what drew us together in the first place.
10. We have shared challenging experiences to get to where are. We had five gruelling years of IVF before we became parents. Despite the challenge, dark times and moments of despair. We have strength within us as a couple and we know we can weather a storm or two. When times are tough, and we all have those times in real life... we say to ourselves "we really wanted this, we can get through this".
Marriage is an ever-evolving thing; it needs work, effort and time. But if you are willing and able to do that the joy is all there for the taking. There are of course times when the ingredients just don't create such a sweet pie, but life wouldn't the same without those inevitable sour moments... learn from them and move on.