In 2000 I met him – our eyes locked and it was instant. There was an indescribable connection and level of attraction I didn’t expect on a first interaction. From the second we met we laughed, whether it be at each other’s Ace Ventura impersonations or our similar sense of sarcasm – we have been affectionately teasing each other daily, for 18 years!
We often get asked what our secret is – how have we stayed so happy? The truth? We aren’t always happy and it hasn’t been “easy”. Partnership of any kind requires patience, compromise and compassion. There are times where you get so sick of each other you just want to move out – normal. There are times when their quirks and habits drive you to the point of insanity – normal. Normal looks different for everyone, for every coupling – so what has worked for us may not work you. However one thing I know for certain – you CANNOT go into a relationship with a fairytale view of how it will be. Those first six months when you’re endorphins are making you giddy and you’re getting to know each other – starting to fall in love; that doesn’t last forever. That’s why it’s often referred to as a honeymoon period. It’s a magical moment in a relationship when time seems to stand still, you experience new things, go on amazing adventures together, sex is often and new and fantastic, those hormones are raging and there’s nothing but excitement and promise for the future. Then you move in together, perhaps get married, and maybe you start planning that first baby, that first new home build or new home purchase – but then what? Then life becomes repetitive, you incur debt, you might have children and suddenly everything feels quite mundane, boring – like Groundhog Day. This is when many people may start seeking that feeling, that they experienced in the early years, elsewhere. They chase that rush of endorphins that loved up feeling without thinking of the consequences – the old “grass is greener. But – instead of chasing that we need to WATER OUR OWN GRASS , we need to find peace and gratefulness for the mundane ,the routine. To be grateful for the fact we are lucky enough to experience this “boring” life with someone else and to work TOGETHER to keep each other happy in order to grow old without killing each other off. Gee I make it sound so desirable don’t I?! But its TRUE! When you spend 18 years living with ANYONE, not just a spouse, you’re going to get on each others nerves, you’re going to want space and alone time – it DOES NOT mean you don’t love each other anymore.
So how have we lasted so long? Theres no magic trick – as I said – every coupling will be different and you need to communicate along the way.
But here are some tips we’ve discovered along the way – that have helped us stay together for nearly two decades (Holy Crap!)
Tips to lasting two decades…….
KEEP DATING Find time for one on one – without the kids (if you have the little rascals). It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be a night-time date. I breastfed Kalani for 5.5 years and co slept with all the kids ( I still share a bed with a 6-year-old!) , nighttime dates are rarely possible for us and nights away havent been possible since I was pregnant. We do movies, lunch, just a coffee or walk on the beach, sometimes my hubby chucks a sicky when the kids are at school or kindy or daycare( his boss doesn’t read my blog right?) and we just snuggle and watch Netflix (or Netflix and chill now I know what that means 😉 )
LAUGH Be silly! Tell each other stupid jokes . Play pranks on each other. With all the mundane BS we all deal with on the daily its good to have someone you can just be a dag with. Don’t grow up too much.
SEX Keep Having it! That physical closeness is important – you’ll both be too tired sometimes – I’m not saying it has to be four times a day like in the beginning (gee vaginas are resilient aren’t they?!?) but don’t let it become six months before a romp in the hay. I’ve never liked that saying……It always gets me thinking about all the painful places that spiky hay could wind up, a bit like sex on the beach – ugh SAND! I’m off topic – it happens…. continuing on…..
BE FRIENDS Be BEST friends. Be there for your partner with compassion and a listening heart. When you want to roll your eyes , hug them instead. Do things with your partner you’d do with your friends – go bowling, play golf, work out together, gossip , hang out
TALK Tell each other about your day, your friends, the story you heard from a friends, friends, friends, brothers, Uncles favourite Aunts, cousin. And talk about the important things too – how you want to parent, what your goals are for the future – make plans – set goals TOGETHER
YOU TIME This is huge. Give each other space to grow as an individual as well as a couple. Allow your partner to keep their own identity, to go play footy or dance class or a trip away with friends, andd allow yourself the same.Your partner should be an awesome addition to your life, not the only thing you have in it. You can still have your own “life” as an individual that you share with your partner – in fact I think it’s hugely important. Without that, resentment creeps in and you long for your “old life” or to be alone for a while.
I don’t long for any other life – we have been teen parents with hand me down furniture, no electricity, no money – we have bought our first house together, gone on our first overseas trips together, made our interstate move together, cried together and lost loved ones – together.
We have had nothing and yet had everything – because we had each other the whole time.