A couple of days ago Ben and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That's right, our marriage is now old enough to buy its own bottle of champagne to celebrate ;-)
And it got me to thinking. If our marriage is now 18 years old and an adult, what has it - and what have I learnt - about being married?
Not only have I been married for 18 years, but I've also been helping women all over the world with their relationships for over 3 years (via my Life Reboot Camp online programme).
Living together. Sleeping together. Potentially raising babies or fur babies together. Sharing finances. Sharing household chores. Eating together. Spending spare time together. Dealing with each other's friends, family, job / business / career.
Marriage is a whole ton of pressure to put on two people without any training or manual.
So I decided to share with you the 5 things no one told you about marriage, in the hope it will help you have a happier and better marriage.
You should always assume that you don't know what your partner is thinking, and that they, equally, don't know what's going on in your head.
Therefore you need to talk to each other.
Get it out of your head, where it is percolating and turning molehills into mountains, and share it with your other half.
What is worrying you / upsetting you / pissing you off?
Just because you said "I do" to each other doesn't make you mind-readers.
If you struggle to have face-to-face discussions because you:
don't worry because there is a solution.
Write a letter or an email to your other half. Explain what's going on with you, and the point you want to communicate.
Wait and come back to your written word after a break. Re-read it.
Is it clear? Does it make sense? Is it loving? The last thing you want to do is write something hurtful.
Then share what you've written and leave them in peace to read it.
It's likely that in the early days of your relationship you were at it like rabbits. But as time goes on the amount of sex diminishes.
Which is essential as otherwise we would be incapable of working or getting anything done ;-)
But often, if we are not careful, sex can go off the agenda altogether.
This can happen because you are:
or a million and one other reasons.
But you're really going to want to address this because, as I tell the women in my Life Reboot Camp, a relationship without sex is just a friendship.
Which is fine if neither of you is sexual, but if either one of you is (which is most often the case) that's where things can get dangerous, and temptation from outside the marriage can creep in.
So watch some sexy TV, read some sexy literature, put your sexiest undies on and remind yourself that a) you are a sexy being and b) the person you love is right there ready and waiting for you. Off you go!
(If you are the one wanting sex and not getting it, share this with your partner to read!)
Sorry to break it to you lovely, but you fuck up too.
You are not always going to be whiter than white, and you need to accept your share of the blame.
This is a tough one because when we are arguing with our other half we convince ourselves that we are in the right and they are in the wrong.
But that is not always the case.
Make sure you are taking the time to step back and look at the whole picture. Do you need to apologise?
If you do, know it can be very empowering and freeing to say you are sorry, so don't hold back.
If you are going to live, breathe, eat, sleep and all the rest of it together until the end of your days, you are going to need to learn to compromise.
It's shitty if you like to get your own way.
Hello, that would be me!
But it is the only way to have a happy marriage, so you need to accept that at times you will have to take a step back and do things their way.
It's hard at first but it does get easier. Just make sure that there is balance in the compromise, and it's 50:50 as much as possible.
In the same way that you will make mistakes and need to apologise, your husband / wife will also do the same. Because guess what? We're human and that's what we do. We screw up from time to time.
So don't go round being all high and mighty and making them feel like shit.
Do your best to get inside their head and understand why they did what they did.
Then forgive them.
To their face. Or by writing it in your journal. Or in a letter that you burn.
It doesn't matter how. Forgive and move on.
That doesn't mean that what they did was ok. It just means you're not going to let it weigh you down forever and a day.
The biggest takeaway I have from being married for 18 years is that it is a rollercoaster.
There are going to be highs and lows.
Good times and bad.
It won't always be the hearts and flowers you dreamed about / imagined on your wedding day. And if you are expecting that you will come up short, time and again. In any relationship.
There's a reason we take each other "for better and for worse" in our wedding ceremony, because there will be both across your life.
So the sooner you learn to deal with the shit times and celebrate the good times the better and happier your marriage will be.
You've got this lovely. Here's to your happy marriage!
P.S. If you want to go deeper on this do get in touch to see if my Life Reboot Camp online programme is for you. We have a whole module on relationships where I am able to go a lot deeper than I can in a blog post, plus a module on loving yourself to make sure you are in the right space to live your happiest life.