As I sit here quietly celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary thinking of my dear hubby who is away, it triggers thinking about a few questions I have been asked lately in my role as a Marriage Celebrant... So what makes a good marriage? Does it last? Is it a bed of roses? And is it everything you expected it to be? Oh if only it was a simple resounding yes to them all! But really, anyone would know that to have a good marriage it takes a massive amount of commitment, love, forgiveness, patience and oils of course!
I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday. Each of us girls wore a drop of Rose oil on our hearts. Vaporisers filled with Romance & Intimacy were on every table... We were full of hope, romance, expectation and love, sweet young love. We even had the magazine cover story, we were travelling the world with my professional sporting husbands career, earning a great income, I had my own life and career... gosh maybe this is why I LOVE being a Marriage Celebrant - the beginning of a marriage - it's amazing... I mean how could this perfect life ever change or be altered?
I wonder now what the couples that were at our wedding who had been married a while were thinking, knowing, feeling. I have since heard people at weddings with tongue in cheek say things like... 'enjoy it while it lasts', 'this phase wont last', 'ha wait til they have kids'!!
The one thing we learnt in the pro sports arena was 'everything is subject to change' and I guess that you could say the same about a marriage. You have no idea when or how it could change... but when something is organic it always has the opportunity. Bring in things like children, money issues, stress, illness, guilt, worry and personal growth (or lack of) and see how a marriage alters.
Also take into account that often we are often attracted to our opposite. The things you find so endearing at the beginning of a relationship can become the very things that undo it. Unless there is a real understanding of our personality types, some even say an understanding of your love languages and what makes each other tick then a marriage can easily deteriorate and or fail.
And certainly we are no different. All of the challenges and struggles we have endured have made things change for sure. A few years back and following a number of personal tragedies and big challenges, it's fair to say we really nearly did lose ourselves and our marriage.
I remember writing my hubby a card though in the middle of it all... do you remember the movie 'Shall We Dance'? There is this scene in it where Susan Sarrandon is suspecting her husband is having an affair and the detective she has employed asks ''why do people get married? Her reply is phenomenal, andI had to put it in writing - it hits a chord every time I read it.
"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."
Beautiful. Thanks to trusting and believing in love, witnessing each others highs and lows somehow we run, jump and crawl our way through this love maze. Our counsellor told us years ago "Your marriage will never stay the same... but if you both work on yourselves, love each other and grow together then a marriage has every chance to get better and better." And indeed it has.
Like becoming a new born parent, there is no manual on marriage, it doesn't matter what anyone says, or advice they may have or even what books you read... you have to experience it all for yourself to truly understand! Change does happen, issues are inevitable and life will throw curve balls every now and again. The question is how willing are you to see them through and are you prepared to trust that whatever the outcome everything is perfect.
And yes we have witnessed marriages that haven't survived and sometimes we just have to accept it is what it is, and it is ok. As Dr Brian Weiss says "It is a privilege to find a soul mate in this life, some are truly blessed to find more than one. Sometimes we have to appreciate a soul relationship that comes to an end may just mean it is time to take different classes. There is nothing wrong with that." A beautiful way to look at it. No judgement.
So what is the magic formula or the key then? Well according to many we have asked, and what we have experienced ourselves it's actually not too difficult. Simple actually. Problem is as human beings we often complicate issues way beyond what is necessary.
We hope you enjoy the advice we have collected! And maybe just maybe it may spur something in your relationship to take it to another level. Most importantly if it's not as good as it could be... work on it, nurture it, be something different, give it time and do everything with even more love... And remember if you do have a goodie... treasure it with all of your being.
Top 10 tips for a good Marriage!
1. Never take each other for granted. Count your blessings. Sounds so simple... but many forget about this settling into a life of comfort and habit or assuming the other will always be there. Remember everything is subject to change.
2. Celebrate, keep the romance alive - especially when kids come along! Date nights are a must!
3. According to our grandmother - and this is a goodie girls! All you have to do is give him a quickie!!!! It will do you - and him - the world of good! She was adamant this was the secret to a good marriage! God love her! She's probably right you know!!! Can hear the boys going yeah yeah!! Perhaps this is a good time to say live, love, laugh! A good sense of humour is paramount!
4. Continue to grow and learn. Be inspired and most important - BE inspiring. Be someone your partner is proud of and would love to look up to. Love yourself... its pretty hard to love someone else if you dont love you first.
5. Show respect. Don't shout, be mean or blame. Be honest. Be trusting. Watch what you say - always.
6. Get to know yourself and your partner. Understand personality types, your love languages and appreciate no one is perfect... including you. Florence Littauer has a fantastic book called 'Personality Types For Couples, Gary Chapman wrote 'The 5 Love Languages' and Dr Brian Weiss wrote 'Only Love Is Real'. All very worthwhile relationship enhancers and certainly helps to bring more understanding into your relationship.
7. Walk in your partners shoes every now and then... Try to understand things from their point of view. If they are willing, give them a chance to make things right or even better. Be the person you want to have in a relationship, we all know actions speak louder than words.
8. Don't take anything personally - this sounds easy but its a toughie. Anything said without love is often a sign of what is going on for the other person. Sometimes just saying "Are you ok?' is enough to disperse any argument.
9. Listen... perhaps more important than talking. Never go to bed on an argument. Each night get into a ritual of saying 5 things you are each grateful for - this is especially amazing on those challenging days.
10. Write love letters, poems, cards, texts, emails... show your love with beautiful words and actions. Even if you are not a wordy or romantic type become one! Telling your partner what they mean to you is one of the most beautiful gifts you could ever give. And of course the choccy chicks would say do it with your essential oils! Love is emotional. Smell is closely linked to our emotions. It makes sense then that this 4000 year old modality can play a big part in love and romance. Certain smells can become aromatic anchors to fantastic experiences. Rose is without doubt one of our love favourites.
A beautiful friend gave some great advice as we were walking up the side of the Himalayas a few years back... He said remember the 'devil' or whatever you want to call it is always at play, always testing and challenging a relationship. Don't let it win. He then said history is something you can never buy or make happen now... treasure the history and memories you have made together and dont give up on each other. And finally, forgiveness is one of the toughest of human traits to master, and yet when you truly forgive another it is one of the most humbling, rewarding and self-fulfilling feelings of all. We are both eternally grateful for this advice.
As our dear MC said at our wedding 'Remember if you can wake up each day and say you married your BEST friend then you are indeed truly blessed.'
Now for goodness sake get off this blog and go and tell them!!!!