MY husband and I were ten years married at the beginning of this month, and with any milestone, changing of the season or passing of the weeks, I wonder where the time has gone.
The first ten years of marriage race by at a breakneck speed, it saw us through a lot of small babies, house moves and house buying, sickness, career changes and the life-changing experience that was Covid.
I assume you would think that, after ten years of marriage, I would have some bit of advice to impart, but I can only arrive at one simple nugget of truth and it is this – communication is key. It may sound simple, and possibly obvious too, but we all know how hard it can be at times, especially when you have young children and you are tired, emotional and hormonal.
Everyone has different ways of communicating, some of us shout, some of us cry and some of us hope that our partner can read minds, but to live in harmony is to arrive at some balance in communication that works for both of those invested in the relationship. Some things are hard to say, some subjects are hard to broach, but it is always better to be open and honest and not to keep things inside where they fester and cause rifts that don’t need to exist.
We were married the May Bank Holiday weekend, it suited both our Irish and English guests as it is a bank holiday in both countries. We got married in Sligo because we were both quite new to North Cork and hadn’t a connection formed with the locality, so it made sense to get married somewhere that meant more to us. We were surrounded by family and friends and had our very own 15-month-old flower girl on hand to help too.
We are not really into buying each other much by way of gifts usually, but for our anniversary we do enjoy following the traditional gifting prompts, which is a bit of fun more than anything else. There is a modern guide too that, in hindsight, I should have pushed for, as I may have been more likely to get a diamond for our tenth anniversary as opposed to the very glamourous aluminium or tin!
However, the thought behind the traditional gifting route is what pulled us in – for example the reasoning behind aluminium and tin is that they are metals that won’t rust so they can weather any storm, much like a marriage that has lasted ten years. My husband got me a beautiful tin flower that was made from tin mined in Cornwall, a place that is extremely close to our hearts - we even visited a tin mine in Cornwall last year.
In the last ten years, we have been through paper, cotton, leather, fruit, wood, iron, copper, bronze/pottery and willow. I must hand it to my husband, he is a genius at coming up with gift ideas. Me, on the other hand, while I have endless amounts of creativity, I can sometimes lack imagination. Take, for example, the year of iron – the best I could come up with was an offer to iron his shirts which, to be fair, was a treat; I have an aversion to ironing so that was a generous offer under the circumstances.
He, on the other hand, got me a piece from Wild Goose studios in Kinsale that is a cast iron piece mounted on wood with the word ‘grá’ engraved on it.
Another gift that still brings great joy is the gift of fruit from our fourth wedding anniversary. I got an apple tree that has taken some time to establish, but last year it started producing apples in abundance. The symbolism around this one for us has a double entendre, apple trees bloom in Spring that signifies a marriage that flourishes, but also something that, over time, produces something wonderful.
There was one deviation from the theme last year, instead of something bronze my husband got me tickets to Van Morrison in Limerick because Days Like This was our first dance song. I will forgive him that transgression as it was a wonderful night in King John’s Castle, dancing together as the sun set behind the stage, listening to the live version of our song.
Here’s to another ten years. Given the rate at which our children are accumulating hobbies, I have no doubt it will rush by at a breakneck speed too. If we always take time for each other, to remember who we are as a couple and not just Mum, Dad or taxi drivers, then it will be another wonderful ten years together.