It’s Thursday afternoon when the message app pings: “Happy Anniversary!” This message is NOT from The Man (as I call my husband), it’s from my mother who has just helpfully alerted me to the fact that today I am five years married to my husband. Face. Palm.
The Man and I have already had countless exchanges on the WhatsApp throughout the morning so far, yet it is my mother who reminds me. My exchanges with my husband are the usual, depressingly mercenary exchanges of any millennial couple trudging through the obstacle-laden years of early parenthood and mid-career pressure.
Later that night I broke the anniversary news to The Man:
“Well, we made it!” I announce in the kitchen.
“Made it to what?” He is attempting to hold a baby and grate cheese at the same time. It’s an admirable effort.
“Uh huh,” he is not making eye contact, intent on not grating our son’s head: “Of….?”
“This,” I indicate with the hand holding my wine glass (yes I am drinking wine and watching him struggle with the grater, what can I say? It gives me pleasure).
“Five years of… wine?” he ventures uncertainly.
In fairness to him, I forgot last year. We were in the throes of an ambitious multi-day fight and he was trying to extend an olive branch.
“Would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night,” he texted.
“Why would I want to do that?” was my characteristically bitchy reply.
“Because it’s our anniversary.”
Touché. You may have won this fight, but I generously carried your children so I will always win the war. Yes my marriage seems to be something of a war at times – I blame the lack of sleep.
I’m not painting the best picture here, am I? I do like The Man and I don’t like paperwork so I’m sure the marriage will last if only because we both too bogged down by our own personal admin to embark on lengthy legal proceedings. However, let’s be real here at some point most marriages start to feel a bit like a business partnership, the main objective of which is taking care of the high maintenance assets you’ve acquired: children, pets, houses and parents-in-law.
5 Things I’ve learned In Five Years Of Marriage
The Love Letter Has Changed Dramatically
It’s become more of a never-ending email thread detailing each person’s shortcomings, subject heading ‘Sh*t You Forgot To Do (Again)’. And I can say this because I am the bad person in the relationship – the person who is always apologising and forgetting to do sh*t. I am the reason the email thread is a necessity. One time I forget to tell The Man that our next door neighbour had died. When he found out six months later, he started the email thread to “prevent further key information slipping through the cracks”. Seriously this weird 90s business-speak is the tone of our emails, I keep expecting him to refer to laundry loads as KPIs.
‘Date Night’ As A Term Is Radically Altered
In our house, Date Night now refers to that night at the start of the week where we pencil our respective social engagements into the family calendar. It is an ugly scene as we scramble and shout over each other to book in our slots for golf, bookclub, dentist appointments, NCTing the car – anything to avoid spending time together apparently.
Forgiveness is Automatic – It Has To Be
There is no room for long-held grudges in this marriage. We try to sustain longer fights but, frankly, no one has the energy. Also, I suspect that turning on each other is exactly what the toddler wants. If a row starts to escalate, one of us usually points at the babies and says “Wait, we have to remain united – they will not break us.”
Sex Can Be Incredibly Efficient
This isn’t the worst thing, right? At least it’s still happening, yes? Ish?
Romance Is Not Dead, It Just Looks A Hella Different Five Years In
On my birthday, The Man didn’t present me with a gift or a card or flowers. Instead, he gave me a lift into town for an afternoon of alone time aka pure unadulterated heaven. As I was closing the car door, he shouted after me to check my playlists on Spotify. There it was. He’d made me a modern day mix tape. The last 11 years as told by songs we love. Maybe it’s a bad thing that this is the single most romantic thing he’s ever done for me. However, it did bring back images of every moment of unexpected, unlikely romance we’ve ever shared. I see him holding our impossibly tiny first baby on a cold January morning. I see him kissing the new baby’s chunky thighs. I see his shoulders as he carries my father’s coffin. I see him laughing at me dancing. I see him, seeing me and it feels like home.