Happy Anniversary!

Wow. 9 years together, 5 of them married.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together a lot longer, other times it feels like it’s passed in the blink of an eye.

We had hoped to be away this weekend, celebrating our anniversary with a trip to London, just the 2 of us, but unfortunately (because I’m too soft) we couldn’t leave our youngest who still wakes for Mumma overnight.

Instead we had a family trip to the Coronation Street Tour yesterday and we are going out for dinner tonight.

I remember our first date like it was yesterday. I say date, basically Damian had asked me to go out with him but as I was on holiday with my best friend it was a night out – Damian, my friend, a random holidaymaker called Russ (who we never saw again!) and me! We never looked back from that day.

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When we got engaged and sat with the wedding planner at our chosen venue to pick a date for the year 2009 there was our anniversary on the perfect day to have our wedding. It was a Sunday and it was Bank Holiday the next day which made it perfect for all our family members who needed to travel up to Yorkshire from various counties down South. One less date for hubby to have to remember too hey?!

Our wedding day was the most perfect day. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Hot sunshine. Blue skies. Perfect.

I often look at our wedding photos and just smile. Smile because it was one of the happiest days of my life. Smile because I married my best friend. Smile because I knew that day how much he loves me. Smile because of it being another memory we created together.

Hope I’m writing about our golden anniversary one day and that I’m able to remember everything just as clearly as I do now.

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The Proposal

After a conversation with some friends about how we were all proposed to it got me reminiscing.

My husband and I had been together for just under 17 months when we flew off to Kenya for a 2 week holiday together. Sun, sea and safari.

During our stay we went on one of the standard trips with First Choice to Mombasa. As seems obligatory on all these foreign tours we got taken into a large jewellery store to see Tanzanite. The cabinets were full of gorgeous, sparkly items and I walked round admiring everything, but Damian seemed to keep going back to one particular cabinet. The assistant asked him what he’d like to see and he asked about a specific ring. The ring was white gold with a large tsavorite garnet and 8 small diamonds in the design. Soon it was on my finger and my eyes couldn’t look away, that was until the assistant who’s English wasn’t that good, typed a figure into the calculator to show us the price. The ring was soon off my finger, the dream of diamonds on my hand broken into millions of shards in my mind.

But Damian picked the ring up and started to barter with the assistant, soon agreeing on a price much less than the original figure shown to us but still too much in my mind for a piece of costume jewellery and I said as much.

“But it’s not just any old ring is it? I’ve been looking for a ring for you to propose at Christmas and this is the only thing I’ve found that I want for you”

I think at this point my eyes were as wide as saucers and my jaw on the floor. Before I could say much more my finger was measured, money exchanged hands and the ring was taken to the workshop to be altered to my size.

By this point everyone had left the store and was on the coach ready to go to our next stop off on the day trip. The rep was hopping from foot to foot asking how much longer we would be.

10 minutes later we sheepishly took our seats on the coach under the glare of all our fellow day trippers. The ring box was securely put in the bag across my shoulder, but I couldn’t help but check every few minutes to make sure it was still there.

This photo was taken about 5 minutes after leaving the jewellery store. The ring safely tucked into the camera bag!

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A few hours later we were back at our hotel and the ring placed and locked in our bedroom safe.

We laid on the bed watching tv as had become our evening routine whilst there and I could tell something was on his mind. I told him just because he’d found the ring didn’t mean he had to propose now. He should wait until the moment is right for him.

“But I want to”

Amongst many happy tears I was told how much I was loved by him and then one of the most amazing questions was posed “Will you marry me?”

Of course I said yes immediately and the ring was then placed upon my finger where it has been nearly every day since 20th September 2006. The week it was sent away so my wedding ring could be made to match was the longest week ever!

I love my engagement ring as it not only reminds me of how much my husband loves me, but reminds me of an amazing holiday that I’ll never forget.

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Is there a secret to a happy marriage?

On 24th May this year we will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married on the date of the anniversary of our first date so this year it will mark 9 years together.

During the 9 years we’ve had plenty of ups and downs but I believe that is why we have a happy marriage, because we have faced everything together.

We didn’t have the most conventional start to our relationship. We met while I was on holiday in Portugal, and my husband lived and worked out there at the time. Just over 6 weeks after our first date, my husband flew back to the UK and he moved in with me at my mum’s house. He found a job and we started our life together.

My husband proposed whilst we were on holiday in Kenya 16 months after our first date, and we bought and moved in to our first home 6months after that.

For the first 2 years of our relationship we moved pretty quickly through the stages of our relationship, quicker than most, and granted living together was due to circumstances more than conscious decision making, but for us it worked out well. A lot happened in those first two years (that’s a post for another day!) and I believe that all that happened helped us form a strong relationship quickly and it proved to those that knew us that our love was a true one, and one that was going to work.

So what do I think is the secret to a happy marriage?
I think marriage and what makes people happy is something that is different for everyone. There’s no one big thing that everyone should do that will suddenly mean everyone is in happy marriages but I can share what works for us, and what I think I’ve seen in those that haven’t worked.

I think there’s a number of factors that contribute to our happy marriage:-

Talk
We gossip, we debate, we discuss, we problem solve, we chat, we joke, we tease, we compliment, we criticise…….
We talk about anything and everything. My husband and I talk – A LOT!

No Doubt
Neither of us have ever questioned our relationship. Never once thought “is this right?” Never split or been on the verge of breaking up. We’ve never had a disagreement where we’ve thought we should “take a break”.

Know who you are
We are individuals as well as a couple. We don’t live in each other’s pockets. It’s important to have our own interests, and our own friends. It can be unhealthy to spend too much time together. You mustn’t lose sight of who you are and what makes you as an individual happy.

We have a dream……
Our goals and dreams for the future have always been very similar and we’ve worked, and continue to work towards those dreams together. If you want completely different things in life it’s unlikely it’ll work. You shouldn’t make people want the same things as you. Compromise yes, but not change completely.

Similar morals and beliefs
We don’t agree on everything, all of the time, but our core values are the same. We both had fairly similar upbringings in terms of family values so this has meant we don’t have much conflict. This works out well especially with raising our family.

Respect the differences
You don’t have to have the same views on everything. It’s good to have differences, and it works well to have differences as you then end up complementing each other and become a team.

Do not change
Do not change who you are, and do not attempt to change the person that you love. If you love each other, and your love is true, then you love for the person that is in front of you, not the person you can turn them into. Everyone changes over time but do not become someone you aren’t just to impress.

Trust each other
Never check each other’s phones in secret to see who they’ve called or text. Never check up on them with others. Never add their friends as your friends unless you’ve met them. If you don’t trust each other, you will always doubt each other.

There’s a lot more to us and our marriage but these are what we consider as important.

This post was written for the Happy Wives Club “All About Love” Blog Tour
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