This is us, just over two years ago.
I married the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine at the end of August in 2011. It was an incredible day. We had fizz and sunshine, bunting and good food. There was dancing and we were surrounded by all the people we love. It was everything a good wedding should be.
And then started married life.
When you get married, it’s easy to get caught up in the fairytale of the “forever after”. We were under no illusions to the reality of what happens after the wedding though, having already survived 14 months of parenthood while scrimping and saving for our future as a family. Even so, the excitement of the wedding day left everything with a cupcake rosey glaze for a while. Somehow the 6am starts and dirty nappies even looked pretty.
Six months later we had our first proper row. It was horrible. There was shouting and tears – from both sides – and afterwards I felt spent. It was how I imagine you’d feel if you did a marathon, without the wobbly legs.
Living together as a couple, juggling work and parenting and emptying the dishwasher and cleaning the bathroom and putting the bins out and cooking tea and remembering to buy milk and… all the other stuff that goes with daily life, isn’t always easy. In the beginning, you’re consumed with interest for this person. You want to be with them ALL THE TIME. They make you laugh, have funny stories to tell, are so “in tune” with you. It’s sick-making really. But that’s how the beginning of our relationship was. When dirty nappies and work deadlines and stale milk enter the equation, the romantic stuff can get pushed to one side. All you’re left with is another person making demands on your time. Time that you don’t have.
In the two years since we got married we have been to that place. I hate that I’m writing this right now, as it doesn’t fit the beautiful hazy pink-tinted picture of married life that we’re sold in the magazines. After the wedding you’re meant to skip off into the sunset, raise beautiful babies and still have time to do your hair and cook freshly baked cakes every day. But anyone with half a brain can see that’s not possible. Even gleeful couples who never argue and bake fresh cakes daily still have to put the bins out. Bins aren’t romantic.
I really believe that you have to go through tricky times to appreciate the good ones. I still love the NLM as much now as I ever did. More so in fact. He works blooming hard, he makes me laugh, he’s totally non-judgmental about pretty much everything, he is always there to listen if I need him, I know he’s absolutely on my side (even when he leaves wet towels on the floor). But we don’t get to spend much time together these days. Work and life have a habit of getting in the way, making it easy to forget how much we enjoy each other’s company.
Friday nights have, for the past 18 months, been our night. We crack open the wine, turn on the music and have a chat. It’s our time to unwind and catch up with each other. We rarely go out because babysitters and budgets don’t always allow for it. But, recently, even Friday nights have been swallowed up. The NLM is so tired after a week in his new job he retreats to the office to unwind on his own, leaving me to get on with work on my laptop. It’s a recipe for disaster, relationship-wise. And we know we need to make more of an effort to make time for each other.
That’s why I literally yelped with excitement when an email landed in my inbox inviting me to have a 15 minute session with a relationship coach before a date with my husband. The email offered me £100 to spend on an activity of our choice, courtesy of the team at Head & Shoulders. It challenged me to find a way to feel good about myself again and spend some one-to-one time with the NLM in a setting that’s not strewn with kids’ toys and discarded shoes.
The concept of a “date night” is a bit alien to me. And when I chatted with coach Matthew Hussey I was relieved to hear him say the same thing. We spoke about how time together as a couple shouldn’t just be put aside to one night a month – or whenever – and that showing your partner you care about them needs to be an ongoing thing. Of course, my husband being the man he is, when I later offered him an unexpected compliment (as Matthew suggested) his response was “What are you after?” He’s never been a particularly romantic, gushy type.
Anyway, our date is to a restaurant and then, possibly, to a pub. I’ve got a new skirt and am even going to dust off my super high heels. The NLM tells me he has a shirt, clean pants and some nice after shave.
I’ll let you know how it goes….
fab post! Enjoy your date!
Thank you! Just need to remember not to shower him with compliments and make him feel uncomfortable…
Kate W says
This sounds amazing and I am very jealous…..
We are much the same – 11yrs of marriage & 3 children later, there isn’t an awful lot of Romance in our House these days, but after reading this I am DETERMINED to sneak some in somewhere (whether he likes it or not……)
Hope your date is brilliant & that the high heels don’t cause you a nasty injury!!!
Oh fab post and so true, finding time for just the two of you is tough when little people come along. Enjoy your date nights, they sound lovely. We are trying the same here, escaping on a thursday night when the grandparents can babysit, sitting down to a quick meal, adult conversation, laughter and a much needed glass of wine of course x
tsk – running a marathon is far worse…. x
Charlotte - Write Like No One's Watching says
How did it go Moll? Well I hope. We need a date night – quite desperately I think. I just want to flirt with my other half – is that sad to admit?! xx
It’s not sad at all – we all need a night off from being parents every now and again!