Years ago, before we got married, I had an elderly Irish lady give me advice for having a strong and happy marriage - never stop taking care of how you look just because you're married, never stop shaving your legs, and always make sure that the two of you can laugh together. I'd like to add a few more things to that list that keep me and my beloved together as a team.
My beloved has a very sweet tooth so I keep a supply of his favourite chocolates in a secret hiding place (it's under the bed which Ken knows but we both pretend he doesn't) and every now and then the chocolates will make an appearance. At one point last year I had over 50 cream eggs in the secret stash - Ken calls me the chocolate fairy.
|Ice cream with a flake|
I'm a very lucky girl as my beloved is very good at foot rubs and will surprise me by suddenly appearing with towels and lush foot cream - he knows when I've had a difficult day and need to relax and let go. He's also fabulous as he books me in for treats at a local spa a for my birthday, and in the past when my back has been bad, he has been known to paint my toenails.
3. Sharing interests
Now here is where the wording is important - it is important to have shared interests, but I think it's even more important to share in each other's different interests so that you understand why it's important to the one you love. Ken comes to craft shows and visits graveyards with me, and I attend car shows and air museums for him. It would be a very boring marriage if we didn't have our own individual passions.
|Ken with his lovely van at a Peugeot event|
4. The ability to be silly together
It is important to be able to laugh together, but sometimes it's more than that - it's about knowing what makes your partner in life laugh, and being able to tell when they really need you to just be silly. I think there should be an aspect of silliness in everyone's lives.
|The two of us with Koala in London - he went everywhere with us|
More than anything is that you need to be friends!! Do I need to say more than that? I married my best friend and that strengthens every day that we're together. Think about your friends that you make time for and meet with regularly, well you need to do that with the person you married - take time to go for coffee, go see a film, chat about the frivolous things in life. Sometimes life gets in the way but it's really important not to lose the friendship in your relationship.
Both of us have had difficult times and it's then you need that extra strength from your beloved. It's not that you need them to solve all the problems of the world, you just need them, and this is when the silliness can be useful - like the time after his mum's death that I made Ken a daisy chain crown and crowned him the king of Scotland (you probably had to be there to understand).
A lot of people think that romance is about big expensive gestures, but the most romantic are the unexpected and often free things. A post it note left somewhere to be found when you're not there, an unexpected extra in a lunch bag, a note left in a coat pocket, a photo album made just for them, and apparently chocolate from the chocolate fairy can be incredibly romantic.
I hope that if I were to speak to my Irish lady again she would think that we haven't done too bad a job of building a very happy, but slightly crazy, marriage. I am very proud to say that I am a happy wife.
Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.