About this time last year, Katie and I decided that for our 10yr wedding anniversary we would offload the kids onto the grandparents, and head off for a week in Byron Bay, staying at the same place we did for our honeymoon. We would get massages, eat dinner at a civilised hour, do things at our own pace, and most of all remember all the reasons that we got married in the first place.
Then reality clotheslined us with all the force and subtlety of a 70’s VFL player, and suddenly we are spending 3 days with the kids down at Sandy Point instead. Where we will not have massages, we will eat at hours normally reserved for old people’s homes, we will try to work at the various paces of three people whose moods are in a constant state of flux between happiness and hangry (that’s hungry angry for those not in the know), and at no time will we think about the reasons we got married in the first place or reflect on what 10 years of marriage means. So I’ll make a preemptive strike with this blog.
Congratulations you’ve been married 10 years…here’s your tin.
OK, so I wasn’t expecting the 10 year anniversary to yield a really precious metal like gold, silver or adamantium…but tin?! Come on. A tinny is a small boat that people in the Northern Territory and far North Queensland tip themselves out of to feed crocodiles. A tinny is something that people who have ‘I shoot and I vote’ stickers on their utes drink beer from. When speakers are crap they sound tinny. Tin Tin is about the only thing with tin that I like…and that’s only because you get a double dose. My theory is that as they were sitting around trying to decide which metals go with which anniversary they got to 10, and a Kiwi (if you’re from New Zealand just swap ‘Kiwi’ for South African) said ‘Wow, ten!’…but unfortunately with the horrifically exaggerated accent I like to give other people in my stories, everyone else heard it as ‘Wow, tin!’. And seeing as no-one wanted to argue with him, suddenly 10 years of marriage was equated with a metal best used as a cup to hold Coke in at Christmas when you’re 6! It’s not fair.
While I’m on my high horse, for years your long service leave kicked in once you’d been at one work place for 10 years. Then everyone realised that no-one stays in the one job for that long, and so they said ‘if you’ve been in a job for 7 years you can start accessing the leave’. Society’s expectations had changed and so the system changed accordingly. Well I think that society’s expectations of marriage have changed as well, staying together for 50 years is obviously an amazing achievement, but nowadays we are marrying so late and having so many affairs…how can we be expected to meet this lofty goal? I think we should bring everything back 10 years so that at 10 years I’m staring at platinum…and 20 years I’m staring at diamonds…and at 30 years…ah who cares…I’ll just be staring.
A big thanks to the Essendon football club
Ten years ago, in the interests of fiscal responsibility, we got married on the day after Grand Final day. At the time I remember thinking, that with our anniversary invariably falling on the weekend of the Grand Final (if not the actual day, as it is this year), what would I do if my team was in the Grand Final, but Katie wanted to do something else?
Well thankfully my generous Bombers have spent the last decade ensuring that I don’t have to worry about that.
So how do you stay married for 10 years?
That’s a very good question…and seeing as every relationship is different, I’m not about to tell you what will work for you…but I will make some vague statements that I will later claim was sage advice.
Vive le difference
When I was growing up, one of my best friends was Marcus. Where Marcus was a risk taker and always up for trying something new, I was more the person saying ‘I don’t know if that’s such a good idea’ and ‘I’m pretty sure there’s a Rottweiler in that backyard’ and ‘Yes Marcus’s Mum of course Marcus is here at my place…he just can’t come to the phone right now…because he’s…on the toilet’. But we worked really well as a team. He got me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and to push the boundaries beyond what I was comfortable with, and as a result I learnt a lot and had some life changing experiences. At the same time, I kept us both out of fights with Asian gangs and prison.
I think that a marriage has to be the same, you can’t survive if you differ on every point…but if you’re both exactly the same, then you’ll never grow as people.
You each need to do things by yourselves
When you met you both had things that you loved to do, and some of these things became things that you both loved doing, and so they tended to take up most of your time. But you have to make sure you still have things that you like doing by yourself…and equally you have to let the other person do the things that you don’t like, but that you know they love.
But at the same time, you have to ensure that every time you let them do something they like, they are aware of just how disappointed in them you are for being so selfish. This is usually best done via passive aggressive terms like, ‘Oh are you heading out again?…I thought we were doing something together tonight’ or ‘Wow you must be getting really good at that…seeing as you are spending so much time away from your family to do it!’*
Say you love each other every day
Nah just kidding…once every 4-5 years should be fine.
If you’re a man and you marry someone out of your league (as I did), then you know that every time your wife has a second to think, is time when she could suddenly realise ‘Wait a second…I can do much better than him!’ What you need is something so overwhelming and exhausting that they have no chance of ever actually gathering their thoughts, let along acting on them.
Having kids is great for this. You may find you have to repeat the process a couple of times…but once you’ve got two or three kids your wife’s only thoughts will be ‘sleep, sleep, coffee, sleep’, so as long as you can make a decent coffee…you’re pretty much in the clear.
You’ve got to choose well
What you need is someone fun and exciting, someone who is good at things that you’re not, someone who laughs at your jokes, likes your cooking, challenges you, celebrates your victories and knows what to do when the black dog starts circling. When you find that person, you have to love them with all your heart through everything that 10 years of life throws at you. I know I have.
*In order to ensure another 10 years of marriage, it’s worth mentioning that Katie has never said either of these things.