It just so happens that my seven year wedding anniversary is falling on an (A)Musing Monday post! You guys seem to be in for a treat as I reflect upon the concept of “marriage” (cue sappy music).
But really, seven years. A magical number or the dreaded “itch”? The latter definitely doesn’t sound promising.
And yet, here we are. We have been married seven years (together for 10) and we’re still going strong despite two cats, two kids and two relocations. We survived China and France together and this guy continues to surprise me.
Like today, surprise! I received flowers for the first time on our anniversary (neither of our “love language” is about gifts, so it doesn’t bother us). Which my cat quickly proceeded to try and munch on.
Sandwich or roasted chicken?
I love this guy with my heart and soul. We make a good team. We laugh a lot, share each other’s pain, help each other with our daughters (sometimes not even needing to verbalise we need help, the other person just does it), and support each other’s endeavours.
We’re in no way perfect. We argue. Heck, during France’s first confinement we had a massive argument over whether we should eat a sandwich for lunch (me) or roasted chicken (him) and yep, I’m being serious here.
So what is the key to a successful marriage? One where couples avoid this “itch”? One where they are happy to trade copper and wool to mark this point in a marriage (I know, I know…copper and wool. Apparently one brings love and the other is….soft and…fluffy?).
I would like to say good communication and good laughter. Yet, it’s so much more complex than that, isn’t it?
I love watching a YouTube channel called Psychology in Seattle (seriously, check him out!). Dr. Kirk Honda is a family and relationship therapist and he combines my guilty pleasure of watching trash reality television shows with psychology. He analyses couples on shows like “90 Day Fiance” and “The Bachelor” and starts to come up with hypotheses as to why the couples behave the way they do. It’s fascinating.
There was something that stuck with me while watching him…you know those couples where you think they argue all the time and are just a train wreck waiting to happen? You think they won’t last but yet…they seem to be going the distance.
And have you wondered why? I know I have. And well, Dr. Honda shed some light on this. Apparently there is a theory out there which says if there are five positive actions to counteract the one negative action, then couples are more inclined to stay together. So you can argue all the time but if there are more positive experiences that make you go…”awwwww, I love this person” for every argument the couple has, then they are more inclined to last. He gave the opposite as well. Maybe the couple only have ONE big argument a year, but there are no positive actions to counteract this (like expressions of love, acts of love etc.), then the couple may not necessarily stay together.
Broken down by the roadside
So with all this talk about relationships…if you are in one, how are you feeling right now? What are the first thoughts and emotions that come up?
Where are you in your journey together and where do you want to be? How do you talk to each and let each other know what is happening (and no, the other person CANNOT read your mind so it’s important to say it out loud).
Ask yourself these questions and have a conversation. And see a marriage counsellor. There’s no shame. I do it with my husband and consider them “check-in’s” to make sure we are still on the same page. You wouldn’t ignore servicing your car, waiting until it breaks down in the middle of the highway before calling for help. Why would you do the same for your marriage? It’s much easier to course correct when it is a few small things at a time versus on large event.
So as I’m watching the sun set from my window, I can’t help but reflect how grateful I am to have spent the last seven years together and how I can’t wait to spend more with him.