One of my best friends and her husband just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary. To tell you a little bit about Aly, she’s sweet, patient, laid-back, and fun to be around. Kevin is pretty cool too. Aly has a great sense of humor, and when she told me that she was writing the ten things about marriage it took her ten years to learn, I thought it would be fun to share. Brides to be may find some good advice (be sure to read number 10, which is by far the most important). Married folk (especially parents) may be able to relate. And we’ll all get a giggle at this candid look into their relationship and what their marriage looks like after ten years. So without further ado, here’s Aly.
I present this list to you on the day of my tenth anniversary to my loving husband, Kevin. I am writing this on the beach, away for a three-night getaway without our two children for the first time in forever. So here it goes…
1. Making dinner sucks
When we were newlyweds, dinner was this amazing experience, lovingly prepared; a nightly ritual involving mutual affection and intimacy… usually culminating in sex. I even subscribed to Bon Appetit magazine. As in, subscribed to, read, and prepared the recipes. Who does that? Me, apparently, ten years ago.
But, I realize now that dinner is just this thing that happens every day and no matter how much you think you are, or should be, preparing for it, you’re not and you can’t. It’s like this dirty surprise thrown into the mix during the exact part of the day when every member of the family is at their absolute crankiest.
And, I can assure you, there is no Bon Appetit recipe for that.
2. The things that attracted you to your spouse at first are the very things that annoy you ten years later
When Kevin and I started dating I was 22 years old. I was cute, poor, and possessed the ability to wear a backless shirt with no bra. Kevin adored the fact that I never had any cash, didn’t have a clue about most things in life and was incredibly forgetful. I’m pretty sure the backless shirts helped. Well, my boobs (now safely encased in a supportive bra) and I can assure you that this is most certainly not the case now. It’s apparently not cute at all to forget your wallet (still empty, by the way), leave the stove burners on or get locked out of your house, car, etc. Nope, not cute at all.
To be fair, early in our marriage I once told Kevin that I thought it was sexy that he knew so many facts about sports. I sure hope when I said that that large amounts of alcohol were involved because, what the hell was I thinking?! I’ve since learned that it is actually not sexy at all, but rather indicative of an obsession that seems to trump most major familial responsibilities.
3. You have the ability to annoy each other, even in your sleep
Kevin uses his giant man legs to hold the covers down at the bottom of the bed. I indiscriminately allow the children to sleep in our bed, frequently at the same time.
We didn’t notice these things in the early part of our marriage probably because we were too busy actually making the children.
Which brings me to my next two points…
4. You must learn to define sex in other ways.
This lesson I learned was one born out necessity and things in life that simply get in the way of traditional lovemaking. It’s not just the kids; it’s the long hours at work, the stress, the nine months’ pregnant belly that gets in the way. So you learn to be creative.
Interestingly, watching Step Up and Step Up 2 together counts.
5. You must learn to have sex in places other than your bed. And make it quick.
This one is especially important if your bed is crowded with children at night or you are already annoyed at your husband’s failure to keep you blanketed (see #3). It is mostly born out of small children and their demands on your time and space. So take the opportunity wherever it arises, and, dear God, make it quick.
6. He still does not know how to dress himself.
This one can be cross-referenced to #2 as I thought it rather endearing when we first met that Kevin had trouble matching and coordinating outfits. Apparently, it’s not a learned behavior, because, after ten years, he still cannot do it. And if dressing himself involves putting together a sequence of outfits for, say, packing for a trip….fuhgeddaboudit.
7. The children always come first.
I admit this one was a tough pill for Kevbo to swallow. He was pretty pampered in the early years of our marriage (remember Bon Appetit? Nightly sex?). I even had a hard time writing it out myself. But it’s true. By nature, kids are kids/toddlers/babies and they can’t survive on their own. And Kevbo can, well kind of, albeit a little mismatched.
This is why you have to work on your marriage with all of the date night ins and date night outs and vacations away and the #4s and the #5s but you don’t have to “work” on your relationship with your kids. This took me ten years to learn and I’m giving you this nugget for free, now. You’re welcome.
8. You are mad at each other, like, all the time.
See #2, #3, #6, #7.
When we were dating, Kevin once said to me, “I can’t imagine ever being mad at you.” And I’m pretty sure he’s mad at me right now. Not super mad, but annoyed, frustrated. And I with him. And it’s OK. Ten years is a long time. We live together. We share everything. We’re best friends. We’re stressed out from life, kids, work, finances. It doesn’t mean we love each other any less. And it makes for great make-up sex. Just not in our bed (see #3, #5).
9. He will always run faster, be stronger and be better at sports than you.
But I pushed babies out of my vagina so it all evens out in the end, blah, blah, blah.
10. You will love him more after ten years than you did on your wedding day.
This was an epic journey of learning that definitely took me the full ten years. I really, really loved Kevin–was smitten, adored him as a newlywed.
But it doesn’t hold a candle to how I feel about him now.
He’s been at my side through the ups and downs of a decade. We’ve grown up together, learned together, been on adventures and through mishaps together.
He held me and carried me through two hard miscarriages, the birth of two children, and miraculously, one more on the way.
Quite simply, he’s my hero.
He’s the kind of man that would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need. He once stayed up all night and paid an insane amount of money to recover all of my photos that I had accidentally deleted off my hard drive.
He lets me always have the bigger half, the better towel, the window seat on an airplane. He makes me laugh. A lot.
He is an incredible father. So much so that it melts my heart to see him play with our kids, take care of them, dress them in similarly mismatched outfits.
He does all of the laundry, all of the time.
So there you have it. Ten years. Ten things. Here’s to ten more years; I can’t wait to see all of the new ways he’ll annoy me.
And I can fall in love with him all over again. And so will you, with yours. Happy wedding and happy marriage!
Alyson Schroeder is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in working with individuals, couples and families. She lives in Gloucester County, NJ, where she also has the privilege of being very good friends with Jaclyn Fisher, largely because she hopes that Jaclyn’s organizational skills and attention to detail will rub off on her. So far it hasn’t.