Although we share all kinds of details about our day to day lives, from¬†what we‚Äôre planning for dinner to holiday snaps, Gareth and I make a¬†conscious effort to keep the really personal stuff offline. At a glance,¬†it can seem as though our whole lives are documented for all to see, but¬†it‚Äôs really only the trivial stuff that gets put out there. A few¬†pictures of our cats walking on their leads doesn‚Äôt actually reveal a¬†great deal about us as a couple. The real story is in the detail like¬†how we agreed, together, to get two maine coons, for example.
I feel somewhat exposed doing this but I’m diving right in to a ten part¬†series covering some of the most important love lessons Gareth and I¬†have learnt since becoming husband and wife. We’ll be sharing some of¬†the mistakes we made as well as some of the break-through moments that¬†we’ve had. But most importantly I really want to give you the¬†opportunity to think about these things and hopefully discuss them with¬†your partner afterwards.
I¬†know that if I was where you are right now this is the kind of¬†content I would have really loved to see from a wedding blogger. After¬†all, your wedding is just one day, it’s all the days after you say “I¬†do” which really matter.
1. On Selfishness
As human beings we are intrinsically selfish. We naturally think about¬†ourselves first but when you’re married you need to consider the other¬†person‚Äôs feelings just as much as, if not more than, your own. It’s no¬†longer about looking out for number one or having your own goals and¬†life path, it’s about the two of you thinking and acting as a team.
Although in many ways Gareth and I are really similar – our outlook on¬†life and our plans for the future – in others our tastes couldn’t be¬†more different. I love sushi and Thai food, he prefers burgers and¬†chips. I like nothing better than sitting down to a True Blood or 24¬†marathon, he detests any kind of American drama. My idea of a perfect¬†Saturday is raiding the aisles of Topshop and H&M, he hasn’t bought¬†himself any new clothes in years… You get the picture.
It might sound obvious but when you promise yourselves to each other for¬†life you need to consider the other person’s feelings in everything you¬†do, much more so than you would have while dating. Let’s be honest,¬†you’re going to be with this person forever – you need to make sure¬†you’re both happy!
Considering how your actions affect your partner is imperative to a¬†healthy relationship. And it’s not just about knowing how they feel or¬†making sure you do nice things for them, it’s about realising that your¬†every action has an impact on their happiness.
The way Gareth and I work around our differences is to have time apart¬†to do the things we both individually enjoy, but when deciding on doing¬†something together we often choose to be systematic (i.e. boring!) and¬†simply take turns getting our way. For example, if I tried to be¬†super-generous every time we went out for dinner and let Gareth choose¬†his favourite restaurant, even though the decision was mine, I‚Äôd soon¬†start to resent the fact that he always got his way and he would¬†naturally take it for granted too. Obviously, the same would be true if¬†the roles were reversed. If the last time we went out for dinner I chose¬†the restaurant then we both know that the next time we go out Gareth¬†gets to choose. On the surface, it probably sounds like the least¬†romantic approach dinner imaginable but it works brilliantly for us.
In a marriage it’s all about give and take. If you disagree on things,¬†taking turns as to who gets ‘their way’ is a great way to ensure one¬†partner never feels hard done by.
The most important thing is not to take your husband or wife (and how¬†they feel) for granted. You have to work on your marriage and be aware¬†that you have to keep the love alive. It won’t just tick over on it’s own.
- Photography: Devlin Photos