I’m happily married. I love my husband, but things are.. how do I put this? A little different to when we first met. In the beginning, I didn’t wear saggy tracksuit pants around the house. I wore matching lingerie sets (until our first born arrived and then I wore my maternity underwear for about a year – don’t judge). I’d always wear light makeup. I washed my hair, well, more than I do now...
Let me take you through what happened in our household last night. I had a big shoot on this morning. The stress was building. Husband was producing a big conference. I was up late making school lunches, setting out school clothes, tidying up stuff. Tidying up more stuff. Sorting out washing. Getting ready for shoot. It’s 10pm. It’s getting late. Head into bedroom with iPhone torch on. Husband in bed trying to get a good night’s sleep before his conference the following day. Husband trying to unwind. Husband gets annoyed at my torch in his face and tells me to turn it off. I continue to potter around our room, trying but failing to be quiet. Clearly annoying husband. He tells me to turn torch off. He’s getting grumpier by the minute. Torch off. Go to bathroom and wash my face, apply creams that promise I’ll look younger. Please, please, please work. These wrinkles are coming on strong. Come out of bathroom. It’s pitch black. Cockroach flies into my hair. I repeat: cockroach flies into my hair. Possibly the most horrific thing that’s happened to me. Ever. Ok I’m being dramatic, but it was horrible. Start screaming hysterically. All lights turned on. Husband furious. I’m freaking out. Make husband kill cockroach. Room smells of toxic bug spray. Calm down (sort of) and hop into bed. Start sneezing as haven’t changed pillows in years and am becoming more and more allergic to them. Must be full of dust. Remind myself to buy new pillows tomorrow. Husband more annoyed at me as I blow my nose and sneeze. Wake up the following morning knackered from sneezing all night. Pile of tissues by my bedside. Snap at husband. Apologise to husband for snapping. Kiss and make up. Wish him luck for his conference. Rush out door.
Most nights in our home don’t involve bugs flying into my hair – thank god. A perfect night would involve two sleeping children, parking ourselves on the couch and watching a good TV series. Wine in hand. Dogs on lap. Happy days. Recently we went to the movies together – we haven’t done that in years. And the other week we just went out to dinner last minute – just the two of us. No one was there to throw the salt and pepper shakers across the restaurant. We even ate slowly because there were no children crawling all over us making us eat like we were in prison. Oh how times have changed.
I met my husband in a local bar when I was 27. I fell for him the minute I met him. I still remember blushing when he looked at me. Damn. I was hooked. We were married three years later and our first daughter arrived the following year. There are many things I didn’t anticipate about having children (I never knew how overwhelming it could be at times) but what I didn’t expect was the pressure it puts on your relationship. Weren’t you just supposed to gaze at each other blissfully about the fact you’d made mini versions of yourself? Yeah, I know. Ha! I never thought about snapping at each other over whose turn it was to change the baby’s nappy or give the baby another bottle. That we’d be bickering at 2am. Then 3am. Then 4am. By 6am we were both delirious from trying to settle a newborn all night. How sometimes it’d feel like we were competing over who was more “exhausted” (a pointless debate – we’re both tired, end of story). Like most couples, we have our moments. We fight. Sometimes we fight over whose turn it is to get milk. We have good weeks and bad weeks. But here’s one thing I’m certain of: marriage isn’t always easy and it’s unrealistic to expect that it will be.
So how do you make it work? Well, for starters, don’t shine your iPhone torch in your husband’s face. Huge mistake. Open a bottle of nice champagne from time to time. On a Wednesday. And most importantly, give each other time. Appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Focus on each other just like you focus on the kids or work. I’m no relationship expert (sometimes I think I should see one) but I think the little things are the key to a good relationship – bringing each other a cup of tea or coffee in bed, accepting you won’t always see eye to eye on things and a weekend away here or there (with or without the kids). I’m off to bed and tonight, I’ll turn my torch off.
Photo: Grace Alyssa Kyo