The positive stuff that married people forget to tell you.
Based on an article By Ariane Beeston - March 2019. Edited and added to in Oct 2021
It's not a revelation that marriage sometimes isn't easy. Bringing together two different personalities, each with their own histories, quirks, dreams and goals, will always have its challenges. But there's so much to love, too. And given that love is what marriages are meant founded on, surely that's worth celebrating.
Sadly, sometimes there are those who were unable to find themselves and their marriage in a “good place” and are "regressing" into gender-stereotypes, the nagging and criticism of clothing-friendships-television preferences.
So here is a reminder of some of the more positive aspects of marriage and long-term relationships. I added long-term relationships because not everyone wants to, or is able, to tie the knot, which is why I also officiate commitment ceremonies and polyamories commitment ceremonies.
Top of the list - It can be lots of fun
When you've been with your partner for a while, over time you develop your own personal in-jokes, your own secret language of humour and phrases and silly pop-culture references. And whether your idea of fun is doing “Tough Mudder” as a couple, or binge-watching the latest Netflix series, those moments of togetherness, when you're laughing and enjoying one another's company, make it all so worthwhile.
Equal number one - It doesn't have to mean no more sex
Forget the cliché that sex stops after marriage. While it's certainly true for some relationships, (but that could also be due to other factors,) others find the security and trust you share with a long-term partner, liberating. There's an authenticity about married sex, something that comes from love and respect. It's the ability to explore desires, to articulate clearly and honestly what you like and don't like. And that's not to say there won't be peaks and troughs and at times, complete droughts. There'll be lots of occasions where you'll Netflix and actually chill. There will also be mix-matched libidos at times. But married sex can still be amazing. And, sex aside, sleeping together, jigsaw-snug is also kind of wonderful and as my partner tells me, snoring can be a soothing comfort.
Kids changes everything – and take a bit of getting use to
The writer Nora Ephron once said: " A child is a grenade. When you have a baby, you set off an explosion in your marriage, and when the dust settles, your marriage is different from what is was."
The truth is, having kids can really stretch, while at the same time, strengthen your relationship, often on the same day, and don't be fooled here, it doesn't matter if you're a straight couple or part of the LGBT community, as a "gay dad" bringing up two boys I know this feeling.
Before you have kids, you ‘know’ that things will change. It's seems obvious. And yet, it's not until you're there in the thick of sleepless nights, endless nappies and bone-deep exhaustion that the truth of this really hits. Just as our bodies adjust to limited sleep, relationships can (and hopefully do!) accommodate to the new rhythm of life that children bring.
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – as the saying goes
It's often the most trying times that bring out the best in couples - for there's something about being in it together, whatever "it" happens to be. While we're faced with many stresses in life that we don't choose, we often do have a choice with who we face them with. Going through serious illness, redundancy, loss and grief can flood you with a deep appreciation for your life partner, their presence and support. The way, after years of shared history, they can anticipate what you need. And what you don't. In more traditional weddings, including in the vows was the line “In sickness and in health”.
It's one thing for your partner to MAKE that vow and quite another to actually follow through when it's tested. And what an incredible feeling that is.
Familiarity doesn't breed complacency and boredom
There's something pretty special and very comforting about having someone who knows you (sometimes better than you know yourself) and loves you, “warts and all”. After all those years, the assurance that there's someone who has your back and your heart and who feels like "home," is one of life’s greatest things and a true privilege.
It's the little things too, like being able to sit in silence without rushing to fill the space. And waking up every morning with to the person you adore, their face sleep-crinkled, grateful, once again, that they chose you. And that you choose them too.