We enter into marriage steadfastly believing ‘this is forever’ and ‘he is the one; my soul mate, my ‘twin flame’ the ‘yin to my yen’ for his key sits so damn well in your lock. You don’t even mind his morning breath, are happy to hand him his tea on a tray and still go back to collect the requested condiments with a smile.
Once married you are part of an elite set of ‘couples’; there is safety in this pack, someone loves you and finds you more attractive than anyone else on the planet. This person has loosely stated that fact in some sort of ceremony in front of your family and friends. So you’re now coming down from some fabulous honeymoon after spending £25k of your parents money on a wedding to eclipse all others. Guess what? Now is the time to simply ‘get on with living the rest of your natural born days on planet earth with the same man’.
Daunting? Just a tad!
The timeline by which most young girls wish their lives to run goes something like this; a first class honours degree, landing a dream job, meeting the man of their dreams, travelling together during which he will propose on top of either an important monument or a mountain. Next comes planning the ‘wedding of the century’; culminating in said event followed swiftly by ‘honeymoon of the year’ then finally normal life must be endured.
The next few years will be punctuated with pregnancies; two is the preferred option; one of each then more normality. At this point a vile combination of ‘nostalgia’, ‘envy’ and ‘injustice’ will be poured into the ‘Cauldron of Doom’. With every ‘I’m working late’, ‘What have you been doing all day?’ ‘I need a break’ and ‘You wanted two’ the veneer of perfection so carefully cultivated and something you’d dreamed of since the age of ten will begin to dissolve. Injustice is one of the biggest killers of a relationship.
‘She’ is a stay at home Mum; a job she always dreamed of having; raising her beautiful offspring utilising all the self-help books available and doing her level best to be ‘perfect’.
‘He’ is working his ass off to ‘bring home the bacon’; for there are now more mouth’s to feed, a bigger car to run, complex pushchair combinations to master and the bi-weekly children’s Cranial Osteopathy appointment to be paid for.
Gone are the days of spontaneous sex, dropping by their favourite bar to share a good bottle of red on their way home from work; drinking two bottles then sharing a platter of Tapas and having yet more spontaneous sex. Inclination, time and energy; the three main stays of youth and enthusiasm have now been sapped by responsibility, lack of time and exhaustion. Gone are the pre-marriage conversations where they were up till dawn discussing their hopes and dreams with bright eyes and flushed faces after one too many ‘Bailey’s on ice’. These have been replaced with snippy questions about the following day and how they’ll navigate yet another busy week.
Who’s doing what? At this point ‘injustice’ is now hanging insidiously in the air around them like an old man’s fart. Smiles are replaced with raised eyebrows and false laughs. Next comes ‘envy’ where each hankers after the other’s responsibilities seemingly only able to see the good in the other’s agenda but none in their own. ‘Nostalgia’ is an additional unpleasant ingredient as you both hanker after the past and wonder where the hell your ‘Twin Flame’ buggered off to.
‘He’s changed’, ‘she’s changed’ both of course is true but now everything is about competition. ‘She sits on her arse all day’… ‘at least he gets to take a piss on his own’ and with that the already stilted communication breaks down further.
Finally all you can rejoice in jointly are the ‘baby steps’ of your children, the little achievements they have which remind you; just for a moment of what you still have in common. Unfortunately at this point ‘contempt’ may have took up head of the table and neither of you can see the wood for the trees. Obviously there are many exceptions to the rule, lots of wonderful couples who time manage well, show kindness, understanding and go above and beyond at least occasionally to get things back on track. Children need to be raised, the car needs two new tyres and the boiler service is now £300!
Life chugs on and often these days a disaster will occur; an affair, a drinking habit or a spending problem; you take your pick they’re all out there for the choosing. At this point once again ‘injustice’ appears; ‘I wish I had time for a bloody affair’ with one believing their ‘whiter than white’ and other painted black. At this point both are keen to extricate themselves from the perceived failure and none of this even takes into account failing health, job loss or a myriad of other external negativity that can befall a relationship. No I’m only looking at expectation versus ‘getting the fuck on with it’.
Social media has a role to play in our lust for justice. Perfect lives, loves, children and everything in between is being played out in all it’s ‘photoshopped’ glory to be picked over and digested like a Salmonella carrying Wicheti grub. Set against idealistic quotes printed over breath-taking scenery from far flung exotic places you already know you’ll never get to see in your lifetime and self-proclaiming experts in every field known to man suggesting all the things you could and should be doing to improve your life experience. Then there’s the ‘do good’ brigade using every trick in the book to guilt you into changing the way you Mother, the things you eat, say, feel, think thus ridding you of your authenticity as you battle to regain who you thought you were and who you thought you were going to be.
Today’s world is complex, sifting through the relentless barrage of advice a.k.a passive-aggressive negativity is time consuming and emotionally draining. The antidote is simple however; get outside, inhale fresh air, use your legs in the way they were intended, be with those you love, laugh, be silly and most importantly be grateful. Each day in your life is as important as the next; today being the most important to-date after all you are still here living and breathing.
Wake feeling grateful, find a way to inject some fun into everything you do, smile, proffer salutations to strangers and connect with those you love on a daily basis. Try something new and never say no to an invitation without good reason!
A relationship needs constant attention, cultivation and kindness. Men simply don’t understand the very simple ways he can make a huge difference. I’ll give you the key today; the secret to really seducing a woman when she’s exhausted after having spent the day ‘raising children’ or separating two warring factions set against a screaming drone whilst covered in food, snot and trying not to cry with disappointment.
Here it is; are you listening?
“You arrive home from work and take over. Gather up your brood and tell your wife to go into the lounge. Make her a cup of tea, pass her the remote (she’ll be too stunned to move at this point) and tell her to stay there. In the kitchen make the children something simple; cereal will suffice, a piece of fruit and some water. Next clear up your own mess, the children’s and whatever else was there anyway. All of this you do with patience whilst refusing help from your wife and encouraging her to relax. Upstairs you must clean up your children and get them ready for bed. During this time you’ll endure the hassle of answering a million menial questions about nothing, then deal with several toilet trips, have to apply cream to non-descript cuts and appease the need for another drink. Your reward for all your efforts is that ‘your’ children are now sleep.
You will then come downstairs and silently prepare your wife a meal; beans on toast will suffice. This must be served on a tray with a knife and fork then duly placed on her lap. At this point you will ask her which condiments she would like then collect them with a smile. Spontaneous sex will ensue; not necessarily that night but it’s coming; and so will you. You’re welcome.”