Monday, July 26, 2010

It's my 25th wedding anniversary today

It's my 25th wedding anniversary today.

Of course, I was a child bride...

Well, actually I was 23 year old when Mark and I got married...he was only a year (and still is, funnily enough) older than me. I tell you...if my daughter came home and said she was getting married in a year's time at the age of 23 ...I'd go ballistic!

Falling in love
I was nearly 19 years old when we met...six months into my nursing training. We met at a party in the nurses' home. I fell in love with his very cute butt, which I have to say he still has. And the fact that he had a black JPS Ford Capri helped a lot too. He would pick me up from Salisbury General Infirmary in the summer when I'd finished an 'early' shift and we'd drive down to the beach at Bournemouth...with the car windows wide open..wind in our hair (that was in the days when we both had hair) and 'Earth, Wind and Fire' blaring out from the tape deck.

Getting married
Once we decided to married, we did it in three weeks. I think everyone thought I was pregnant although no-one ever came out and asked me. We had very little money so we got married in the local registry office...I wore a nylon dress I bought in an ordinary dress store...and we had sandwiches in the back garden with just our close family.

What money we had we spent on our honeymoon -we went to Greece and stayed in a resort just outside of Athens. The only snag was the beach was right in the flight path of Athens airport and Mark spent most of his time plane spotting rather than romancing me! He even started giving lessons to the other guests about how to identify the various planes. I got horrible heat stroke and was extremely sick on the door step of an outdoor restaurant, in front of all the diners. My other memory of our honey moon was Mark buying a huge water melon from the market and bringing it back to our hotel room, on his shoulder because it was so heavy. He only had a knife from the resturant to cut it up so he ended up making a terrible mess all over our room - everything was really sticky. He ended up giving pieces to other guests because there was too much for us to eat.

Married life
We lived in Salisbury, UK until I finished my midwifery training. When we decided to think about having children, we moved to Pitton which is about 12 miles outside of Salisbury. Ellen came along when I was 26 and Andrew was born when I was 28. Life continued to be pretty hectic especially when we both had jobs that meant we were commuting and I had to get a live-in au pair to look after the kids. It was at that point in 1996 that we decided to move to New Zealand to have a change of life style. And here we are...years later ...with two beautiful young adult children and a new lease of life to our marriage now they've moved out of home...even though it's only five minutes drive down the road!

So different
When I reflect on those early days of our marriage I wonder how we ever stuck together all these years. We were so different...came from very different backgrounds. He voted Labour and I supported (much to my shame) the Conservatives. He was an atheist and I came from a staunchly Christian family. He left school when he was 16 and I have never really stopped studying except when I had children. He loves to be active all the time...I can lie on the sofa all day doing nothing except read.

But if you were to ask me what achievements in my life I am most proud of, I'd say there are two things that I immediately think of. The first thing is that I breastfed my children for a year each, giving them the best start to their lives in an environment that did not support breastfeeding. The second achievement is our marriage. I am incredibly proud of the fact we are able to role model a successful marriage to our kids at a time when 1:3 - 4 marriages end in divorce.

Secrets to a long marriage?
So what is the secret to a successful marriage?

My reply is probably nothing you haven't heard before.

1. Be friends as well as lovers.
2. Spend time apart to follow your own dreams and have 'me' time - don't be upset when your partner wants to go off and do their own thing at times.
3. Never let the sun go down on an argument.
4. Keep the romance going - please would someone kindly tell my husband about this rule!!
5. Have a laugh with each other every day.

What do you think is the secret to a long marriage or relationship?


hbacmama in Canada said...

What a beautiful photo of the four of you!
Not that I'm one who had a marriage that was going to work...
I think the biggest thing to making one work. Would be honesty.

Be honest about who you are and what you need out of the relationship. Sadly I married someone who felt they had the right to a marriage and the other life they needed to be happy too.

So for me it would be honesty.
Not that I'm going down that road again any time in the near future.

Rachel Reed said...

Congratulations Sarah and Mark!
How lovely to read a positive marriage story. I will be pointing out the rules to my husband this evening - especially no.4
I hope you have something special planned to celebrate.

mstephens said...

congratulations you two. What a beautiful story. I agree with your points totally - being friends in addition, keeping talking and keeping laughing together. I belive that you don't have to be the same not do the same things to be kindred souls and it is the latter that is the glue I think. Have a lovely day.

Lorraine Storry Mockford said...

Congratulations Sarah! This October will see 38 years with my darlin' and I have no idea where the time went.

I think the only thing that I would add to your recipe for a successful marriage would be to not sweat the small stuff, really! Love and laugh - a lot!

I will be attending 3 weddings this year. Here's hoping that they all beat the odds!

Lorraine in Nova Scotia

Sarah Stewart said...

@Rachel I don't think Mark will ever get the hang of rule number 4! LOL

@hbacmama Lovely to hear from you. I am sorry to hear that your experience has not been one you'd like to repeat. I hope I do not sound smug when I talk about our marriage. I am very lucky - Mark has put up with a lot over the years...letting me do my thing and being incredibly supportive of me as I have followed my dreams. But it has been a 2-way thing. The bottom line is...even though he drives me up the wall a lot of the time...he's my best mate.

@Moira Thanks. We're celebrating properly in September & goi9ng away on a special holiday...probably to Vanuatu.

Sarah Stewart said...

Wow! Lorraine...38 years! We're still on our honeymoon then!!?? LOL

classyadele said...

That was a lovely story, Sarah! ahhh... you should have posted an old wedding photo of yours too - that would have been the icing on the cake!

Congratulations again, here's to many more years to come!

Sarah Stewart said...

@Classyadele The photo at the top of this post is of us getting married - have another look :)

Karen Humber said...

Congratulations Sarah! Beautiful photos. Heartwarming to hear of your celebration and reflection. Keep on keeping on!

starpath said...

Congratulations. Happy families are priceless gems. Not sure about the secret to a long and happy marriage. We celebrate 42 years. Loved your beautiful photo and your story. Reflection is a great and satisfying technique. Another visit to Greece perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations.... You have a nice family and also you are a successful woman.
¡Te deseo con todo corazón muchos éxitos familiares y personales!

Tracy Pemberton said...

I hope you had a great anniversary. I have one coming up this month too. 26. Nice pictures.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you all very much for your lovely comments. The reason I wanted to write this refelection is that it is a permanent record for my children. Maybe, one day when I'm dead and gone, they'll find this reflection and think warmly of the two old codgers :)

Carolyn said...

Just saw this post, many many congratulations to you both. Clearly you both still have that spark for each other. Love and best wishes for another 25 years. What will the photos look like then??

Anita Hamilton said...

I just found this post too! Congratulations. That photo is just beautiful and makes me want to visit New Zealand!
It is a great story, somewhat like mine. Met Alec at a dance (Lincoln Institute Melb), married age 22 and 10 months, first baby at 28, second at 30. We have the same credo, be best mates and lovers, try not to let the sun go down on an argument (unless you are clearly not going to resolve it), be separate some times (yes our careers facilitate this) and be open, honest, supportive and interested in each other's lives. Twenty three years this December.

Cheers and celebrate! Anita

Sarah Stewart said...

@Carolyn Dear lord...another 25 years...we'll end up murdering each other!! LOL

@Anita Its beautiful where I place like it...on a good day. The trick is getting a good day :)

Anne Marie said...

Oh- how lovely! Many congratulations.
I'm only coming up to 4 years of marriage so not qualified to comment but I feel your tips seem very sensible.

classyadele said...

Oh it is! How did I miss that? (I get this from my Google Reader) :) Your daughter looks a lot like you now, Sarah when you were her age! :) Ahh....bliss! :) It is a lovely pic! :)

Sarah Stewart said...

@AM You're still on your honeymoon :)

@classyadele A few people say she looks like me...I wish I was as beautiful as she is...inside as well as outside :) :)

Merrolee said...

I just found this too.. lovely posting - so enjoyed your narrative.... we are 26 years married this year.. and have two beautiful daughters... I was almost a child bride at 22 years old.. and one daughter same age as me when I had her!! OMG - I thought I was so mature :-)

Sarah Stewart said...

I agree...I was the same, Merrolee. But having said that, I had finished 4 years nursing back in the days when just got on with counselling or reflective practice for us. So while I was only 23, I was older in years of experience, especially compared to my own daughter.

Somerset wedding gal said...

This really does go to show that you don't need a bit elaborate wedding to be in love with each other. I really enjoyed reading this, it reminds of my own parent's marriage as a matter of fact!