It’s 2020. The year we celebrate a decade of marriage. Thirteen years, in fact, since we first met. THIRTEEN. Unlucky for some? Not for us. But definitely more than most life sentences these days…!
Back in the day, Valentine’s was a milestone moment for us. A date night. Four candlelit courses. Bijou eateries. Home cooked feasts. Gosh, one year I even baked a heart-shaped chocolate mousse cake. I often wonder what ‘me then’ would say to ‘me now’?!
Because now? Now we exchange humorous cards. The type that play on the tension between a couple with two young kids. The sort that reference sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, sibling squabbles. I think last year my card called me his ‘favourite duvet snatcher’. I mean nothing says ‘everlasting love’ like rowing over the bed covers…But this is us. Ten years into marriage. Two kids in four years. And let’s be honest, family life is gruelling. And relentless. And if one of you is more hands on every day there might just be a tad of resentment thrown into the mix.
I know what you’re thinking. And yes, of course we still love each other. Our lives are full of laughter and love. And quite frankly, there is simply no-one I would rather be doing this with. But if you ask me how I feel about preparing a banquet for my beloved after the bed and bath-time battle, or venturing out after 8pm on a school night, well I’d be honest. That is not our reality right now.
Romance for us these days looks a little more like this:
- Shall I stack the dishwasher?
- I’ve just wiped out the high chair so you don’t have to.
- Don’t worry about the peas on the floor. I already swept them up.
Fire up a takeaway app, flick on another gritty Netflix serial killer documentary (I am obsessed) and promise me one night of undisturbed peaceful sleep. That, my friends, sounds like the best expression of true love I could imagine right now.
Grand gestures and fancy gifts don’t really cut it now. Thirteen years as a couple, we have passed the ‘honeymoon’ phase. Instead it’s the little things that make a difference in the general rampage that is our family-of-four lifestyle. The cup of tea brewed to perfection. Not needing to ask which pizza toppings I want to order. The quiet times cuddled up on the sofa silently smiling at pictures of the kids when they are snoring away upstairs. (If you know, you know!)
So to each and every one of you exhausted parents out there, I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day. And, if you muster up the energy (after tidying up the toys for the fifteenth time that day), take a moment to mutually appreciate what you’ve created together and the effect it has on your relationship. Just make sure you do it before the doorbell rings with the food and you hit play on Netflix!