My husband and I have been together for a whopping twenty years this year and gosh it’s been a rich and varied ride.
When I cast my mind back to us as naive and fresh-faced twenty-five year-olds moving into our rented two-bedroom unit with no money in the bank and one decent car between us, I see two kids in love and bursting to tackle life head-on together.
I won’t bore you with a detailed history of our whole twenty years. Let’s just say there’s been lots of ups, plenty of downs but mostly regular, normal life just sort of chugging along. No complaints though because our ‘normal’ would be considered paradise on steroids for many people living in other lands.
Fast forward to now and we’ve got so much to be grateful for:
A very cool and relaxed lifestyle by the ocean in a very nice holiday town, two gorgeous kids both on the verge of teenager-dom, healthy bodies, great friends and loving families, work we both enjoy and financial comfort.
But how’s our relationship?
Because you know all those external trappings of success don’t guarantee nothing in this crazy world of ours.
I’ve heard first-hand about countless women just like me with, to the casual observer, everything to be happy about but for whom life feels inwardly miserable or desperately tedious.
And I guess to be honest, I came close to meeting that description around ten years ago when our kids were little. It never became extreme but I certainly reached a point where I felt dissatisfied with my life and my husband was apportioned a reasonable or should I say, ‘unreasonable’ amount of the blame.
When I look back now I see that we were both doing our best to fulfill the roles of parents to our young family and that this put a lot of pressure on our relationship: Hubby worked long hours and though I loved motherhood I also missed my paid work for its mental stimulation and sense of achievement. Before too long we’d drifted onto that favoured battle ground of many young parents. It’s called – “Who’s doing it tougher.”
These days our relationship is good. It’s good because it’s real and honest and mature. We love one another yes, we also enjoy one another’s company as friends and we support each other in pursuing our dreams and ambitions. We have wonderfully lively conversations together and he can still make me giggle.
And of course, we also have those times when things just don’t feel good, we’re tense around one another and everything is difficult. That’s normal right?
It’s complex. I mean raising children, earning a quid, looking after one’s own health, building good friendships, spending quality time together (without the kids) and having a sex life. There’s a lot going on there and that doesn’t include planning holidays, making big career changes, moving to new places and buying and selling homes, all of which we’ve done in the last three years.
So anyway, our relationship has gotten to this point of maturity and longevity for many reasons, but I think one key element has been that I worked out (at around that ten year mark), that I needed to get over the idea that he or anyone else – including my children – was put on this earth to make me happy.
I took full responsibility for making myself happy by doing things I loved each day and by cultivating a deeper and stronger feeling of love and acceptance for myself. It began with daily meditation and a weekly yoga class and was followed by lots and lots of journal writing, studies in kinesiology and flower essence therapy, some amazing self-help and spiritual books and some great healing sessions with some amazing women I met along the way.
My husband was of course right there by my side supporting me and I also had some wonderful friends and my Mum to talk things over with. But really it’s been up to me to choose between the many pathways to travel and to make the clear and simple choice each day to love myself a little more and put myself first in my life.
Once I realised that I didn’t need to wait for anyone else’s approval, because it was already there dwelling within me, I began blossoming in so many new ways.
The story continues…
If you feel you could benefit from some extra support to embark on your new path of loving and accepting yourself more, I’m available for telephone and Skype sessions to help you along the way. Just click here and then contact me for a chat. Much love, Tricia