What is a “perfect” marriage? Well that’s a question to ponder! Does it exist? Do you have it? Will you have it? If you asked couples who had been married a long time will they tell you they have had a perfect marriage? (If the answer is yes here then point me in their direction!).
So if you were to ask me the question “Helen, what is a perfect marriage” could I answer it? Well I’m going to stick my neck out here and say yes. And my answer would look something like this…….
When people say they’ve got a perfect marriage take it with a pinch of salt. There’s no such thing, I mean what does “perfect” mean anyway? You can be pretty great and very happy – that’s a different thing to perfect. I’ve certainly had perfect moments in my marriage (both of them actually) but is it perfect all the time? Is anything?
I first got married in 1994 to a very nice person, just not the right one for me. When I look back with the wisdom of experience, age and good sense I realise that deep down I probably knew it wasn’t quite right but I thought I could change him and make it perfect. Key point here – good marriages don’t need you to change each other! We had two children, I tried very hard, I made mistakes and I put up with mistakes. When it ended it was truly hellish, one of the worst periods of my life. I felt as though I’d failed until my brother pointed out two things. You can’t stay with somebody you don’t love just to please other people and if you can honestly say you’ve tried everything you could to make it work then you’ve done your best. And I did.
When I remarried in 2005 it was a completely different experience. We both came into the marriage with two children each. We were older and I know I was most certainly wiser. I knew what I wanted and more importantly I knew what I didn’t want. I knew what I needed and could express that. I had got really good at talking and communicating. And luckily for me, he was really good at that too.
We have been together 17 years now and at the risk of sounding a bit vomit inducing it’s pretty great. He’s my everything, we’re very happy and settled together. However…..is it perfect? No – sometimes he gets on my nerves, I’m sure I probably get on his although he’s lovely and says I don’t!!! Have there been difficult times in our marriage, yes. Have we talked about them – always, apart from once and it soon became clear that that would be a problem. So we talked. Communication and laughter is everything.
So am I an expert on what makes a great marriage? No. I work on mine and I’m a bit of an expert on that. When people tell you that you need to work at a relationship, at a marriage, it’s easy to dismiss that. I did for the first few years as I floated around on a “perfect love bubble”. But now I recognise that being with somebody for the rest of my life is not just about love, its about hard work, communication and a bit of luck!!
So when you choose me to be your celebrant, I bring with me experience, understanding, and the knowledge that your “perfect” is different to mine. That your story is different to mine, that your hopes, fears and everything in between are different to mine. And we embrace that together, because you are at the start of your marriage and you will learn in your own way all that is important and all that you need to make your marriage great.
(Disclosure….Am I an expert on marriage? No. Do I get it right all the time? No. Does what works for me mean it’s going to work for you? No. But it’s a subject that most people have an opinion and this is mine).