It was a cold November Friday night at the pub where I usually worked but a night off meant I could enjoy the atmosphere from the opposite side of the bar, which was quite lucky when I saw this cute guy walk in.
A few sneaky smiles, eye-contact moments and many a Hooch later, we spent the night chatting about the past, present and future before he walked me home, and sealed the night with a kiss on the door. Smitten right there. Fast forward almost 21 years, and nothing’s changed.
…No, wait, I take that back… EVERYTHING has changed!
The pre-kid life was pretty cool and disposable income made it an easy ride. Shopping spree’s, nights out, weekends away, holidays abroad, all the usual young-adult life antics you get up to when you have no commitments. Time went on, we got engaged, took a 12-month trip around the world with no work, just play, bought our first home, had a ‘Just Us’ wedding and then the Mini’s arrived, which mixed with work meant ‘us’ time was removed from the agenda, something we missed, and still do.
A marriage is like any other partnership. Everything 50/50, both sides have to work hard, pull their weight, think of the other party, and how their actions effect the whole agreement. It has to be worked on, time and effort has to be put into it, and they both have to want it to work, for it to be a success. For us, this is exactly how it’s always been, mixed with a few disagreements over mashed or roast potato’s!
Adapting our lives when the children came along was tough, as it is for all new parents no doubt. Party nights became film nights, days out became a military operation with pushchair, nappy bag and pre-expressed breast milk, and glasses of lemonade were drunk minus the vodka. We gave up quite a lot, and we felt it, it hurt, but it was the natural progression of our relationship, and we wanted it so bad.
But what we agreed from day one was that it wasn’t going to effect our relationship. We used to have so much fun just the two of us, used to travel, were spontaneous and we didn’t want the expansion of our family to stop us from doing all the things we loved, the things that made us click, the things that made us, us, a couple, a team. But even today we still share all the values, dreams and life ambitions that we discussed that first night at the bar, and still support each others individual goals no matter how crazy they (mine!) might be.
So Friday, with the eldest at a sleepover and the youngest away with the school, I booked the day off work and we decided to have whole 24hour date! Now we could have saved a small fortune and stayed at home, kid free, with all our comfy amenities, dressing gown, and slippers, but we thought we’d reminisce of our previous life and stay away at a hotel for the evening, just us, the first time since 2003, and only the 7th night out together in the last 12 years!
Booking the room was fine, we chose a real nice one, but reserving a table for an evening meal for just two people was very strange, and I actually felt a pang of guilt, of selfishness, knowing we wouldn’t be eating with children as we always did, but then they were otherwise engaged, and were happy and more importantly safe, so all was good.
I must admit, making the effort to have a night out with the Mr felt good. Hairdressers appointment with a new outfit and I felt a million dollars, but pondered if making the effort is something I should do more regular, especially to keep the spark alive after all this time. But in all honesty, I could have worn my fave jeans and a tee and it would have been exactly the same, and he still would have complimented me the way he did – the spark is always lit.
It really is so important to spend quality time together, whether you’ve been together one year or 21. We’re happy in each others company, we’re still young, we’ve still got hopefully over half our lives left to live and make more amazing memories for us and the children, and we’re still very much in love.
Over half my life later, are we the same people that met that night at the local? Of course not, we’ve grown up, we’ve aged, we have wrinkles, we have responsibilities, we’re parents, and our lives have completely changed. But on the inside, when it’s just us, when we are just being ourselves with no attachments, we’re the same 18 and 22 year old’s we were that very first night when two strangers met.
And am I still smitten?… hell yeah.