Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Secret To Our Happy Marriage



Papa Syder and I have never had a lot of money. In our younger days we were a bit obsessed with 'keeping up with the Jones's' although we didn't actually realise that we were, our lifestyle just expected us to. We both worked around the clock to provide the family with not only a living, but with possessions that we thought were important to our family and to our happiness. 

When our four kids were small Papa and I worked our shifts around each others to ensure that one of us was always available to take care of the kids. It worked out well for the first few years, the money was rolling in, we could afford lots of nice material things and as a married couple, we thought we were happy. The reality was, we had become like passing ships in the night and with every year that passed our marriage was being stretched further and further apart, until one day, it couldn't be stretched anymore and it just snapped. The closeness we had once shared dwindled away with every long shift we worked. Every extra hour we spent at work was taking us away from each other and our marriage.


It took the death of my Mum in 2006 to open our eyes. That year I fell apart. I realised that my life had become unhappy, I didn't know why and as I grieved for the loss of my Mum, I become really angry with the World, and in particular my Husband. I asked him to leave. I pushed him away. Far, far away. It was the first time that I had ever felt 'real' grief and I was confused by the way it made me feel. I thought I was angry with my husband, but in reality I was angry because my Mum had died.

Hubby moved away, but we spoke almost every day on the phone. Sometimes we argued and sometimes we asked each other where it all went wrong. He had been my best Friend since I was 17 and I missed him. I missed having someone beside me who knew me better than I knew myself. I missed the small things like having him there to eat with, to shop with, to walk with...to be with. 

Twelve months later, he came to visit me. As soon as I saw him I knew I still loved him. We got back together and moved house for a fresh start. We knew things would only work out if we could identify where our marriage went wrong and why it wasn't strong enough to cope with the loss of my Mum. 


We moved away to a rural retreat. A cottage beside the sea in North Devon. For the first time in our marriage (and lives) we had no distractions. Life suddenly became very simple and the sea our therapy. We walked and we talked. We made the decision that to be happy we didn't need much money, in fact we were happier with less. 

We fell in love all over again, except this time it was different because we were older and wiser. We knew what would work and what wouldn't. I read about families who had changed their lives by downshifting and I instantly knew that we needed to do the same.

We relocated back to Essex as changed people. We were refreshed, invigorated, inspired and full of optimism for the future of our marriage and our lives together. This year we celebrate 24 years of marriage and we now know that money really does not buy us happiness. 

Togetherness is the key to our happiness. The main thing I have learnt is that no marriage is perfect. It is not a fairytale. Things go wrong. S**t happens. Trust is lost. People make mistakes. But it can be fixed, and when you fix it, it can be stronger and happier than ever.

These days we do things very differently. 'Stuff' still happens and stress still exists but we now tackle any problems head on. We have no room for negativity or for people who cause it. We work less hours so we can be together more. We earn enough to live, and to afford extras like holidays and day trips we cut back in other areas. I no longer smoke, or do I drink alcohol on a regular basis. We are frugal. We grow our own vegetables and keep chickens. I sew, crochet and write. I am always busy, but it is a very different busy than before. It is a contented busy.


I strive to make my Husband happy and he does the same for me. We no longer take each other for granted or expect too much. We are not perfect. We still bicker sometimes, but we know that our relationship is important to us and always needs to be cared for and polished. We appreciate what we have and no longer think the grass is greener on the other side. We realise we are lucky to have what we have. I feel truly Thankful for the love we share.

23 comments:

  1. It's so good when you can figure out what it is which needs to change to fix things in a relationship, the worst feeling ever is when you can tell it's slipping through your fingers :/

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    1. Ours very nearly did Char, We were very lucky to be able to pull it back before we lost it forever xxx

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  2. At least you both knew what you wanted which was to be together and you worked for and found a way to achieve that. Well done you two!

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  3. What a lovely post! So glad that everything has worked out for you. I'm a firm believer that money can't buy you happiness x

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  4. That is so lovely and inspiring. I'm so glad you found a way to make your marriage work and you are actually happier than you were before. My husband works very long hours and I sometimes wish we could have more time as a family.

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    1. Thanks Sarah, Its not always easy to get the balance right is it x

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  5. This is so lovely. I haven't been married a year yet but i've been with my husband for 6 years and a lot has happened during those 6 years,I know that we'll be tested, hopefully not too hard, but we all are aren't we? Your story is so wonderfully inspiring, I kinda hope it helps anyone who might need it when they read it :) xx

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  6. I love your writing and your honesty. You are very lucky to have found your soul mate so young (as did I!) I wish you many more happy, peaceful years together :-)

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  7. Such a lovely post and your photos are gorgeous. Wise words that will help lots of people.

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  8. such a lovely post,its so true money doesn't buy happiness, have a lovely weekend xx

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  9. What a wonderful and honest post. I think as a generation we tend to put a lot of faith in material possessions and relationships suffer as a result. We also tend to be a throw away generation and if it's broke we just throw it away instead of trying to fix it. A fact which makes me worry about the next generation who half the time, don't even know who their father is or whether the person they're dating is their sibling. I'm so pleased that you were able to work through your problems and come out the other side much stronger for it!

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  10. Wow what a touchingly honest post; such a huge rollercoaster you were on and I could feel the pain and confusion from your words. Bless you. Here's to the happy ever after you have both found xx

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  11. You are such a beautiful ( inside and out ) couple, and your family are lovely!

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  12. So lovely... Love that last picture too, love encapsulated! :)

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  13. Truly beautiful post. I'm a 'hopeless' romantic I'm always over the moan when I hear a story when love conquers all :0) May you have many many happ years together.

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  14. What a fantastic post - I so enjoyed reading this, and I was gripped from start to finish. What an honest and 'real' relationship you both have. And I can really empathise with the grief you went through regarding your mum, and the way that it got translated into your marriage - the same thing happened for me after the traumatic birth of my little one - and I ended up taking a lot of my tramua/grief out on my husband... All the anger and pain I expressed had nothing to do with him, neither did it belong in our relationship - I just didn't know where to put 'it', if you know what I mean. And beautiful photos! X.

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  15. Your post is a little uncanny, we've had a number if walls to climb together, things that have rocked us to the core and there are still times I feel we don't connect, your expression if passing ships in the night ring true but we now know this and are working at it. It's hard but worth it and just last week finances reached a critical point forcing us to re-evaluate out lifestyle but as I say on my blog I am glad, I am thankful and cheerful about it x

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  16. What a wonderful, beautiful and touching post. Thank you for sharing x

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  17. Beautiful pictures and wonderful post :) x

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  18. Thank you for being so honest. Your second paragraph rings a lot of bells in my head, everything is getting stretched beyond breaking point and the snap will happen soon. I take heart from your post and maybe we can start to pull back together.
    Thanks for joining in x

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  19. The best post I have read in a long time. Here is to another 24 years for you both.

    This post really made me realise how long I have been blogging as I remember early posts form you about Devon.

    Mich x

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