WRITTEN BY CARLA LAWRENCE (GUEST WRITER)
I don’t love my husband like I used to. In fact, the relationship we had ten years ago is so different to the one we have now. We met when I was 16 and he was 18, back at an age where I had the time to put on a full face of make-up, do my hair, shave my legs and even apply fake tan, on a good week.
We did all our adventuring together; life was just one big adult-friendly play date. We went out almost every weekend, went for meals and did completely random things like visit old castles and museums. We’d take road trips to various spots in the UK, with often a stop at one of our favourite places, Alton Towers.
We travelled… New York, Dubai, Paris and the Bahamas, were just a few of the places we were lucky to visit, followed by our last adventure as a twosome, on our honeymoon to Florida and Miami.
But very soon after we got married, we had a baby, and shortly after that, our entire relationship changed.
You see when I met him almost fifteen years ago, I wasn’t really looking that far ahead. He was my good-looking slightly older boyfriend, we did our own thing and met up when we were free to. He drove and was old enough to go out (legally) whereas I wasn’t (although of course I found a way). Our individual groups of friends were still very important to us and we just slotted into each other’ lives when we could.
But as the years went on, I realised I could see myself marrying him and maybe even convince him to have babies with me (when we first met he wasn’t actually fussed about children – the art of persuasion is something I pride myself in)!
Growing up together, we were far from perfect, throw some vodkas and shots down my throat and I turn into a total nutter, I’m happy to admit that. But regardless of what the argument was over it was still forgotten about by the Sunday evening. It used to always be a laughing matter amongst our friends as to what we’d argue about that upcoming weekend. Usually, it was because I just wanted to get my chips and go home, whilst he was too interested in staying on the dancefloor.
And four years into our marriage, we are still far from perfect, but he is my partner in this crazy world we live in. I wouldn’t change him, well maybe a few minor things, but nobody is perfect and I’m sure there’s things he’d change about me!
Since becoming parents, I have had to dig deep for the memories of what our relationship was like before. The time that came with it, oh how I wish I had that time again(!) along with the efforts we made for one another. Life got busy, and we have now fallen into normal life as a family of three with a fourth member on the way. Throw in COVID, and we are even more boring than usual!
Our weekends are no longer filled with him taking me for random meals, cinema dates or spending all day on a Sunday driving me around the countryside finding fun things for us to do. But I don’t mind. Instead, he is my complete safety net, supporting and providing for our family and picking up the jobs here and there which I cannot be bothered doing sometimes. Spending many weekends working through a to do list I’ve generated for him through the week.
I appreciate the smaller gestures now, like him filling the sink and doing the dishes without me getting a chance to get near them, hoovering the house for what feels like three hours (that boy loves to hoover) and cleaning the shower, a job I absolutely hate but he is very pernickety so he’s happy enough to do it for me… even though you’d think there’s been a bleach explosion in the house afterwards, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
He will do anything for our girl, she will often have a toy ready for his arrival at the door that needs mending. Her Daddy can do everything according to her, and I’m ok with letting her think that!
It’s the knowing that if things get hard, or I just want a night of shutting myself away in the bath, he will quite happily do his own thing and not bother me. He doesn’t mind my un-brushed mum bun, my non made-up face, my pasty skin and let’s not mention the fact that I haven’t been able to get a wax for months.
He will always encourage me to have ‘me time’, to see my friends and would never hold a grudge if I had a weekend or night away with the girls – oh how I wish I could have one of those (damn you COVID).
When we were younger I always remember my mum telling me that we had a great relationship because we didn’t depend on each other to be happy, and we enjoyed to do our own individual things at our own pace.
That still applies, he has his hobbies, I have mine, and we love it. If I want to have a night out of the house there are no grudges and the same applies when he needs out too. We had a reading at our wedding, which said: “if you can dare to always go your separate ways together, then all the wonders of today will stay with you forever,” and I still love how much that applies to our relationship.
Of course, we have our ups and downs, who doesn’t. If I listed what we argue about you would laugh. One thing that can cause a disagreement is the fact that he is obsessed with painting and randomly painted one spindle on our banister the other week, and I quote, “just to see what it looks like.” As if I don’t enough things to do trying to get the house ready for another baby. It’s laughable now, but as a pregnant hormonal woman I almost killed him! Mostly, they are petty arguments and all quickly forgotten about because he can make a joke of things very easily.
But the love I have had for him over the years has changed, I used to love him as a good-looking boy who made me laugh and drove me about places on our little adventures. But now, I love him so much more. My husband, my best friend and partner in crime along with the Daddy he has become, which makes me so proud.
He loves bedtime with our daughter and snuggling up with her, nine times out of ten, he actually falls asleep before her. She isn’t bad often but on the odd occasion where she has misbehaved and doesn’t get her bedtime story, I think he is genuinely more gutted because it means he is missing out on his nightly cuddles.
On top of all that, he keeps me grounded, in this ‘perfect’ world we can often get caught up in with social media and he always reminds not care about what others think. Some days I find myself making a decision based on what other people might say or react, rather than what’s best for me, and I’m slowly learning to get rid of this bad habit. The creation of this blog being a prime example. But he’s very good at reminding me to just be me.
I find myself laughing at some of things we watch on Netflix with the ‘perfect’ relationships, the romantic dates and the wild sex scenes. I can feel my eyes roll fifteen times as I sit there with my scruffy hair, my white pregnant belly popping out of my pyjamas and my hairy gorilla body.
So I guess, although our relationship may not be as fun or as spontaneous and adventurous as it used to be, it’s definitely more reliable and more real than I ever thought it could be. Our adventures now, in a normal world that is, are based on our days together as a family, going to parks, going for ice cream and making new memories.
It may not be like the ones you see in films, but it’s filled with contentment and trust and that means more to me than any romantic gestures.
I appreciate, love and need him so much more now than I ever have, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
And sometimes… I even catch myself looking at him thinking, you’re a bit of alright.