Around 2pm today Mark and I will have been married for 8 years. During this time we’ve lived in 7 different houses, 3 countries, and we’ve visited lots of towns in Cyprus, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia together as well as holidays in Spain, Borneo and the odd road trip in the UK. Although there's been some really rough times in there where we’ve just held tight, we’ve mostly had plain sailing and have certainly been blessed.
However, I do wish I could go back and squeeze my 23 year old self and say marriage will be ok.
I freaked out so badly and made myself so ill before our wedding. I knew I wanted my marriage to last forever, I didn’t just want a wedding, I wanted ‘everything’ so I knew I had to put work into it. I was worried that I didn’t have role models or that I was too young. I kept thinking about calling off the wedding so we could work harder on ourselves, I just wanted a test I could pass to say we could do this. I wish I knew then, and reminded myself that Mark was a good person who would reassure me when times were tough.
I would explain to my 23 year old self that the Honeymoon phase was a downright lie for us.
I was writing my 2nd dissertation in a year, I was trying to write 20,000 words and keep a house and work 20 hours a week and volunteer and be home with our little dog. I wanted a family (which would have been crazy young for me) and I wanted a full time job already. I wanted somewhere bigger than our tiny 1 bedroom flat with a cupboard of a kitchen. I wish I knew then that I wasn’t expected to do it all and listened when Mark reminded me of this.
I would tell my 23 year old self not to worry and that time will go so quickly and I shouldn’t ever rush it.
I don’t want it to sound too clichéd but we’ve been on some amazing adventures, but we’ve also gone through the tough stuff in between. We’ve dragged our belongings from hotel to hotel between renting and moving to the other side of the world. We’ve cared for each other when we’re ill or had scary hospital treatments and comforted each other in grief.
I would tell my 23 year old self that we’ll hire yachts for nights out and go to parties at the High Commissioners house; we’ll go snorkelling in crystal clear oceans and watch the sunset over Borneo from our cabana. We’ll meet some interesting characters in Spain at a little restaurant by the sea and care for foster children in our own home. But we’ll also have countless special times together which would be insignificant to anyone else, having breakfast out on a Saturday in Ellon, having brunch out on a Sunday in Singapore, trips to Edinburgh or staying at the Marcliffe, BBQing at Benachie, afternoon tea at Pittodrie House, singing carols in Cruden Bay, dancing at weddings and all those silly code words that can make us laugh that no one else would understand.
I wish I could tell my 24 year old self that we’ll both slowly become new people, maybe more patient or assertive and we’ll build a life that we’ll love. Happy Anniversary Mark!