Growing up, I was pretty lucky. I had a relatively “normal” family – Mum, Dad, older sister and younger brother. Dad ran a very successful plumbing business on the Gold Coast. We lived in beautiful homes, and were lucky to live in a relatively rural part of the Coast at the time, so were spoilt with horses and an assortment of farm animals. I don’t remember ever really wanting for anything and the majority of my memories as a young kid are really very happy.
When the Casino opened on the Gold Coast, it was the beginning of the end for my family as we knew it. And by the time I reached the age of twelve, my Dad had a full blown gambling addiction, and we went from living on seven acres in a 50 square home, to a smaller home, and then renting off a friend. Eventually the strain was too much for my Mum, and my father left. Not long afterwards, we had to move in to the local caravan park, as Dad’s debts were so great.
Luckily for my Mum (and us kids), she met my Step Dad soon afterwards, and he stepped up to the plate for us. A couple of years later, we moved to Melbourne for his work, and almost thirty years later – I call myself a Melbournite….
I share all of this background noise in order to try and explain my thoughts and feelings on marriage….
I was first married at the age of 21. Whilst I loved him, there were already signs leading up to the wedding that it was not the right thing for me. And a few years later, with a 20 month old son, I left. It was possibly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I knew that if I didn’t do it then, I would have spent the rest of my life miserable, and in a marriage that was getting more dysfunctional by the week. It wasn’t healthy, and I think at the age of 25, I can reflect on that time and be really proud of myself for making the jump.
The following year after separating was a mix of drama and trauma, but also enlightenment. I hadn’t truly been myself since meeting my now ex-husband at 19. So that year kept me highly entertained as I juggled motherhood with social outings and finding my feet as a single woman. Thirteen months in, and I met Andrew. Sixteen years later, we have been married for 14 of them, and have added three more kids to the mix! And I can, with much surety, add that all of those years have been really, really happy. Really, really hard at times, but he and I have such a mutual respect and adoration for one another that it was always easy to get through those hard times.
2017 proved to be really tough for us as a couple. Without making this a 50 page post…. the combination of a busy family life, busy work lives and the roles and responsibilities we had taken on outside of that, led to not much time together and us falling in to a rut. I had been addressing said rut on and off over the preceding two years, but it had fallen a bit on deaf ears. Thankfully, at the end of last year, we sat down and had a really honest and open conversation about the state of things, and what it would take going forward, for us to be in a happy and healthy marriage.
One of the things I had to be honest about, was my somewhat warped view on marriage. I think that deep down, in my heart of hearts, I didn’t really believe that I would be in a long lasting marriage. I didn’t know if Andrew did either – because a lack of communication on his behalf was driving me nuts! And the loneliness I spoke about in my previous post had become a comfortable new normal for me. I was so used to my own company, and just doing my own thing, that I didn’t actually believe he wanted to spend time with me. So how on earth were we going to make it through another 40+ years??
The how is now being nutted out. And we are both 150% committed. The lack of communication has ceased. We’ve never spoken this much – EVER. But it’s good. SO good. And I’m starting to believe we’ve really got this. 2018 is looking far more positive!