When couples first get married and have that “no-one has ever been as much in love as we are’ smugness about them, it’s all about hearts and flowers, bedroom gymnastics, and romantic gestures.
God, I used to see it all the time when I was a wedding photographer. “There’ll never be another wedding like ours”, couples would coo as they glanced smugly at each other. It used to take all I had not to say, “Well actually, love, they’re all much of a muchness.” I always thought it would be too cruel to burst their bubble though so I’d just smile sweetly and agree that they were indeed unique. Often at the same time as wondering if they’d still be together when the ink had dried on their marriage certificate. What? Cynical? Me?
I remember it well. Vowing that we’d get old together and taking all that that brings with it but not being able to imagine it. Ah yes. Fast forward thirty three years. When it isn’t so much bedroom gymnastics as a low impact workout while trying to avoid straining the bits that ache, cramp or just don’t move in that direction any more. Flowers are saved for special occasions, a romantic gesture is giving up the tv remote control and love settles into a comfortable companionship.
When I first got married I had no concept of how marriage would change as the years went on. Some days it’s considered a success to have got through the day and not bludgeoned each other to death. Other days we are completely content when we snuggle up on the sofa and watch a bit of telly together, happy just to be.
What am I wittering on about?
Well, dear reader, let me tell you.
Boofuls had his long awaited hip replacement surgery a little over three weeks ago.
His embarrassment at me having to help him to wash. “I’m your wife”, I told him. “This stuff goes with the job description.” Helping him into and out of the shower while holding a plastic bag over his stitches and using a hand towel like a windscreen wiper to keep any stray drops of water from seeping through. Cutting his toenails, helping him to get dressed and the truest test of love.
Back in the day when I was on my knees in front of him it wasn’t to put his surgical stockings back on. My God, has there ever been a more difficult task than putting on and taking off surgical stockings? How times have changed.
Aside of the personal hygiene stuff. How did I not know that he has six million cups of tea every day? It wasn’t till I had to make them all that I realised. How is it even possible to imbibe that much liquid?
His frustration at not being able to perform everyday tasks and my poor nursing skills have meant that tempers may have frayed a bit recently. We have both bitten our tongues until they are black and blue but we muddle through.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t the grand gestures that make for a happy marriage. Anyone who tells me they have never had a cross word in their marriage is either telling lies or one of the partners has been severely compromising to keep the peace. I think what it boils down to is still being able to love each other when the romance is in short supply and the reality of advancing years and ill health become part of your everyday life.
Mind you, the occasional grand gesture never goes amiss.