Let's Not Beat Around the Bush. Relationships are Damn Hard work!To mark our seventh wedding anniversary in February, I wrote my husband this letter, where I jokingly asked if we would survive the so-called seven year itch.

We got married after being in a relationship for five years, and I was twenty weeks pregnant with our eldest daughter Polly.

We had led huge fulfilling lives before settling down. We’d travelled both independently and as a couple, and had made plenty of memories from our amazing experiences. We used to laugh until our bellies ached, eat in top restaurants, and partied many a night away. We had both sorted out our ‘shit’ (well my shit mostly). By the time we got married I had worked out who I was and what I wanted out of life. I’d been through mental breakdown, rock bottom and back, and was well on track to becoming the sort of person I once could only dream of being. I was, for the first time in my thirty years, stable, secure and happy.

By the time we tied the knot we had weathered many storms, and thought we had it all sussed out

Ultimately we were both ready for marriage and babies. Neither of us felt that we had a bucket list not being worked on, or that we’d be missing out on life by having kids. We thought that every aspect of our lives would be enriched and enhanced by them. We envisaged a healthy, unimpenetrable union, that got stronger as time went by.

Call it naivety, or wishful thinking, but never did I once consider that we would go seven years without having a full night’s sleep, and sometimes be so exhausted that I wouldn’t be able to muster the energy to even smile. Or that we’d at points go months without having sex, because when you’re averaging four broken hours per night, the only thing you want to do when you get the chance is go to sleep. Or that rather than come together as a team, we’d allow the stress from the children to get the better of us and drive a wedge between us.

I turned thirty seven in July, so perhaps it’s an inevitable age thing, but in the last few years I’ve watched as friends’ relationships have broken down and some have ended. I’ve seen couples grow apart, and a few end because of affairs. Or worse. Deception that goes far deeper than drunk indiscretions.

It feels like the once laughable, cliched midlife crisis is playing out before my very eyes

People change, we know that. When you’re in a long term relationship there will be a lot ‘sucking it up’ that has to be done, and sacrifices that have to be made for the greater good of the future. There will be times when your needs are understandably at the bottom of the pile, because other members of the family have bigger and more urgent needs that have to be met first.

BUT

Consistently putting our own needs at the bottom of the pile will do no-one any good, because that will more than likely lead to breaking point. Where you feel like screaming and want to walk out of the house and never return.

I’ve come to the conclusion that relationships are bloody hard work!

We are constantly told that the way to survive, and not end up a statistic, is by communicating with each other, so as to not allow ourselves to drift apart. We must also not allow ourselves to be tempted by other delights that might be lurking around the corner. The grass not being greener is a well documented fact after all.

The thing is, I don’t have the same naivety on my side that I once had. I know how tough things get. I learnt long ago that the answers are never found at the bottom of a bottle, yet I’ve still drunk a monumental amount of gin this summer. I know all the things I should be doing, but sometimes I can’t help myself. When sleep is in such short supply, good sense has a habit of going out the window.

Our twelve and a half year relationship is small fry in comparison to my husband’s grandparents, who celebrated their diamond anniversary a few months before his granddad passed away. It’s still a long time by today’s standards though, and is certainly worth celebrating.

Pipe dreams come and go. When the chips are down it’s worth remembering why you decided to build a life with that other person in the first place.

On that note, I’d like to leave you with this video. Seems pretty apt!  

Will We Survive the Seven Year ItchTo my dearest Husband,

On this very day, twelve years ago, we met in a bar on a Cambodian beach. I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of us; less than one week in and looking rather fresh faced!

Our relationship was supposed to be a short lived holiday fling, but it was clear from the outset that we were always going to be much more than that. We tried to break up in our early years, but couldn’t actually go through with it. Fortunately by the time we exchanged vows, half a decade to the day after meeting, we had ironed out a lot of the creases and were doing pretty well.   

Although this anniversary isn’t a ‘big one’, it is rather significant, for it marks seven years of marriage. There is much said about surviving the so-called seven year itch, but I don’t think there is anything to be worried about. The real challenge isn’t surviving year seven, it’s surviving life yet continuing to smile. No mean feat in our house.  

We’re trying hard not to bicker over the silly things, but it’s not as easy as it sounds is it my love? I’ve noticed that our biggest argument trigger is getting ready to head out of the house. No matter how organised we appear to be, we always end up running down the road, otherwise missing our train. Every. Single. Frigging. Time!

The kids of course add a phenomenal amount of stress day to day. I read a fascinating article on how autism parents have to deal with similar stress levels to soldiers in combat! Ouch, but it does make perfect sense. I couldn’t leave the a word out of this note could I? It’s all-encompassing isn’t it? We are learning though, and finding ways to win more and more. Repeat after me: the days are long, but the years are short. The days are long, but the years are short. The days are long, but the years are short.

There’s no way to dress it up, sometimes we’re just plain broken. Let’s face it, prolonged sleep deprivation on the level we endure will get in the way of any relationship. Not to mention love life. It says a lot that we have to pay hundreds of pounds to sleep in a hotel to get some romance. Not that I’m complaining; I cannot wait to escape for our second ever child-free 24 hours tomorrow. The spa and massage will definitely go some way to help recharge these tired old batteries.  

In spite of our faults though, it’s quite apparent that we couldn’t live without each other, even if we wanted to. But, you know what? I’m totally comfortable with admitting that.

Sending you so much love on this special day,

Your wife xxxx