Friday, 26 February 2016

33 years! and so much water under the bridge...

the progress of a marriage - 1983 - the year we tied the knot
1983 - fresh faced and nearly married
This week's Friday Reflection is "what are you grateful for so far this year?" and I thought I'd cheat just a little and focus on just one thing I'm grateful for this year, (and today especially), and that is my lovely husband, who 33 years ago today married me 'for better and for worse'.

The picture above was taken in 1983, a couple of months before our wedding - we were starry eyed young things (I was 21 and he was 22) and we had been together for less than a year. We leapt into married life with all the casual optimism of youth - two people who couldn't wait to spend every moment they could together. It was all so new and exciting and the biggest responsibility we had was his dopey Border Collie dog, Trooper.



the progress of a marriage - 1993 - the ten year milestone
1993 - ten years down the track
Fast forward ten years to 1993 and here we are at my brother's wedding - two children, a different dog, a new cat, and a move to the country had all transpired in that time. We were still going well and life's ups and downs were only scratching the surface. We'd built our home life away from the city and were living on a couple of acres of rural land - finances were a bit tight at times, but other than that life was pretty sweet.

the progress of a marriage -  2003 - 20 years and counting
2003 - 20 years and counting
Time flies by and another decade passes - some of it was tough. We had some rough patches when my husband went through a few years of depression. It was in the years before depression was discussed or much was known about it and it was a real battle figuring out what was wrong (because it impacts on so many areas of family life.) Our kids grew into teenagers and (with a little help from medication) our lives stabilized again and we extended our house to make room for a new dog and a cat or two - several chooks and goodness knows how many pet mice. 

the progress of a marriage -  2013 - 30 years and counting
2013 - 30 years from that big day of ours
This last photo was taken in 2013 after thirty years of marriage. We look a little more world weary and it had been a tough year for both of us. Another bout of depression for my husband and a big test on our marriage. I think it hit us both that 30 years sounds like a long time together, but really we were only half way there. If we lived into our eighties, there were another 30 or more years to go, and did we want to keep hanging in there? That's a big hurdle to face - do we still love each other enough to keep going? Do we have enough going for us to keep investing in our relationship?

After a fair amount of soul searching on both our parts (and a little more medication thrown into the mix!) we realized that, although we are completely different people, we are a strong unit. We love and respect each other and we have a deep and abiding life that we have built together. Those moments when it seemed so easy to walk away and not compromise any more were really knee jerk reactions to having let things slip into complacency and taking what we had for granted.

So, here we are in 2016 and it's our 33rd wedding anniversary today. We survived the 30 year itch and things are really good. I'm so glad that neither of us jumped ship when we hit that big bump. I am proud that we stood firm and chose each other again, knowing what that means for the long term - so different to choosing each other back in our younger, carefree youth. So the thing I'm really grateful for this year is commitment and love and choosing to face life together for another 33 years (God willing). Happy anniversary honey!

40 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post Leanne! You haven't changed at all in the photos and still have your beautiful smile. 33 years is a wonderful achievement and of course people change in that time. The main thing is that if the love is there, even if it is hidden because of the pressures of life you can make it through the bad patches. Congratulations to you both and I enjoyed reading about your 33 years of marriage. #FridayReflections

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    1. thanks so much Sue - I think all marriages have their ups and downs and in betweens - it's what makes life interesting and builds character (or so I'm told!)

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    1. thanks baby - you've been there for a good portion of it! xx

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  3. What a wonderful picture! 33 years is awesome---CONGRATS and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

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    1. thanks Marcia - I was hoping I didn't paint too dry a picture of it - hard to believe so much time has passed since we were those fresh faced young things in the first pic!

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  4. What an inspiring couple you are. My husband battles with depression also and it is definitely trying at times. Happy Anniversary and best wishes for many more!

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    1. thanks for understanding Doreen - you have to live with it long term to really understand the way it impacts every aspect of life x

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  5. Congrats and Happy Anniversary Leanne and hubby! It's true through all the ups and downs, we question if jumping ship is the answer. I've had some of my own challenges in the last 20 years. It's very inspiring to see that you've accomplished 33 years and that you're moving in a positive direction.

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    1. Thanks Laurie - it's so easy in today's world to think it would be simpler to go it alone, but ultimately having that one person who "gets you" (most of the time) is worth pushing through the tough times.

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  6. Many congratulations. You got here together.

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    1. thanks so much Mimi - it kind of feels like we're at a rest point in the marathon :)

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  7. Happy anniversary! You are a good looking couple!

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    1. what a lovely thing to say Haralee - it made me smile x

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  8. Wonderful! I love hearing stories like this! Randy and I will reach 35 years together in June!

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    1. 35 years is even more of a milestone - I wonder how many of the next generation will be getting this far Tam? :)

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  9. Beautiful post. I love how you said...after much soul searching you 'chose each other again'. That really stood out for me. Happy Anniversary, and best wishes for the next 30 years (+ ;) ).

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    1. thanks Kimmie - another 30 years does seem a bit daunting at times, but knowing that the other person is committed too makes the challenge worthwhile!

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  10. you smile lights up the screen! I love you honesty and the look at what you have had to face, the highs and the hows and the daily in betweens. My hubby proposed just short of 7 months together and we were both so young and naive. But we have a fabulous marriage and although we have been together only 16 years this March and 14 years married in May we are still very much in love. We have been tested but we have stayed strong and we laugh every day. I hope we still have this happiness after 33 years and beyond. Congrats on your anniversary!!!! Depression is so tough to go through for both the person and those who love them, well done to both of you for getting through and getting help xx #Fridayreflections

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    1. I am amazed at how blithely we leapt into marriage but I'm so glad we did (and you are another example of it being the right thing to do!) Both our children were married within about 12 months of starting dating so it must be hereditary! Maybe we did something right in modelling marriage :)

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  11. Congratulations Leanne! You two were and still are adorable. Marriage is not for wimps and you and your love have stood the test of time and pressure. All the best for 30 more years together.

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    1. thanks so much Molly - it's hard to believe that so much has happened and we are still hanging tight - also amazing to think of the same amount of years still to come!

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  12. A beautiful timeline Leanne. Thank you for being a role model to your children and all of us that love involves all of the things you mention to be committed and persevere through the hard times and not to take the tempting way that at the time seems the easy way out.
    Kathleen
    The Blogger's Pit Stop

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    1. I think we still belong to the generation who committed themselves for better or for worse and we don't bail easily - it pays off in the end :)

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  13. Wow 33 years congrats. I loved looking through the timeline over the years. Relationships take work. Anyone who says they don't is lying! I'm glad you guys have come through it and hope your hubby is well. As well as being hard on the sufferer, depression is hard on a relationship. I never realised that until I was on the other side, after being so used to being the depressed one. Hugs. x

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    1. You can count your pre-wedding years Janine and that way you're closer to achieving the same goal :) and yes, depression is hard work for everyone - sometimes I think it's harder for those on the outside because the depressed person often doesn't see that they have fallen as low as they have!

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  14. Such a beautiful anniversary and such a beautiful post! I enjoyed it more than anything because it came from your heart, Leanne. Happy Anniversary to you both:) xx Abby

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    1. thanks Abby - it's a looooong time to be married and there's still many years to go - it's nice to have someone who cares enough for you that they want to be with you through that amount of time and into the future!

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  15. Congratulations! Every day is its own challenge and blessing, that is for sure. I am happy to see you two persevering through it all, Leanne! It is harder (and deeper and more honest) when we continue to choose each other at this stage in life. It reminds me of the line from Crazy, Stupid, Love that tickles me so, "I loved you even when I hated you."

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    1. That's a very valid quote Regina - there are certainly times when you wonder why you are pushing through, but when the good times come again you realize it was worth the effort.

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  16. Happy Anniversary, Leanne! We just hit 26 years and regardless of the rough patches, it gets better and better with each year. Thanks for sharing your milestone with us at the Over the Moon Link Party.

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    1. Thanks Sandy - I think marriage that has survived decades is quite an achievement - we're in it for the long haul so we need to appreciate what we have :)

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  17. Your honesty in this post will be helpful to many, Leanne. Marriage always comes with ups and downs. Happy anniversary - and wishing you many more!

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    1. a friend of mine actually contacted me and commented on how she had been through similar struggles - I think being honest can help dispel the illusion that everybody else has the perfect marriage/family.

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  18. Happy anniversary Leanne!!
    I've been married for only 7 years (we fought real hard to be together) and I'm very impressed with your honesty and your story :) Marriage is a project
    I wish you many more happy years together

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    1. thanks Winnie - and keep working hard to stay together - especially when the storms come (as they inevitably do) because what you fought for is worth holding onto :)

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  19. Oh gosh, Leanne, this actually did make me cry! This: "I am proud that we stood firm and chose each other again, knowing what that means for the long term - so different to choosing each other back in our younger, carefree youth. So the thing I'm really grateful for this year is commitment and love and choosing to face life together..." I JUST LOVE THIS! (Yes, I know I'm yelling ;-) ). Happy anniversary, and wishing you another 33!

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    1. thanks so much Wendy - sometimes it's been tough but you get through and then move on and it really is all water under the bridge. I hope I can say the same in another 33yrs!

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  20. Wow...so many similarities between your life and mine.
    I'm very thankful I found your blog.
    My husband and I have been married 33 years also...
    expecting our first grand-child towards the end of June.
    Marriage.....God's Divine Will for our lives...and yet with
    raising a family with all their maturity growing up patterns,
    living through the great life's events, and the sorrid down and dirty emotional
    distressing events....we all still love, live, and breathe in
    God's Will for our Lives.
    Amazing dynamic this is.
    As for you.....marriage in the past decade for me has been
    difficult....however, to trade it all in and start a new would have
    so much more difficulty to it...than to remain, patch and heal things
    up and enjoy life.
    Thank-you for your blog.
    As another women....you know I could write more and more..blah and blah and blah..
    but I'll save the space and say
    "Bless you, and looking forward to reading more of your posts!"
    Take care!

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    1. thank you so much Amy! I love when someone connects heart to heart with me and just "gets it" I hope we get to share grandbaby stories over the months to come and also continue to invest in our marriages through all the ups and downs xx

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