This time 10 years ago, this was us. Actually, no; our anniversary was yesterday, but I was too busy drinking champagne and watching the rather lovely party put on by the Olympics Committee in our honour to blog about it. Anyway. This time 10 years and a day ago, this was us. Newly married, and on cloud nine.
We were a young bride and groom, both 23 when we tied the knot. Ironically, now, when I hear of people getting married in their early twenties, I think, ‘Wow, you’re so young,’ but at the time, I didn’t feel we were rushing into anything. DH and I have been together since we were 16 and got engaged at 20, so it was hardly a whirlwind wedding.
Our wedding day was everything my 20-something self dreamed of. I had the big white dress, the classic car, the country hotel reception peopled by relatives both close and distant, the cheesy disco and vol-au-vent buffet in the evening. If I was planning my wedding now, it’d be very different. I’d buy my dress again in a heartbeat, but I certainly wouldn’t have chosen those round-toed satin court shoes. I’d have had a live band rather than the YMCA -playing DJ. And I’d have swapped some of those ageing relatives, not seen for years before the wedding and never again seen since, for more of my closest friends. But it was still a lovely day and I was the happiest girl in the world.
The past 10 years have changed us, of course. Then, we were recent graduates, and had only just upgraded to a flat that didn’t have resident rats or slugs. We were young and, apart from the wedding rings, free. We had season tickets for our local football team, went clubbing in London, and fell asleep on the night bus home. Our salaries may have been small, but with no mortgage or dependants, we could still afford five-star holidays in St Lucia.
Fast forward 10 years, and here we are with two kids (both of whom are currently coughing and snuffle-nosed), a respectable house, established careers and a company car. We’ve had ups and downs over the past decade – the first year of parenthood was particularly testing, as was a recent work crisis for DH – but despite the threats slung around during the occasional heated argument, I’ve never seriously doubted our marriage.
Sitting in the Jacuzzi on Thursday, celebrating our anniversary with a spa evening, we speculated on how being married for 10 years makes us feel old – much more than having two children does. After all, plenty of people have a family by the time they’re 33, but you don’t find many who have notched up 10 years of marriage at our age.
So here we are. Older, and probably wiser. Fatter, greyer, grumpier and a heck of a lot more tired. The romance may have worn off by now, and the sparks don’t fly in quite the same way that they used to, but we’re comfortable, happy, secure and settled. In a nutshell, we’ve grown up. Together.