Justin and I had two weddings. A "shotgun" wedding in Sydney on May 12, 2002, and our "official" wedding in the South of France, later that same year on September 1.
Our French wedding was all planned - invitations sent, dress ordered, priests arranged. We felt organized, until we discovered one (fairly major!) oversight; the marriage wouldn't be legally binding due to the fact that we weren't French residents. Whoops!
We discovered this news while we were visiting my family in Australia. We only had a few days left in Sydney before we were due to start traveling again so, in a mad rush, I had a second wedding dress made.
We were married in the simplest of ceremonies, by the beach, with just a minister, and my Mum and Grandmother as our witnesses. After we shared our vows and were pronounced husband and wife, we popped open a bottle of champagne and that was it.
Well, that was 10 years ago... today. Happy anniversary Justin!
Ever since, we have celebrated an "anniversary season" that starts on May 12 and finishes on September 1, the date of our "official" wedding in France, which proceeded as planned. So when we book a hotel or special meal on any day between those dates, we explain it's our anniversary season and that we're celebrating. Why celebrate your anniversary for one day, when you can legitimately celebrate it for 16 weeks?!
10 things I've learned after 10 years of marriage:
1. Having an extensive shared history (and lexicon!) is amazing. Inside jokes, funny names for things, and all of those "do you remember when!" moments are one of the best aspects of a long life, shared. And it's not something you can rush or artificially create; it's a bit like learning life lessons and accruing wisdom, it just takes time.
2. Find a way to keep arguments short. We have a code word; if one of us says it, we have to immediately stop the discussion, no exceptions. There are times that we won't even remember what we were arguing about half an hour later.
3. After being a parent, your marriage is the most important relationship you'll ever have, so give it the consideration and the concerted effort it deserves. The reward will exceed the effort many times over. People that expect a marriage to be effortless don't value their marriage enough.
4. You're not going to change each other, so don't try. If something annoys you, find a work-around solution that doesn't involve trying to change the other person, because you will not succeed!
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so long as the absence isn't too long. If you can avoid it, don't go on crazy long trips apart. By all means travel separately, but come home after a week.
6. Punctuate your life together with as many unique experiences as possible, otherwise the time will fly by too fast. The more special memories you have, the more you'll be able to look back and remember your whole journey together. All those nights in front of the TV will blend into one, but travel and special experiences will always stand out in your memory.
7. Things are going to go wrong at some point. Sometimes you'll get hurt, sometimes you'll cause the hurt. Understand that no marriage is perfect, and have faith that time really does heal wounds.
8. If you can, marry your best friend. It's obviously great if you think your partner is hot stuff, but you're going to be together for a long time (and grow old and wrinkly at some point). The journey is so much more fun with your bestie.
9. You don't need to share everything. It's OK to have private thoughts. In fact, sometimes it's actually healthier to keep some things to yourself.
10. When you ask each other for advice or feedback, be honest. You know each better than anyone else in the world. There is no single person who knows you better, and who inherently has your best interests at heart. So don't waste that incredible resource by telling each other what you think the other wants to hear. And don't punish each other for the truth, even if it stings a bit sometimes.
Happy Anniversary Justin! You're my one and only. Thank you for such a fantastic ride. I'm always excited for what's ahead!