Pure + Simple

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AS A RELATIONSHIP AND A MARRIAGE EVOLVES, DOES THE SIMPLE JOY OF BEING WITH EACH OTHER CHANGE? OR DO YOU JUST FIND NEW WAYS TO BE JOYFUL?

The first time I saw my husband Jules in 2001 is imprinted in my mind like all of my extremely joyful or shatteringly painful memories are. The memory goes like this; I step out of a lift ready to start another shift as a function waitress at Customs House in Sydney. I am holding a tray of mini smoked salmon tarts and am about to start my first lap around the room of Christmas partygoers. I look over at the drinks table and notice a very smiley, handsome blonde man overfilling champagne glasses. I blush as he looks at me to introduce himself and I feel like a massive idiot for blushing. He later tells me he thought it was cute.

We got together officially just days later and those first few weeks and months of our relationship were filled with the simple joy and lightness of being that comes from spending time with a person you like very, very, much. When Jules and I decided to get married it felt like a very natural and easy decision. We knew we wanted to be together and while I was just 24, it didn’t matter. Our joy at having found each other and in being in each other’s company was at that stage, enough.

Our wedding date was set for September 27 2003—a time long before Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook—and so we set about the planning in a very old-fashioned and relaxed way. We wanted a day that celebrated our love and was also a lot of fun for everyone. In the lead up to the big day, we stayed up late drinking cheap wine in our little Ikea furnished unit hand-making our invites, drafting the guest list and table plans. The family all lent a hand with almost every aspect: venue research, the food, the cake, the hair and the photography. I chose one of the very first wedding dresses I tried on and I found our simple but lovely bridesmaids’ dresses in a department store sale.

My memories of our wedding are simply of us smiling and laughing all day long. I spent more time on writing a speech than I did choosing table decorations/flowers/a makeup artist combined and I think that summed up the vibe of the day. It was joyous not because we spent thousands on making the venue look beautiful but because we were fuzzy with love and the simple joy of being joined as man and wife. That happy feeling spread through our guests and could be felt in every corner of the room.

As the time from that beautiful day stretches further and further back into our shared history, our marriage has evolved and so of course has our love for one another.

While it can be hard to recapture the gut churning joy of those early months and years, it has not left us completely and we have to try to be careful not to let the everyday demands of our busy lives swallow us whole.

Of course we don’t always get it right, but after thirteen years of marriage and fifteen as a couple, we have had our fair share of dizzying ups and terrifying downs, and yet here we are together, still smiling and laughing with each other. So how do we try our best to keep our relationship joyful? It helps to focus on the simple things we love to do together and for each other as well as taking time to be with one another and talk as much as we can. Where once it might have come naturally, it just needs a bit more thought and attention now.

While we always appreciate the importance of the odd weekend away or dinners and coffees out, our shared love for our five-year-old son is a huge and unending source of joy for us both. We can talk about him between ourselves for hours on end knowing we could never bore one another and just the tiniest of exchanged glances between us when he does something kind or clever is a shared understanding of the love we have for him and the joy he has brought into our lives.

We find joy in simple activities like reading books side-by-side in front of the fire and occasionally laughing or remarking on a particularly brilliant passage. We like cooking meals together, going for walks or bike rides as a family and we simply enjoy talking to each other over a glass of wine about the news or issues that are important to us.

We have never forgotten the importance of showing each other kindness and affection and a simple kiss before work, bear hug after a tough day or an appreciative ‘thank you’ should not be underestimated.

We still fight and disagree and huff and puff over each other’s failings to put the clothes away or bring in the bins, but we work at our relationship and continue to focus on the simple, not extraordinary moments of joy we share because we both know that it is these little, cherished, private moments that are what matter the most in the end.

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