The 5 Year Itch

4

Even though we’ve been married for a few years now, my husband still enjoys embarrassing me in public by getting down on one knee and proposing. Commuters on a London tube, Thursday night grocery shoppers, and tourists at our local beach have all been witness to this. I usually end up looking cold-hearted and ungrateful at these proposals as I push him away, and passers by either laugh or give my husband eyes of pity… before noticing that I’m already wearing a ring. Boys will be boys.

This morning as Husband left for work, he proposed to me again. Our romantic setting was a wooden floor covered in toys and puzzles, my eyes puffy from a disrupted sleep and a cold, and two toddlers hanging from my limbs demanding morning tea at 7:30am.

“Happy 5 Year Anniversary, Baby.”, he said. Will you still marry me?”

“Haha… of course.” I said wearily. Thank you for asking me.”.

You see, what started out as a silly, embarrassing way for my man to show off in public and make me smile, has also turned into a way for us to remember our vows, even when life’s messy and dates are scarce. In a world of hustle and putting ourselves first, commitment and giving can sound foreign and constricting. Sometimes marriage past the wedding day can start to let fear seep in. More specifically, the Fear Of Missing Out.

I think today’s FOMO is similar to the old-fashion phrase, ‘The 7 Year Itch’. It’s accepted by some that we will eventually become dissatisfied with our spouse, or perhaps fearful of missing out on something better. These days statistics show that couples are getting itchy way sooner than 7 years, with comparison being FOMO’s favourite choice of weapon.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

 

Luckily for us I’m surprisingly stubborn, a quality I wasn’t aware of until my husband pointed it out (thanks, Babe). Stubbornness has connotations that aren’t exactly virtuous, but hear me out.

I’m stubborn when it comes to marriage because I believe it was designed to be good and I refuse to accept that it’s destined to fizzle.

So I am definitely itchy. Not for something different or better, but I’m itching to see marriage, my own included, grow and be a positive influence in the world.

So how am I stubborn when it comes to marriage, and why the effort?

First, language. When it’s socially acceptable to joke or gossip about others’ marriages, choose to champion it. Words have power. I tell engaged couples that, like most good things, marriage takes hard work and doesn’t just magically happen. However, even in a world filled with FOMO, an amazing marriage is more than possible.

Be stubborn with gratitude. When it’s sometimes easier to compare or complain, intentionally encourage your spouse and be thankful for who they are, both in private and in public. I believe the grass is greenest where you water it.

Lastly, be stubborn about time. Even when life seems too full, we fight for a Daily Delay (at least 15 mins face-to-face time per day), Weekly Withdraw (date night) and an Annual Abandon (our anniversary). You can see what’s most important to someone by looking at their bank statements and diary.

At times we’ve stubbornly said “No” to our favourite TV shows to talk with one another about our days. We’ve swapped takeaway for packed lunches and Keep Cups to save for a fancy anniversary. We’ve said “No” to personal passions and hobbies (for a season) to encourage and help our spouse with theirs.

So, Bride-to-be, Groom-to-be, whoever you are, be a little stubborn in the name of love. Be conscious of who you listen to and compare to. Be conscious of your words, your time, thoughts, and gratitude. Stubbornly give 100% to your spouse as they give 100% to you, and be itchy for a relationship that is more fun with each year that passes. Fight for a strong marriage that sends FOMO running, even if it means proposing every single mundane day.

Carly Tia

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Carly Tia