real life

What I've learned from being married more than 10 years.

At the beginning of a relationship love can feel like fire and ice. It’s visceral, your mind can race, your body can seize up, you can behave in ways you never expected you would. It’s a rollercoaster completely based on what’s in your head, not what’s happening in reality. It’s fun and crazy and brilliant and big. It washes over you and through you and you can’t get enough of each other and then…

… Well, then you are together for a while. A long while and you try to ignore those tiny little black hairs like squashed, anorexic ants on the bathroom sink and you put toenail clippers in a really, really subtle spot like on his pillow and you wish he ate fish. Why can’t he love seafood like you do?

What’s the last text message you received from your partner? Post continues after video.

People change, love changes, relationships change over time. Or do they?

We’ve asked women and men who have been together for ten to 54 years about what little – or big – things they have learned about love over time.

And, yes, the men did get straight to the point.

People say (and whether there is any truth in it) that there are probably five or six people to whom you could be happily married. My litmus test is that I have never met anyone I could imagine in my husband’s place. I have discovered that what had drawn us together when we were so young were still the planks on which our marriage grew. Physical attraction of course (even today my husband praises my faded looks to the bemusement of others). Trust and support: These are two qualities you might not have high on your priority list in the heady days of a blossoming romance but they become two big building blocks as the years move on. And above all humour. We have always been each other’s best audience. – Anne, married 54 years.

We try really hard to remember to still be decent to each other. Just the little things – please, thank you, listening to their boring work stories, making them a cup of tea, etc. Long-term intimacy can breed contempt, you can become invisible to each other. We need to treat each other the way we treat other people we love, with as much consideration as you’d show your best friend. #thisadviceisnotsexy. – Helen, together with partner, 11 years.

When it comes to marriage be happy with a 7 out of ten. – David, married 31 years.

I’ve learned that love is a choice you make every day. And some days making that choice is so easy you don’t even notice. And some days, it’s really hard to make that choice. But you make it anyway, as much as you can. – Kate, together with partner 10 years.

Communicate honestly – but with kindness. – Peter, married 36 years.

When was the moment you knew your partner was the one? The Mamamia staff confess when they knew below. Post continues after video.


I’ve learnt that you must be willing grow with each other,  continually accepting changes and not holding each to be being the person you were when you first met. And that over time, if we each prioritise the others happiness above everything else,  we’re both in very good places. – Sally, together with partner for 11 years.

Remember all the things that made you fall in love with your partner in the first place. Think of them often. – Lucy, married 10 years.

Relationships aren’t meant to be perfect. That’s not the goal. As long as you still want to be together and keep trying and choosing to be together you really can weather any storm. The trick is to remember that you are a team. –  Jo, married 18 years.

Find someone who makes you laugh because life gets tough and having someone next to you who can make you smile might help. – John, together with partner 30 years.

That a thank you is always appreciated, even if it’s a small thing, like doing the dishes or folding washing or picking a kid up and even if it’s an expected thing in terms of running the household. It’s a little bit of happy grease on the relationship.  – Laura, married 14 years.

I have learnt that not one year is the same and I’ve learned to listen.  – Ed, married 20 years.

Everyone has that one person they thought they were going to spend the rest of their life with. What would you say to the one that ‘got away’? The Mamamia team reveal what they would say below. Post continues after video.

I guess I’ve learnt that you need to keep doing little things to show the other person you care – buying them their favourite food, etc – because the little things matter. You need to share values on the big things – political leanings, gender roles, attitude to money – or you will fall in a hole once the first flush of loves wears off. You need to be able to address minor irritations – not replacing the toilet paper roll, etc – early on before they become big issues. You have to accept that most things about them will never change, so you have to be able to live with them as they are now.  – Rebecca, married 27 years.

The little things bother me far less now than they did in the beginning. Because once you have been with someone for a long time, once you have been through emotional milestones and have raised children together you just become  grateful for who this person is, not what they are not. My husband still makes me laugh and we still talk – that was always a strength – but I am far more grateful for him now – grateful every day in my heart – for the good fortune of finding him, a partner but also a best friend. I think think those thoughts translate into treating someone with respect and love.  – Kate, together 16 years.


I’ve learned there are times you are going to get jealous of a friend’s new flush of romantic love or even a plot from a movie. You are going to think ‘why doesn’t my husband declare his love for me by writing me a song then ambushes a TV station and sings it live on TV for me?’. But the envy of new love is fleeting. When I go home and I’ve had a bad day and my husband gives me a hug and I put my head on his chest and stay there until I want to go; there is nothing like the feeling of knowing someone that well and being loved that deeply. Of having someone who is always on your side no matter how silly you were at that housewarming party. Who sacrifices for you so you can be happy. Who you can’t wait to talk to every single day.  – Jackie, married 17 years.

Never eat the last biscuit.  – Bill, married 14 years.

Don’t expect a fairytale all the time. It’s just as much about being there when things are bad as it is when things are good. And don’t take your partner for granted.  – Georgia married 12 years.

Life can change in a minute. Never go to sleep on a fight and if you fight in the morning just send a text and say sorry as soon as you can. Fighting over nothing isn’t worth it. – Tim, together with partner for 16 years.

Have you got any snippets of advice? Let us know in the comments.

*Feature image via Getty.

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