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MNers who are in a truly happy marriage - please tell me what it's like?

(105 Posts)
DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 22:27:06

What's it like to be loved and respected so much?

What is your marriage like - for instance, does your DH kiss you goodbye every morning? Do you have little in-jokes? Do you cuddle and have a regular healthy sex life? Does he respect your opinions and not talk down to you?

I don't think I have ever had a non-dysfunctional relationship in my life (I'm 24) and I really want to know what it's like to be in the ultimate commitment.

(incredibly nosey question and absolutely none of my business, so feel free not to answer blush )

Minion100 Thu 01-May-14 10:05:47

I was in a truly happy marriage.

I think of of the key bits is that you manage to think the world of each other and keep that feeling which is sometimes a state of mind because everyone has their faults.

My stbXH used to kiss me every morning, yes, and bring me a cuppa in bed. He used to call me every day from work just to see how I was and he still texted me like we were first dating with little love messages or jokes. He used to bring me thoughtful gifts for no real reason at all and if he felt like I was having a bad time with something he came up with little ways to show me I was loved. He was sentimental and showed me he loved me in a million ways every day. If I was down, he listened. If I was up, he listened. His hand fit perfectly into mine and I loved the way he could never seem to stop touching or kissing me regardless of the passing years and the struggles life brought us. We were still spending time almost every day snogging like teenagers and the sex was still mind blowing no matter how many times we did it! Nothing between us was ever an effort or a struggle. He always wanted to be kind to me, to spend time with me, to talk to me. He got enormous laughs from poking fun at me and that always made me laugh too. When I looked at him, although he was never handsome in a traditional sense, to me he looked like the sexiest man on the planet with the kind eyes of a Labrador. Just looking at his lovely face can actually still bring a tear to the corner of my eyes. After years together he still made me walk on the inside if we were on a road with traffic. When he was driving the car with me in it he drove extra carefully because he said he had "precious cargo". We constantly laughed, every singe day, even on the worst days. When he felt down he always fingered my wedding ring because he said knowing it was on my hand made him feel better. He never stopped asking me why I'd picked him or what he'd ever done to deserve me. I thought he was the best person I ever met and I think that was what made me feel lucky to be married to my husband. He was the best father I have ever seen and our kids were so lucky to have him. I trusted him completely and he trusted me. We were able to show each other bits of ourselves no one else could ever see and when you have that with someone it's a wonderful thing.

That was my truly happy marriage.

My husband developed mental illness which I have unfortunately lost him to, but I know I had a truly happy marriage and I will always love and miss my husband.

If you meet someone like that I do think you will know it and you won't need to ask the question on Mumsnet to know. It will feel like the most natural and easy thing in the world and all your doubts will disappear.

everlong Thu 01-May-14 10:09:45

Repect and being thought about is huge. Hugs every day, laughing about something and talking everyday is also massively important.

We also have a hug and peck when leaving or coming home. We still hold hands when out or we will briefly fling an arm around each other.

He looks after me. Does anything he can to make my life easier. Me him.

He rocks. Been together 19 long years. With some very hard times. ( death of child ) but we are still going.

MarcusAurelius Thu 01-May-14 10:11:18

Oh Minion. How heartbreaking for you.

heyho1985 Thu 01-May-14 10:18:19

Ah Minion that's lovely, sorry to hear you have lost your husband sad

flipchart Thu 01-May-14 10:22:45

My DH is 52.

He loves me to bits. I guess sometimes we both take each other for granted at times but I know I can rely on him to make my life easy and as fun as possible.

I work shifts and we both pick up what needs doing whether its helping the kids with homework, shopping, washing tidying etc.

We have a peck kiss everytime one of us leaves the house or returns.

We ave our daft jokes which make each.other laugh.

Even when we have had arguments not once has he said anything nasty or abusive and I'm shocked by some of the things women have been called by their partners that have been posted.

I have complete freedom to come and go as I please. No controlling issues. My friends have known him a long time and love him to bits.

His main fault is that he puts everybody first ( especially me ) when I would love him to take time out to relax and enjoy himself more.
We have been together nearly 25 years.

Shlurpbop Thu 01-May-14 10:22:51

Minion, you've made me cry. So sorry that you've lost your DH x

flipchart Thu 01-May-14 10:45:03

I'm sorry about your DH minion.

Mental illness is a truly terrible condition.

pointythings Thu 01-May-14 10:47:19

Minion that's so sad. It's a battle, and sometimes we lose. I have a happy marriage, but I'm fighting that battle right now - my DH is being treated for depression and we are now tackling his alcohol misuse together. So far so good (3 weeks in), but I am under no illusion that it's going to be easy. Fortunately he is already seeing the benefits - more energy, his skin tone is better, his sleep has improved now that he is using a nature sounds MP3 to help him sleep instead of copious amounts of alcohol.

OP, I think you would really benefit from spending a decent amount of time as a single person. Use that time to do things you want to do, find out what you want out of life and convince yourself that you deserve better than some manchild.

IrianofWay Thu 01-May-14 11:06:15

Funnily enough we have and almost always have had all the things that you mention in your OP, but we are currently reconciling after his affair hmm

So I don't think I am a good judge of what a 'happy marriage' looks like. I think that we did have for sure for many many years, then things went a bit pear-shaped and it wasn't so happy but I assumed we'd recover from that bad patch ...and he cheated. We are trying to get back to happy now.

Good luck OP x I view the world and the way people tick very differently from the way I did before. I am far more cynical but I know there are some decent sorts out there - I've even met a few wink

SizzlesSit Thu 01-May-14 11:07:30

Some very good advice here.

My marriage is lovely and very happy. The big difference between DH and my exes is that with DH I do not have to change who I am in the slightest. I dont walk on eggshells around his mood, I dont censor what I say, I dont apologise for things I dont need to apologise for.

We are very comfortable together. We kiss goodbye, we have random hugs, we talk as much as we can. We have a non-sleeping toddler but despite extreme tiredness we dont take it out on each other.

We support each other with work issues, when we want to do sport, family problems, everything really. I feel very lucky and so does he.

Minion100 Thu 01-May-14 11:13:52

Thank you to all of you thanks

Hang in there pointythings xx

I loved what you said Sizzlessit

he big difference between DH and my exes is that with DH I do not have to change who I am in the slightest. I dont walk on eggshells around his mood, I dont censor what I say, I dont apologise for things I dont need to apologise for.

that sums it up! Everyone should look for a spouse they feel that way with.

Madratlady Thu 01-May-14 11:21:21

I'm 24 bit married to a man 9 years older, I agree about many men around my age still acting like teenagers! He kisses me goodbye every morning and kisses me goodnight, we giggle about silly things and do stuff together, often just watching a series on TV. He looks after 19wk old ds while I go out and do a hobby once a week and shares baby care 50/50 when he's not at work. We rarely argue and usually talk about things and sort out problems quickly. He treats me like an equal. And we have an excellent sex life. And for some reason he finds me attractive although I'm definitely nothing special. We've had some hard times such as financial trouble and him having mental health problems and both had periods of being unemployed but we stick together and get through it.

I feel lucky to have met the right man fairly early on in life. My ex was a lying, cheating twat which wasn't a great first serious relationship.

Miggsie Thu 01-May-14 11:23:40

My advice to find a good man would be:
Stop dating
Like yourself
Read Lundy Bancroft's book "why does he do that?" from cover to cover
Find a new hobby/interest that you really enjoy
Start doing exercise - feel better about yourself physically, any martial art will boost your confidence - Nia Shanks has a great website about being awesome as a woman - which does not involve a man!!!!
Don't accept anyone treating you like a disposable/forgettable item
Don't define yourself by male values or companionship

My DH:
respects me
is my best friend
has similar interests
lets me do my thing when I want to
shares housework
buys me nice presents
does a lot of child rearing
does most of the cooking
drives me round the bend with his forgetfulness
didn't leave me when I became disabled even when his "friends" told him to

grumpasaur Thu 01-May-14 11:30:08

I am in a happy marriage also, and agree that it comes down to respect, communication, and for us, laughter.

However I also kissed a lot of frogs before meeting 'my prince', and believe me, he is a prince in a very different package than I originally imaged! There is no fairy tale. He snores, I can hear him trumping from the other side of the house (like a ship coming into dock), he fannies around the cat like a vagina with legs, and I SWEAR he is incapable of pulling up his trousers. But he does kiss me every morning and tells me he love sme every day and we have good sex (not quite enough for me, but once or twice a week), and we do laugh together, a lot.

I also agree with the advice to give yourself a break from twunt men and spend time getting to know yourself for a bit. Spend time with girlfriends who make you laugh and flirt and feel attractive but go home alone!

Your snoring ape will be along soon enough ;-)

morethanpotatoprints Thu 01-May-14 11:47:36

Hello OP

I think its important to be realistic in terms of expectancies of your relationship.
Me and dh have been married 22 years and together 25, we have had trying and testing times, it hasn't always been a bed of roses.
However, when the chips are down we are there for each other, respect each other and go out of our way to meet each others needs.
We are best friends and have our own jokes, that maybe some people wouldn't understand.
Our sex life is good, but obviously we have seen changes over the years sometimes with more or less than is usual for us.
I always see him off for work if I am here, a kiss and cuddle definitely.

beccajoh Thu 01-May-14 11:57:11

We respect each other, value opinions, discuss the important things as equals, he would go to the end of the earth for me and the kids, he does more than his fair share of kid-stuff and more importantly he WANTS to do it, we apologise when we get things wrong, we tell each other when one of us is being a nob, we talk about problems in a civilised fashion rather than arguing, we don't shout at each other.

He snores so I whack him over the head with a pillow. He gets up at night with the kids when I'm exhausted even if he has to go to work the next day (I'm a SAHM).

I wouldn't swap him for anyone else.

DenzelWashington Thu 01-May-14 12:01:50

OP, just because your choices have turned out horribly doesn't mean you are horrible. Please remember that.

And even the happiest of marriages are not overtly, consciously happy all the time, because that is not possible.

A couple of things about mine, which is happy: we do listen to each other, and that includes listening to each other's anger and hurt, however difficult it is. Not perfect at it, we've done our share of shuffly, eyes- downcast apologies rather too long after the fact, but broadly we do. That's very important. Too often women's feelings get dismissed, belittled and mocked.

Don't expect the Hollywood romance. That's actually a very odd and unrealistic way of relating to each other, but it's pushed at us all the time. And men who sweep you off your feet are often quite bad news. Our romance has been unconventional in lots of ways, no flowers, few grand gestures. Lots of small ones though. And a strong sense of being in it together. Feeling you can get through stuff (lack of money, bereavement, the trench warfare of bringing up small children) because you have each other.

I find it is the small, daily acts of kindness that mean much more than big presents and public displays of anything. Being nice to each other. Carrying the other person when they need it, rather than disappearing or petulantly insisting on rigid equality all the time. Trusting that you will be carried for a while when you need it.

thegreylady Thu 01-May-14 12:13:13

You are so young love. I have been married 3 times, divorced once and widowed once ;but now I have been married for 25 years to the best husband anyone could have. Its all the little things that everyone else has said, cuddles, cups of tea in bed, doing crosswords together, having supper in the garden in Summer etc but most of all I feel as if I can always be myself with him. That is the most important thing of all- no pretence or deceit just knowing we love each other faults and all. When I am with him I am home.

Chunderella Thu 01-May-14 13:27:02

At 24, you have so much time ahead of you, so many possibilities. You have every chance of finding the sort of relationship you seek.

And to answer your questions, I guess it's hard to generalise, but for DH and I we're basically always most happy when we're together. That's the long and short of it really. We are two halves of a whole. He does not kiss me goodbye every morning because on his working days, he normally leaves before I'm up. If we're both awake, yes. Our sex life is not as regular as we'd like because we have a 1 year old, it's once or sometimes twice a week and ideally we would both prefer to have the energy to do it more. It's not that we're unhappy with it, but with libido you get out what you put in iyswim. In a perfect world with no tiredness or distractions, I would probably want every day or at least every other day, but would be happy with 2-3 times a week instead of 1-2. Fortunately we have always been very physically compatible and have both always found our sex life very satisfying. I do feel very fortunate to be able to have regular, enjoyable sex. We co-sleep on and off with DD, so if she isn't wedged in the middle of us kicking one or both of us in the head we have a cuddle before going to sleep, and this has always been one of my favourite parts of the day.

Saying all that, we probably are pretty dysfunctional. I don't really know, neither of us had any serious relationships before meeting the other that we could compare it with. It's been 8 years this month and frankly we've got to the stage now where we're actively enabling each other's faults. It's just that we're happily dysfunctional together, you know? And our flaws are pretty well matched!

beanid Thu 01-May-14 13:51:04

I do not have to change who I am in the slightest. I dont walk on eggshells around his mood, I dont censor what I say, I dont apologise for things I dont need to apologise for

YY sizzles it's this. exactly this

struggling100 Thu 01-May-14 15:21:31

Dreaming - you are so young! Far too young to be worrying about this, if you don't mind me saying.

I didn't meet DH until I was 30. Even then, the early years of our relationship were tough - he is older than me, and had come out of an extremely dysfunctional relationship, and had all kinds of baggage associated with that. He actually asked me to marry him, and then had a total panic about the commitment - we had to cancel the wedding. I stayed with him because I thought he was wonderful, and because I could see clearly that he was suffering from a bout of anxiety so serious that it definitely qualified as a mental illness. He went to counselling and sorted himself out - he became not a different person, but a different and more confident version of himself. Last year we even managed to get all the way through a wedding without incident smile.

Despite this rocky and unpropitious start, we are really happy, in the sense that I honestly believe there is nothing either of us would rather do than spend time with the other. He tells me he loves me five or six times a day, we're physically and emotionally close, and we write together, which is an intimacy that I think probably involves quite a bit more trust and synchronicity than sex in some ways.

The day before I got married, a lady in a shop who had been married for 50 years told me 'It's great, but you have to work at it'. She was right- a relationship is like a creation that you continue to build every single day, and it's the little gestures, not the big things that really matter. Refusing to allow hostility, anger, resentment or contempt to creep into any corner of everyday life is important. I also think that healthy trust is something you live, not something like faith that you place in an abstract - it's about having the humility to realise that you are not perfect, and that temptation is not something to be trifled with. Our email accounts, phones, letters are all completely open to each other - and this doesn't feel like a constraint, it's just normal. If I were ever to feel that I couldn't show DH something, if I needed to go behind his back, that would be a massive red flag. We also socialize a lot together, rather than going out a great deal with separate groups of friends in single-sex groups, and we don't bitch about each other in private to friends.

bragmatic Thu 01-May-14 15:35:08

I've always, always felt that I'd be just fine on my own, thanks very much. That's the first step to maintaining a healthy relationship imo, knowing you'd be ok without one.

PoundingTheStreets Thu 01-May-14 15:36:10

My relationship is too new to use for this post, so suffice it to say that for the first time in my adult life I have a relationship that I feel could mirror that of my beloved parents (both long dead) who had a wonderfully happy marriage.

They got married when my mum was 21. She had me when she was 30. As a teenager (so by this point they had been together some 25 years) I remember them kissing each other hello and goodbye and holding each other's hands when walking down the street together. They weren't particularly romantic but the affection and enjoyment of each other was very obvious. Although I remember them disagreeing over things, I don't recall any rows, and although they could occasionally be a bit ubrupt with each other I can't think of any instance where either one of them called the other a name or behaved in an unacceptable manner.

The key ingredient was that they each liked themselves and each other and thoroughly respected each other. Although they had a fairly traditional relationship (DF breadwinner, DM SAHM while we were pre-schoolers, then PTWOHM, on to FT once teens), each recognised that neither of them could live the life they had without the other doing their bit.

PoundingTheStreets Thu 01-May-14 15:38:06

bragmatic - I think that's important too. Both my DM and DF knew that the other could cope without them and would do so rather than put up with being treated badly. Again, it comes down to respect.

Knowing you can be perfectly content on your own is very liberating for relationships - takes the pressure off IMO.

LuluJakey1 Thu 01-May-14 19:35:38

You're only 24. I was there at your age- bet lots of us were. At 29 I thought I would never meet anyone I could trust who loved and respected me. I think you have to go through it so you know when it's right.

Had about 6 months to myself then met DH just out of the blue , didn't know him before at all. He didn't live anywhere near me- 130 miles away. Pretty instant really for both of us. Married a year later, 4 years ago. Drives me mad at times with trivialities but loves me, respects me, does lots of lovely things, completely unselfish with me, romantic in his own way, totally decent person, makes me laugh like no one ever has and he quietly amuses me with his ways. Always on my side.

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