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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 )

Hassled Wed 30-Apr-14 22:30:31

You're still so young - you have lots of time to find a happy relationship.

I have a long, happy marriage - but I kissed a lot of frogs (and married one of them) before I got there. And even in my long happy marriage we wind each other up, we can both be selfish, we both have our irritating ways. No marriage is sunshine and rainbows all the way. Yes, we both know we're loved and respected and that's great - but it takes time, compromise and work.

utahforever Wed 30-Apr-14 22:42:44

I agree wholeheartedly with Hassled. I found a spectacular frog when I was your age, but thankfully he ran off before we got married!

My DH does all of those things above, as well as snoring like a jack hammer grin - however, that is part of him and i love tolerate most of his other quirky traits. Just like he, I'm sure, loves everything about me!

If you are not happy in this relationship (I wouldn't be), think about seeing if it can be changed - or get out and find a better one. Do not accept this.

DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 22:47:34

I definitely hope I find a happy relationship, my life is generally a good one except for dating, I seem to attract secretive men, married men, men in the closet, liars, commitment-phobes, cheaters and manipulators- It has taken a toll on my self-esteem tbh, as I'm always reading that if every guy you date is a rat bastard perhaps it's not the guys who are the problem....

It doesn't help that I live in London, I feel like the guys I meet are in an extended adolescence and no suitable ones around my age (22-30) are looking for a serious committed monogamous relationship - just casual sex or a friends with benefits type situation.....hmm

SeaSaltMill Wed 30-Apr-14 22:49:43

Yes he kisses me goodbye every morning, we have in jokes and he doesn't talk down to me. However, we're not perfect. Most of the time that kiss goodbye is the only one all day, the in jokes can be irritating and half the time he ignores me til I repeat myself four times. But we are happy. A happy marriage feels happy and secure. It doesn't always matter about those little things, as long as you are both happy.

aprilanne Wed 30-Apr-14 22:56:41

well what can i say .my hubby is useless about the house will not be seen dead doing womens work .ie housework going to supermarkets ...but
1 he is a good man hard worker .
2 good father always willing to take his turn with 3ds.
3 always respects me .
never beliitles me .so would i change him after 20 years .no

Dirtybadger Wed 30-Apr-14 22:57:43

Dreaming- how much time have you spent "properly" alone? Sounds like a lot of men have been waded through. Some time alone getting to know yourself might refine your bullshit radar. FWIW I am only 23. After a not incredibly awful (not abusive) but shit enough (unfulfilling, cheating/lying) relationship I've decided to give myself at least 12-18 months off. I refuse to go on a "date". I've had a couple of NSA nights and will continue to but it's been about 5 months and I already feel much more confident in my ability to make effective judgments, stand up for myself and walk away when things might not work.

I have spent a lot of time here, which has helped. My parents do not have a relationship which is a brilliant model for me. It's an awful one, actually. Might be worth evaluating what you've been taught about men/women and relationships thus far.

DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 23:07:41

DirtyBadger how much time have you spent ''properly'' alone?

I have never been completely single since I began dating at 16ish. I can't believe it, I actually thought I'd had some time alone, but no I am a serial monogamist.

I crave the security of a relationship, but I always either come on too strong and seem over eager or I become detached and lose interest quickly. Am not sure why this is, my parents and older siblings are all settled and happy.

Hughfearnley Wed 30-Apr-14 23:09:14

A recurring theme seems to be respect and I wholeheartedly agree with this.
I respect my OH totally and he respects me. I always respect his views on things (and we don't always agree!) and I respect the decisions he makes about things even if I think they are wrong. We will often debate them in private but at the end if the day I support his decisions.
We would NEVER dream of criticising/belittling each other to/in front of others and if either of us has a problem with our relationship we sort it out by communication behind closed doors. Above all, and this is the best bit, we are a team/family unit who will look after ourselves and each other come what may, and that is a great feeling!
Oh.... And there's the shagging, occasionally having one glass of wine too many, laughing together until you're crying etc etc (plus dirty socks everywhere and loose change on the floor of the downstairs toilet. - seriously how does that happen???!!!)

Minifingers Wed 30-Apr-14 23:33:36

Together 21 years. Married for 16. Not great on the sex front - my low sex drive. However I still massively fancy him. I think the world of him, he is such a very good person in every aspect of his life and ours. We kiss goodbye when he goes to work and when he comes home. We are always, always courteous to each other.

My parents were like this, as were DH's parents. My parents had almost 50 years of truly happy marriage. They loved to be together.

Preciousbane Wed 30-Apr-14 23:53:26

He does still kiss me goodbye and we do have in jokes. There are a few domestic skirmishes regarding untidiness levels but nothing terrible.

I had a very abusive first marriage, then I dated and then the best thing I did was have a Break from it all. Concentrated on studying and working and swam 50 lengths 3 times a week for a few months before dating again.

Churstondeckle Thu 01-May-14 00:04:42

Married 33 years- lots of in jokes-same wavelength on bringing up kids and financial affairs-saw me at my worst when I had cancer but I never doubted that he would be there for me-I just knew that he would always be on my side-he died in the summer and I miss him every day

Appletini Thu 01-May-14 09:14:01

Churstondeckle I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think it's good to ask questions like there. I was previously in some really abusive relationships and it can be hard to retrain your brain to look for decent men. I second the suggestion to spend a decent chunk of time alone.

In a good relationship, you treat each other better than your friends (not like shit behind closed doors), and you are kind and courteous to each other. Those are the really fundamental things, I think. DH and I do kiss each other goodbye and hello and goodnight and everything else. Lots of cuddles. We do have in-jokes and silly things we say to each other.

DH does respect my opinions and would never talk down to me. I've never heard him talk down to anyone actually. He is very polite to service staff which is always a good barometer I think.

MarcusAurelius Thu 01-May-14 09:19:56

Oh Churston that's so sad.

LizzieMint Thu 01-May-14 09:21:09

I've been married to my H for 10 years this year, and am very very happy. It's hard to describe, we just have the utmost respect for each other, I think he's the most amazing person I've ever met, he's clever, hard working, has lots of integrity, loving, a fantastic dad. He suffers chronic pain and the way he deals with it fills me with admiration. We never moan about each other to outsiders, even when one or other of us is being a pain - to me that's really important.
Daily, things are tough because he works away a lot so we miss each other hugely. He's just my favourite person in the world and I'm massively grateful we met. Incidentally, we only met when I was 25, and just coming out of a fairly crappy relationship so there's plenty of time for you. Don't put up with a rubbish relationship though, if the basics of decency and respect aren't there, I don't think you can acquire them.

MrsAtticus Thu 01-May-14 09:26:13

I feel I am in a good marriage, the happiness is not always there as there are many challenges - I imagine this is true for most people. At 24 you have plenty of time. Set clear boundaries in relationships as to what you find acceptable and not, this will help get rid of the wrong-uns and help the right-uns be even better!
I agree with apple about courtesy etc. I feel bad when I see friends talking to their partners like c**p, they are the most important person in your life and deserve the best. I need to remind myself of this as have been snapping at DH rather a lot lately (tiredness due to newborn).

MarcusAurelius Thu 01-May-14 09:26:43

I met dh when we were 25, fell head over heels in love, he was engaged to someone else and we were married before they were due to be. we just couldn't help ourselves and after 18 years of marriage i'm glad i didn't listen to the people who thought i was a relationship wrecker. We really have stood the test of time despite business failures and a seriously ill child.
I love him, he loves me. We're very old fashioned in our roles because that's what works for us. We still have outrageously good sex and we make time for it. We still snog like teenagers and i feel really lucky that i met him when i did.

He is a workaholic but weekends are all ours. This weekend is our wedding anniversary and he's whisking me away for some fun. Its still whirlwind and i like that.

Pagwatch Thu 01-May-14 09:27:36

Dreamingofmicronesia

I could talk about my 25 year happy marriage but I could also have written your opening post when I was your age.

I firmly believe that many bad relationships arise from our willingness to accept someone who treats us less well than we treat them.
I am not victim blaming anyone with a shit partner. I see how people get stuck.
But tbh if we walk/refuse to tolerate it the first time a partner treats us like shit, when their attitude becomes selfish, then we don't get shitheads.

It makes me so frustrated that people say ' he ignores my birthday, calls me stupid, goes out all night and comes home drunk, never cleans up.. Why does he treat me like this?'

Because you accept it.

Well we have a dc3 who is 15 weeks old which influences my answer a fair chunk. So I would say that yes respect has to be a constant but I think a good relationship can sit in the background for a time without causing any anxiety.

Dreaming, I'd echo Badger's advice. Take some time off to get to know yourself better before trying to find a happy marriage. When you are 'craving' a relationship you will attract all the wrong men, if you need it so badly the bad ones will use that to their advantage to treat you badly, the good ones won't want to know. There is something offputting about a person too keen to jump into a relationship whereas someone who knows they are just fine and happy by themself, who can take their time, is infinitely more attractive - don't you find that? Work on your self esteem and you will get the relationship you want, there's no rush, you are very young and hopefully you will one day be a very long time married. Enjoy having only yourself to think about and find what makes you happy outside of a relationship. smile

ProfYaffle Thu 01-May-14 09:38:57

My marriage is how you describe however at your age I was in an awful relationship. Both dh and I spent our 20s with other people but we both say those relationships taught us a lot and prepared us for being together. If we'd met any earlier we wouldn't have lasted.

My previous bf was controlling and EA. Once the relationship finished I wonder how the fuck I'd let it happen. I spent almost a year single and having a ball (my social life had to start from scratch as he'd estranged me from most of my friends) and when I met dh I was very reluctant to give that up. As a result I had high standards and expected a lot from him. Fortunately he lived up to my expectations.

My advice would absolutely be don't cling onto a relationship out of fear of being single. Turn that on it's head. Cling to being single out of fear of a bad relationship.

laregina Thu 01-May-14 09:51:39

I've been with DH for nearly 15 years. I can honestly say that in all that time and 3 DC later, there has not been a moment when I've doubted why I married him or have ever stopped thinking he's the most solid, dependable and lovely man I've ever met <sorry if a bit vomit-inducing...>

He always, always puts me and the DC first. Yes we kiss goodbye every morning, and hello when we see each other again. We definitely have good chemistry together and he still makes me go a bit funny when he comes through the door blush So yes everything is healthy in that department.

But when I was your age my relationships were like a long miserable episode of Eastenders.... I thought having a boyfriend was the be all and end all; was terrified of being on my own, and allowed men to treat me like shit as a result. Then something happened, not sure what - maybe I just grew up a bit? I got to my late twenties and decided I'd had enough; dumped my useless boyfriend and got a life of my own. I lived on my own for the first time in my life, made more effort with friends and got a social life. I actually had a great time being single for a few years and stopped looking for a man - I was honestly happy as I was for the first time ever. And then I met DH.

I honestly wonder now if he would have been interested in me at all if I'd been the needy person I had been a few years before, or if our relationship would have worked. He was all grown up, independent and had a life of his own, and probably wanted somebody similar - which, thank god, I was by then!

I've just realised how long this is - sorry!

Rockchick1984 Thu 01-May-14 09:51:53

I was always a serial monogamist too - put up with a lot of crap from boyfriends so that I wasn't single. Finally had a bit of time where I just stopped dating, turned down offers, learnt that being alone is actually ok.

Met DH after 6 months or so, grew to be friends before anything happened between us. He's the love of my life, I still regard him as my best friend, he respects me and genuinely listens to me. He's an amazing dad to our 2 kids. Yes we argue, but we never hold grudges, and never go to sleep without resolving things and kissing each other goodnight.

Hairylegs47 Thu 01-May-14 09:56:05

Let's see. We've been married for 19 years now.
I was a single mum of 4 when we started dating. I knew he was the one so I proposed 3 weeks later, we married 3 weeks after that. He was also only 20 and I was 29! People were well shocked and even friends didn't think we'd last.
My first 2 relationships were a disaster - 2 DC to each man - so I decided when I was divorcing my XH to never bother with men again as I was clearly the defective one. I never dated, never went out at all. I did go to college as I wanted to get a job, being on benefits is okay, but it does nothing for your self esteem and makes you lazy really. I married DH 4 years later.
I love the very bones of him! He does belittle me at times, and I call him out on it too! I never used to, but he doesn't have the filter in his brain that says 'You're being a tit, shut up' and he's really apologetic when I tell him, but it doesn't happen so much now. I know some think I'm making excuses, but the confused look on his face is for real. He said to be last week 'Hairy, why are you buying those jeans? They're fat peoples jeans, and you're bums not that fat anymore.' He saw my face and started to panic,'what have I said? Was that not a compliment?'
Having someone who I know loves me, puts up with my craziness, who I don't have to 'pretend' not to be me with, who 'cherishes' me - he had to do all my personal care a few years ago when I was sick, he came home every lunch time to help me, he never made me feel a burden, he made me feel very loved.
I miss him terribly when we're apart, it feels like I've lost half of me. If I'm on a trip without him, I keep think DH would love/hate this, can't wait to show him when we come back. He's the same.
Sex is great - when I feel like it, when I don't it's just as great with him too. It's about real mutual love and respect, even with his lack of filter.

I wouldn't swap him for even Alan Rickman or Richard E Grant.

I think you're already answering the question of why you're having problems - when you're 16 it's easy to feel that you 'have to' have a boyfriend, and be fixated on getting one. "Never mind what he's like, I am worth something if a boy is going out with me"

So, you crave a relationship, because deep down you feel that will make you 'valued'.

But, as others have said, the rat bastards can spot that from a mile off, and will take advantage, while the nice ones will probably not realise you actually have standards and are also scared that you might be a bit obsessive.

When you are 'craving' food, you're likely to grab any old rubbish. Same for relationships.

Get to a point where you aren't craving it, but know that what you want is some nice healthy salad. Then look for one. You'll see past the greasy burgers then, and won't grab them just because there are loads of them in easy range.

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.

waterlego Thu 01-May-14 20:38:49

Minion and Churlston, I'm so sorry to read that you have both lost someone so precious. It's a great reminder to us all to appreciate what we have. thanks

I am happily married, and grateful to be. I have been with my OH for 16 years, and we've been married for 10. We are best friends. We laugh a lot, and sing a lot of the time (it's absurd really, but we just conduct a lot of our day-to-day conversations that way. That sounds insane written down, so I hope we're not the only ones grin) We respect each other and give each other space to be the individuals we are. We fancy each other and sometimes remember to flirt with each other. We have a similar outlook, and want the same things from life and our future. We have very similar views on how to raise our children. We are both quite good communicators, and good at compromise too, I think.

The years when the children were tiny were very hard going. As were the times when money was tight, and the time when my MH wasn't so good, and the times when OH lost his job. We had to really grit our teeth to get through some of that, but we managed it. No doubt there will be other tough times still to come.

We are both lucky enough to have parents who have long and happy marriages. Grandparents too. We took our marriage vows very seriously. We've known each other since we were children, so I think there's a certain amount of luck involved: that our upbringing was similar, and we have a lot of shared history which makes things easier.

jimijack Thu 01-May-14 20:54:58

We have a healthy,happy respectful marriage BUT I chose very very carefully and purposefully.

I was very intolerant of any person who I did not think was worth having round.
That was 23 years ago.

I've always been very strong minded, very sure of what I will & will not allow. I tested my dh probably to the limit but I knew quite quickly that he was/is a good un.

He is respectful to everyone he meets, he is just lovely and we respect each other & are still very much in love.

I suppose I am lucky but some of it has to do with purposeful choices made with clinical analysis almost. (I sound like a psychopath reading that back!)

It's nice, it's easy, it's comfortable, it's predictable, it's calm, it's fun,it's happy and complete.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 01-May-14 20:58:59

25 years together, Silver in October. We say "I love you" every hour we're together, cuddle and kiss every day, shag when the Viagra works and when we argue we argue as equals. She does the snoring, I do the farting.

Of course we have our demons, but we help each other with them. DD very nearly broke us, but she didn't quite. Right now I could just skip for joy that I live with two merry lunatics, one of whom is willing to scrub my back while wearing a nurse's uniform. I really must get a bigger bath...

Warbride Thu 01-May-14 21:54:17

The deep love is there. Roots so strong nothing can break them. Married 15 years. He brings me tea every morning. Tries so hard to make me happy even when I am being a bitch. We have been through so much together and are stronger than ever. Working through your issues and being mindful of each other. Love and respect. It's not a walk in the park and all relationships have testing times. It's how you work through it together. You have plenty of time. x

Warbride Thu 01-May-14 21:55:31

Disgrace you have brought a huge smile to my face.

Minion100 Thu 01-May-14 22:42:52

What a lovely thread...I have loved reading what you have all written. A nice contrast amidst the pain we read here everyday.

StampyIsMyBoyfriend Thu 01-May-14 22:47:16

I was your age when I met DH. 10yrs together, 1 child & a very happy marriage.

I went up an age bracket, men my own age were plonkers!

Also, start as you mean to go on with regards to respect, how much shit you are not prepared to take!

moggle Thu 01-May-14 22:55:34

I've enjoyed reading your stories - with some of the stuff I read on MN, I feel so lucky that I have never had to kiss any frogs. I had a few not that serious relationships with blokes that obviously were not right for me looking back, but they were always 'nice' guys.

My DH is amazing. We have been together 13 years now, wow almost to the day. Married for nearly 5. The past two and a half years we've been struggling with infertility and it can be such a strain on a relationship, but it has stuck us even more firmly together. We didn't share it with many others so a lot of the time it felt like it was us vs the world and that has made us stronger. Now I am pregnant after IVF it feels like we have won the lottery :-D I love him so much, he gets me so well, we make each other laugh every day with the most stupid childish jokes. We never go to bed angry - OK we might go to bed angry but we don't fall asleep angry. He loves our cats as much as I do. He tells me when he has a bad dream. He always comes for a kiss before he leaves for work even if it's through the shower door. I still think he is so handsome when I see him in a suit, even though he wears one to work every day. He's not short on compliments to me even though I'm a total scruff bag most of the time. He gets on with all my family - has a total bromance going on with my brother - and I love his. I'm a bit of a control freak but right now he is doing a sterling job looking after me and bump, and organising selling our house and buying a new one, while I sleep / eat / moan.

I am so so so excited to start a new chapter in our life with a family of our own!! Hurry up November!!

cluecu Fri 02-May-14 07:30:11

I have only been married for 2 months but can draw upon previous relationship experience too. The main thing for me is that not only did I marry a man who I'm completely besotted with....I also like him. He treats EVERYONE around him well and is a GOOD person amongst many other amazing traits.

So while I'm sure we'll have troubled times ahead I'm hoping the fundamentals are there. Yes to in jokes, affection, respect and just an ongoing sense that we really cherish each other.

It took a long time to find each other smile

Preciousbane Fri 02-May-14 09:56:13

Having posted earlier and coming back to the thread it does seem that myself and a number of posters have said take some time out and learn to understand yourself.

I'm very sorry to read minion and churlstons posts thanks to you both.

One of my sisters DH has cancer, they been together for 42 years, as much as I feel for the poor man who is having treatment I am very worried about my Dsis. It's like he is the left arm and she is the right.

DenzelWashington Fri 02-May-14 11:55:56

Can I just say you often read on MN that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. I've never been particularly persuaded of the wisdom of that. too many frogs can just depress and desensitise you to the point you put up with too much from your partners. I am all in favour of throwing most frogs back in the pond. Say no a lot more.

flightywoman Fri 02-May-14 11:58:23

What's a good marriage?

We've been together 8 years. I had a long history of some real shockingly bad boyfriends but had been mostly single for 10 years, he'd been single a lot longer.

He never fails to make me feel thought of and considered. He sometimes comes home with something he thought I'd like or be interested in, it could be a newspaper cutting or a bun. Or he'll tell me that there's a gig I might like, or he'll bring home the events listings for our local arts festival as soon as it comes out.

He takes turns at the early mornings without question or complaint. He isn't at all bothered by perceived gender roles - he cleans way more than I do because I am a scum queen and he isn't, but he doesn't ever criticise me for my untidiness, and I don't have a go at him for the stuff he does that might irk me. He doesn't belittle me - in private or public. We might not agree but we don't talk down to each other.

We do have in-jokes, and special words and phrases. But mostly it's just feeling that we are Team Flightywoman, he puts himself second - sometimes to his detriment - but then I do too in his favour so we balance!

He's been amazing in the last couple of years, and I give him all credit for sticking with me during my Mirena hell-bitch phase (thankfully now over) - goodness knows how he managed it without ever being resentful at me because I would have rowed at the drop of a hat.

He's just kind and caring and thoughtful and lovely. And I adore him just as much as he makes me believe he adores me.

flightywoman Fri 02-May-14 12:00:08

Denzel, I always think of it as learning to know what you don't want and sometimes the frogs help you to identify what you really don't want, or what is unacceptable to you.

But yes, ditch a frog if you discover that you're with one!

StampyIsMyBoyfriend Fri 02-May-14 12:53:17

I kissed a few frogs shagged the rest

I ended up very jaded, and took myself off the market for a good year before I met DH.

It's not a cliche that you need to be happy in yourself, before you can be happy with someone else.

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 13:00:56

marriage isnt the only route to happy fulfilled relationship
Be mindful you dont mythologise marriage as be all end all.it isnt.its bit of paper
Marriage is a ceremony,legal status but it wont necessarily make for good relationship
Youll know good relationship when you're in one,its easy.nothing is a hassle.you feel ok

Thurlow Fri 02-May-14 13:05:36

A truly happy, healthy relationship is one that makes you happy.

Some women will be happiest to be a SAHM with a DH working 50 hours a week and who never does any housework or cooking. Other women would LTB within weeks if it turned out he wasn't prepared to run the hoover around.

Some women will be happy with playfights, in-jokes that sound disrespectful to outsiders, having very independent social lives. Other women are uncomfortable with their DH having separate social life and want to spend most of their time together.

There is no hard and fast template. The little things can change so much in every relationship.

If I had to boil it down, I would simply say a happy relationship is one where you trust each other, respect each others opinions, beliefs and decision, and know that when push comes to shove you have each others back.

And also that it doesn't need to be a formalised marriage...

StampyIsMyBoyfriend Fri 02-May-14 13:13:45

Agree, marriage isn't the be all & end all... but for me, it kind of was...

I wanted to be married before having children. I wanted the security of marriage, in a practical sense as well as an emotional sense.

I was brought up in a broken home, and very aware of the effects.

My mum brought me up to protect my interests, not in a gold digging way, I pay my way but I guess I'm quite guarded & aware of being taken for a ride. Had I had a baby before marriage, it would have been given my surname etc.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 02-May-14 13:14:47

Oh, I seem to have something in my eye reading this thread. It's lovely

minion and churlstons I am so sorry that you have lost the people you loved thanks

BitOutOfPractice Fri 02-May-14 13:16:02

Just to add, I am one year into the healthiest, happiest relationship I have ever had. Absolutely equal. Full of fun and great sex. And it's with a man who is kind. To his very bones he is kind. And imho kind trumps everything.

LaQueenOfTheMay Fri 02-May-14 18:39:49

Hmmm, well we've been together for 23 years, very happily married for 12 years.

I think I knew from the very outset that DH and I would spend the rest of our lives together. The first night we shared a bed (innocently) I woke up the next morning, looked at him sleeping and thought 'Oh, so it's going to be you, is it' - even though I barely knew him.

Looking back, I think I had already been half in love with DH for years. Not him per se (I'd only just met him), but the idea of him.

Growing up I'd read far too many sci-fi fantasy books than was healthy - and dreamed of meeting that sort of archetypal anti-hero...basically I wanted the arrogant bad-boy with the hidden heart of gold. Han Solo as opposed to Luke Sywalker, iyswim wink

And that's just what DH was. On the surface he was very sarcastic and a bit too sure of himself, and really rather good looking - on campus he had a reputation as a bit of a player so I was wary of him. But nothing could have been further from the truth...underneath, he was very sweet and very warm and loyal - and it turned out I was his first serious girlfriend smile

Since then...oh I don't know, I could wax lyrical and go all hearts and roses. But, essentially I started falling in love with him the day we met and 23 years later I have never stopped falling in love with him.

I admire and respect him immensely - and if I had to be a bloke I would want to be exactly like him, which I think is the very highest praise I could give.

Don't get me wrong, we can argue like cat and dog - but that's only because we still care passionately about what the other says/does/thinks, and we could never be indifferent to each other.

And I think that's the key to a happy marriage - admiration, respect and finding yourself falling in love with them over and over and over again

LaQueenOfTheMay Fri 02-May-14 18:49:56

Also totally agree with Thurlow - being married to DH makes me very happy. But I'm perfectly aware that what we have wouldn't suit other people, at all.

We mercilessly take the piss out of each other, are both highly sarcastic, and an argument usually results in slammed doors and raised voices. If we're out in a group, an on-looker probably wouldn't even twig we were a married couple. We don't go in for showy PDAs etc or indulge in flowery gushing about each other.

To be honest, we can be somewhat downright rude less than totally respectful toward each other...I'm sure other people listening in would roll their eyes in shock. But I think we're so totally sure of the other that we can be like this with each other, and know we never have to fear the consequences.

I'd give him my heart on a plate if he asked it of me, and I know he'd do the same for me.

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 18:53:36

Yes,isn't all aww Hun and PDA.i think anyone who claims not to argue is lying or dysfunctional

LaQueenOfTheMay Fri 02-May-14 18:59:09

Agree scottish on occasion I could cheerfully crucify DH on the front law and sell tickets.

Show me a couple who genuinely never, ever, ever share a cross word...and I'll show you a couple who are either indifferent to each other, or one of them is helplessly giving in time after time.

booksandchoc Fri 02-May-14 19:00:28

I've been married to DH for 4 years, together for 6. I'm only 27 so don't have as much experience as previous posters but I'm truly happy, and couldn't imagine being with anyone else. We have a 2 year old and both look after her, we both work and I'm at college but we manage between us and if one us wants to go and do something with friends we do. Normally check with each other it's ok but it always is. We never argue, and I really mean never, I think that's more because DH just doesn't argue at all with anyone, he walks away then comes back and discusses the problem.

I would second what other people say about being single and just being yourself. I always had a bf between age 16-20 then I was single and saving to go back packing, a random night out with DH (who at the time was a friend) and something changed between us. I still went back packing but DH came out and joined me and we had an amazing 3 months in oz.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Fri 02-May-14 19:00:31

I've been married nearly 7 years, and been 'with' DH for ten. Not that it's the being married that matters - things would be the same regardless of whether we had actually wed.

DH is wonderful and I love him as much as ever because:
- he loves me (and tells me regularly)
- he supports my ideas, even the crazy ones into which he occasionally has to inject a bit of sense, and he is proud of my achievements
- he shares the domestic side of running a family
- he enjoys simply being with me
- he understands my need to recheck that the doors/windows are locked when we leave the house
- he is fantastic with our daughter
- he recognizes when I an low on sugar and tired and knows that is why I am behaving like a stroppy five year old. He then immediately provides sugar.
- he is and will always be on my side (against all comers, related or not)
- he works hard and making him laugh is the best feeling ever

In terms of your specific questions - no we don't have a regular sex life (though I still think it is healthy). That's mainly due to the toddler in the house though - she's got a radar and is guaranteed to wake any time her parents feel frisky. We cuddle lots, and kiss every day. He never talks down to me. And when I sigh at his latest puns, he just smiles and says 'you're stuck with me you know'.

I can't imagine ever being without him.

Now, I'm not going to pretend he is a 'perfect' man. He lacks the six pack usually described in the romance novels, he has nose hair (well, only til I mention it is back and then he deals with it), he can't do DIY at all and he's set fire to the kitchen twice. But he is perfect for me.

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 19:01:01

Absolutely agree,a strong connection creates that potential frisson in a row
We are both strong characters and more than adept at argy bargy
I've got a PhD in ah telt ye so...

LaQueenOfTheMay Fri 02-May-14 19:05:15

scottish Oh Hell yeah...we could argue for England, neither of us likes to ever back down.

But, I think we can argue like this, because we're 100% safe in feeling very loved and valued by the other.

Have friends who are always so nicey-nicey polite with each other...and I'm sure it's because they're scared their relationship just aint strong enough to withstand any true raw emotion, or any emotional upheavel.

BigBoPeep Fri 02-May-14 20:21:39

I have one of those sunshine and rainbows marriages (5yrs now), we honestly only argue maybe twice a year, and it never goes on longer than the argument itself, once it's done it's done. We 'get' each other, respect each other, have in jokes. Sex is rarer thesedays with a toddler around and heavy work commitments but I make a real effort and it's great when it happens, just gets better and better. Sometimes little things about him grate on my nerves, but I just remind myself how small that is in the scheme of things and how I'm very lucky!

I don't know what the secret is, just meeting the truly right person I think.

PoundingTheStreets Fri 02-May-14 20:52:15

Have friends who are always so nicey-nicey polite with each other...and I'm sure it's because they're scared their relationship just aint strong enough to withstand any true raw emotion, or any emotional upheavel.

I think there's a lot of truth in that for a lot of people. But there are also relationships made up of two people who are naturally very laid-back so flashpoints over little things just don't happen and big issues are brought up for discussion before they become so big they enter row territory.

Different strokes for different folks.

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 20:53:01

sunshine and rainbows marriage?surely youre not both that icky,its a twee term

Minion100 Fri 02-May-14 21:26:30

Myself and my DH had a sunshine and rainbows marriage which was very enjoyable and satisfying. This was party because we were both easygoing, but also partly because we just agreed about most things. I got annoyed at him sometimes, pouted, sometimes even had a good shout but it was quite rare. If I did get upset or angry, he was always very docile and didn't argue back much so as a result I never stayed angry for more than 3 or 4 minutes and we'd both end up in a pile of kisses and apologies. We never wanted to stay angry or fight.

As wonderful as our marriage was, his inability to let anger or annoyance out eventually translated to mental health problems when he came under enormous stress and because he was not able to let out negative emotions he could not talk to me about what was happening to him and it pulled him away from me rather than towards me when he needed me the most.

I am not saying couples need to argue a lot to have a healthy marriage, but if they can argue if required and then can communicate about absolutely anything then the foundations are more likely to withstand troubled times.

I loved my husband with all my heart (still do) and it was a truly happy marriage but we were lacking in this area and this is how he became disconnected from me during his dark times.

I don't think this was something I could have changed. He always found talking about his worries very difficult right from childhood.

The point being both parties have to have solid relationship skills for a marriage to be "bombproof". Happiness is all well and good, but the most loving and devoted couples can come under strain if their foundations are shaky and unfortunately you sometimes do not realise that they are until it is far too late.

Minion100 Fri 02-May-14 21:31:43

Not suggesting for a minute that every couple will face mental illness, certainly not to the severity that we did, but we do all face very trying times and at those times you either pull closer together than ever or you pull apart. Problem solving skills and communication are so important. My DH was as close to me as two people could ever be and he hid what was going on from me. A marriage can never work if both partners cannot share openly.

Thurlow Fri 02-May-14 21:38:22

YY. You don't have to row and slam doors. DP and I are both naturally sulkers as opposed to rowers, so our arguments are really rather quiet grin

Which would probably piss off almost anyone else in the world, but we both understand it. And the key point is that the emotion comes out somehow. I do quite agree that if the deep emotions don't come out some way, in your version of an argument, that might not be the healthiest.

AMillionNameChangesLater Fri 02-May-14 21:43:51

I'm happily married, very happily.

I dated (using the word very loosely) some off men. There was the one who had a bet with a group of mutual "friends" that he would be the one to have sex with me first.

The one who repeatedly made me feel crap, just so i would be grateful for a nugget of attention. "Million, if you stopped eating as much, you'd look so much prettier" etc. Looking back,I was a fool to put up with it all.

The one who snorted Pro-Plus off the uni table. He was arrested recently for drug dealing apparently.

Then I met DH. He makes me feel beautiful, and sexy, even when I look crap.

He can wind me right up, so I'm laughing but not in a good way, the way which screams "I'm going to kill you". He doesn't think about what needs to be done without being reminded.

He is so laid back, it makes me (a control freak) stabby.

we've been through a lot, more than most people my age (27) have. I trust him with my life. I can tell him anything. He doesn't understand my crazy, but he tries to. He's wonderful.

We do have in jokes, and he kisses me every day.

Laregina Sat 03-May-14 10:35:17

Have to disagree with those basically saying that you have to have raging arguments or there's something wrong with your relationship...

DH and I hardly ever argue. We disagree, yes, we do piss each other off and fall out about it. But then we talk about it and move on. I honestly don't think we've ever had an argument that's lead to slamming doors and shouting at each other. That's partly because we 'get' each other and tend to agree on all the big things in life, partly because we're both quite laid back people anyway, but also because I don't want to spend my life shouting at somebody I love - and neither does DH. Maybe it's also because we were both brought up in families where our parents loved and respected each other 100% and would still be together had old age and death not got in the way sad

To me, shouting and arguing does not equal passion - love, chemistry and good sex does IMO - and we have that without having to shout at each other.

Horses for courses and all that, but I know people in RL who have made sweeping statements about couples who don't argue having problems, etc. From what I've seen they're trying to make themselves feel better about their dysfunctional relationships in the face of others who are clearly happy in theirs.

beccajoh Sat 03-May-14 13:31:04

Yeah agree re:not arguing. I don't argue with my husband. We do disagree about things and there's plenty of times we get annoyed with each other, but I view arguing as a shouty disagreement with no actual outcome other than pissing each other off. It just seems like a complete waste of time to me.

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 17:07:32

No, I'm not saying there has to be raging arguments in order to qualify as having a very happy marriage. Not at all.

But, you do need to be able to be completely open and honest with each other, without fear of the consequences. If necessary you should be able to feel safe enough to contradict your partner, and openly disagree with them, with out fearing your relationship can't stand the strain.

I'm quite lazy as a person, who wants an easy life - so I chose a DH who was generally singing from the same hymn sheet as me. Makes life so much easier. But if something has annoyed us, or we disagree with, then we get it out in the open quickly until it's sorted and resolved.

Neither of us harbour grudges, or play passive aggressive games, or sulks.

Have known too many couples who are all smiles on the surface, and politely attentive to each other...but inside they're grinding their teeth every day, and festering with resentment...but never actually dare get round to airing their emotions, and resolving the issue.

I think that sort of relationship is toxic. As is the relationship where one half generally calls all the shots - and the other just gives in for the sake of an easy life. Because to stand their ground causes too much bad feeling and stress.

Minion100 Sat 03-May-14 17:42:24

But, you do need to be able to be completely open and honest with each other, without fear of the consequences. If necessary you should be able to feel safe enough to contradict your partner, and openly disagree with them, with out fearing your relationship can't stand the strain.

I think this is said perfectly. No matter how much in love you are, no matter how happy you are, no matter how compatible and how great everything is - if you come to a major life crisis and you cannot both do this it puts you in very worrying territory.

A lot of the time though, this inability to be honest, to openly disagree might be in the person's deeply ingrained nature. They might have lived a lifetime finding confrontation difficult.

Often people who seem extremely emotionally healthy can shock the hell out of you when they are hit by a crisis and are completely unable to cope.

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 17:48:45

I think it was a Samurai saying that went 'A true friend is one you can share insults with' or something like that?

Basically I think it means that when your friendship/relationship is very, very strong you can be very over familiar with each other, take the piss out of each, even get angry with each other...yet stay safe in the knowledge that you will still be loved.

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 17:53:37

Meant to add - I also think that when you have been together for a very long time, and been through Hell & High Water together you have earned the right to be completely honest and open, and say what you truly feel. Even if that means you get angry, and are sometimes rude and unfair toward each other.

Because for every moment of anger/rudeness/unfairness - you can temper that with a million moments where your partner was incredibly kind and loving and supportive.

I couldn't expect DH to always, always, always be 100% kind, loving and supportive. Because he's only human...and Hell, I don't expect that of myself.

Minion100 Sat 03-May-14 17:59:58

I think that sense of knowing you can "say anything and still be loved" is not something you magically get from the other person though. It's something inside you. Self esteem?

Without it, no matter how much you are loved, you cannot let go and feel that trust that you can be yourself.

My husband thought my love for him was conditional on him being manly, strong, loving, wonderful and happy. He thought if he was depressed and unable to be those things that he would not be loved. So he ran away.

Those thoughts had no bearing on reality. It was something he'd decided on his own based on his dysfunctional childhood and hideous first marriage.

The point being - a relationship is only as strong as it's participants. If either one is carrying baggage from their past that they have not dealt with, or if either one has a dysfunctional way of managing problems then the marriage might hit a big problem.

A lot of it is about your strength and "health" as individuals before you enter the marriage.

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 18:17:16

I think you're probably right minion.

I think both DH and I had fairly healthy self esteem before we even met each other? I remember overhearing DH once tell a friend 'LaQueen was already very much her own woman, before she became mine' if that makes sense?

Minion100 Sat 03-May-14 18:51:12

I only hope your DH doesn't call you LaQueen smile Although maybe you should demand he does!

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 18:54:01

But of course...he also genuflects when I walk into the room wink

Minion100 Sat 03-May-14 18:54:42

grin the foundation of any good marriage!

TheWordFactory Sat 03-May-14 18:57:12

I'm a very loooooooong relationship and am very happy indeed.

I think the most binding thing is that we're a team. We don't have competing interests. He wants me to have what I want and I want him to have what he wants, so we try to facilitate one another where we can.

That said, we're not remotely romantic in a traditional sense. We don't go in for grand gestures, or endless protestations of devotion. We just quiety and methodically support one another day after day, month after month, year after year.

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 19:53:09

Most definitely, and ideally he also should tug his forelock too wink

LaQueenOfTheMay Sat 03-May-14 19:54:31

Agree WF - basically we want each other to be happy, and are really pleased if the other one gets to do something they enjoy.

jasminemai Sun 04-May-14 08:05:05

We dont really do big arguing. I have only fell out with him overnight once in our very early 20s and I was very drunk! Other than that we have bickered but never been annoyed with each other longer than an hour or so.

Lizzylou Sun 04-May-14 08:17:08

Op, I completely agree with Pagwatch on this, you are very young and have the power to only accept what is right for you, not put up with shit just because you want a relationship.
Dh and I have been together for 18yrs, married for 12, when I first met him I just felt so comfortable around him, like I could be myself totally with him.
He is a very good and decent person, we just work.

lechers Sun 04-May-14 09:22:35

I've been happily married to DH for 12 years now (we've been together for 17 years).

Sure, we row and fight, and sometimes even tell each other to F off, but that's our personalities. We're both strong willed and pig headed.

What makes our marriage strong, is the fact that at the bottom line DH and I love and respect each other. I know DH loves me. I know I can go to him about anything, and if I screw up, no matter what I've done, he'll be there for me. The same goes for him. I moan and whinge and complain, but of he ever needs me, I'm there for him. Ultimately we both know we're batting on the same team, and we're there to back each other up!

But yes, the morning cup of coffee, the kiss goodbye, or cuddle before sleep is nice, and helps to reaffirm everything. I think the most important bottom line, is that we both know we love and respect each other, and will do anything for the other person (although they may get nagged about it grin).

Laska42 Tue 26-Aug-14 21:41:09

.

Laska42 Tue 26-Aug-14 21:43:33

this is very insipring.. I know i'm in a happy and good marriage.. sometimes though like now i need reminding.. (its not him i dont like, but me, sothis kind of thread is good for reminding me why he likes me )

Any more stories?

karigan Tue 26-Aug-14 22:53:07

I think what makes mine and my husband's marriage a good one is that once you dig past all the couple stuff fundementally we are very close friends. He was someone who I would choose to spend time with before we ever 'got together' and so spending time together on our numerous shared interests comes very naturally. However we both also have separate activities/interests that we do and this gives us chance to exist individually and not live in each other's pockets the whole week.

I also agree with whoever it was earlier in the thread that what I most respect and like about him is that he is a good person and I see him treat people well every day.

Yes we do argue but the arguments serve a purpose- they're about communicating why one/both person/people are annoyed and attempting to resolve that and I can only think of a two examples in 10 years where we have failed to reach conclusion and agreed to differ. Also the arguments are constructive- it's not name calling and door slamming.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 26-Aug-14 22:54:46

Been married to DH for 9 years, together 10.

We met in our mid-thirties, I was a single Mum of 1.

2 DCs later we are still very happy. We sometimes disagree on parenting, often on politics but, generally, we share the same values.

He is one of the good guys and I count myself lucky that we found each other.

At 24 I was a very different person and probably would have been oblivious to the charms of such a caring, dependable, lovely man.

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