25 Years Married: Things I’ve Learnt

As she celebrates her silver wedding anniversary, life coach Sian Jaquet shares lessons she has learnt.

    Meet Sian Jaquet: life coach, wife of 25 years and the newest member of our blogging team. As she celebrates her silver wedding anniversary, she shares the lessons a quarter century of marriage has taught her.

    Could you do with some planning advice? Email [email protected] – each issue, Sian solves the etiquette problems of troubled brides to be. 

    I remember the day in intimate detail. Recalling my thoughts, my feelings and my actions takes little effort. I smile when I think of myself telling my dad to ‘just wait two minutes’ before we left for the ceremony – my corset, emblazoned with lace and pearls – was digging into my ribs. Silent panic coursed through my veins as I rummaged through my underwear drawer, trying to find a suitable alternative, only to come up with nothing and walking commando up the aisle!

    Today, fewer marriages make it to 25 years than at any other time in history. So, as we reach our silver anniversary, I’m sharing insights that have helped along the way:

    1. Marriage is a lifelong journey in learning the art of unconditional love – it’s the one achievement I’m most proud of.
    2. The safest place in the world is my husband’s arms.
    3. Recipe for love:
      Trust: without it you don’t have a marriage, you have a contract.
      Love: this is the safe feather landing when the shit really hits the fan.
      Respect: your life partner needs to have your back and you theirs – always!

      Shared values and visions: these will keep you together forever.
      Equal parts humour, romance and fun – topped off with as much loving sex as you require.
    4. The more frightening times were when we really talked about divorce.
    5. Nothing says I’m sorry as well as great sex!
    6. There are lots of things that make my love for him erupt: watching him sleep with our newborn child on his chest, holding him when he cries, those times he’s left me a lit candle to help me get to bed, the fact he’s checked my spelling for 25 years, when we went out clubbing for his 50th birthday, and when he went to meet my imaginary burglar in his undies at 2am.
    7. Find a way to make each other laugh every day. Seriously, this is your emergency sticky plaster when you feel lost and lonely in your marriage.
    8. Make friends with your in-laws – it’s unlikely they are ever going to change, so work on finding the sunshine in your relationship and focusing on that.
    9. Agree that if asked, you’ll tell the truth. ‘Yes darling, your ass does look big in that,’ and ‘Yes. You were embarrassing after one too many glasses of wine at dinner last night.’
    10. It’s always possible to choose love – even in the very moment you want to stab your spouse. It takes practice and the ability to step back and establish why you’re hurting so much, then working to remedy those feelings.
    11. You know you’ve backed a winner when even your own friends and family tell you they don’t know how he puts up with you.
    12. There are things that are worth fighting over – but try to spread them over 25 years, not all in one week.
    13. You never get to take a day off from marriage, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Your loyalty, focus and commitment is with your spouse. Always.
    14. Our children have been and continue to be one issue that infuses our marriage with huge pressure and joy in equal measure. Understand that you’re choosing to take on house squatters, and take comfort in knowing they will (eventually) leave.
    15. Acknowledge as soon as possible that being perfectly ‘understood’ isn’t actually possible.
    16. The irritating behaviours of theirs that you notice in the first few years do get bigger with time, yes. But so do yours.
    17. If you can’t disagree with quiet dignity, move house every three years to avoid the neighbours’ stares. We had to.
    18. Don’t share each other’s pain – someone needs to have a clear head! Stand strong and support them when they’re struggling – there will be plenty of time later to share your feelings.
    19. Making rational complaints about how you’re being treated inside a marriage is sometimes necessary. Just make sure you also offer a rational solution.
    20. Marriage, like life, is a journey, with the added benefit being that you get to sleep with your traveling companion.
    21. I can’t count how many times in the first 10 years I honestly believed he had control over my self esteem and happiness. He doesn’t.
    22. We come first, the kids second.
    23. Ensure you find ways every day to say I love you. It doesn’t have to be roses and diamonds – changing the bed linen and scrubbing the shower can and does touch the same spot.
    24. Always have photographs of special moments around your everyday space. And remember to let your heart ping as you recall the memory.
    25. Learn to find gratitude for your marriage. Only then do you begin to realise just how lucky you are to find lasting, respectful and unconditional love. 

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