Three weeks ago an event took place that transformed my life, I suspect forever. What’s really strange is that I wasn’t really even involved in it.
In my last blog I talked about how important it can be to make the most of opportunities when they come your way. At that point I was marvelling at the transformations I had seen in the cast and crew of The Real Full Monty. I had watched these amazing people transform from shy and insecure to radiant, confident, inspirational beings.
Little did I realise when I wrote last about this project how much our lives would change as a result of this one event.
So what has happened that is so dramatic?
Well, it has been profound, for me at least. I will attempt to explain.
This is Ian. If you have been reading my blog or following me on social media for a while you will know that he is my husband and my world.
Over the years he has grown and transformed so much. This photo captures perfectly the latest stage in this transformation, thank you Sam Carpenter Photography. One of the cast hit the nail on the head when she said he was the “proud father of the show” his face here radiates pride and joy at what the cast are achieving. It is one of my favourite photos, ever.
But what has this got to do with life changing moments?
Well, this show started a ripple.
These photos were taken last Saturday, they were taken by our friend Evie, while we were out celebrating Sam (the amazing photographer)’s birthday.
What has THIS got to do with life changing moments?
Well, a lot actually. You see we were discussing while we were getting ready to go out when the last time was that we had asked someone to have the children over night so we could go out as a couple and meet up with friends.
We can’t remember. We have both gone out with friends while the other has stayed at home. We have very occasionally asked someone to come sit with the children so we could go out, but it has always been so last minute that we have gone for a meal just the two of us, not with anyone else. We had a weekend in Paris as a birthday gift for my 40th from my in laws, which was lovely, but it is almost 3 years ago now and we have had very few nights out together since.
In the last three weeks we have been out together, as a couple, without children, on an evening, three times. We have had countless daytime dates and we are enjoying spending time together so much. We are still enjoying quality time with the children, but we have made ourselves a promise that we are going to make the effort to go out together as a couple, in the evening more.
This transformation is about so much more than going out though.
Look at our faces in the photos above. Now look at this photo from our holiday a couple of years ago.
I loved this photo, I thought it was a really happy photo of the two of us. But look how much happier we look in the recent photos.
It feels as though a light has been switched back on inside us and we are filled with a new found appreciation of life and our relationship.
We have been together for 18 years this year, and I feel like I did when we first got together.
Life as a couple is never linear. It is not a simple path. It is a rollercoaster. It has twists, turns, challenges and triumphs. During our time together we have overcome serious physical health challenges, parenting challenges, financial worries, grief… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
We have also been blessed to have three beautiful children, amazing parents, incredible friends, fabulous days out, heart warming parents evenings, holidays with loved ones and pure pride and joy watching our children grow and achieve their own successes.
When I was younger I remember my lovely Dad talking to me about a family friend who was going through a divorce at the time. I was asking what had gone wrong. Dad, in his wisdom, said that nothing had gone wrong. They had just stopped loving each other. He was really candid and said that he and Mum had just been really lucky because they had always managed to grow together as they had changed as they had got older, “not everyone is so lucky”, he said.
These words have come to me many times over the years, and he probably doesn’t even remember the conversation. It’s so true though. Over the years our marriage has had some rocky times. Times I wasn’t sure we could get through. Times I considered walking away. Fortunately, just as we were getting to that point, we always managed to pull back together. Life would get really difficult and something would happen to make us remember how fortunate we are to have each other and give us a new found appreciation of our marriage.
I believe you can have several marriages to the same person without ever getting divorced. I know that we are on maybe marriage number three or four now. Every time we have had something dramatic to cope with, we reinvent ourselves, and our relationship deepens, and grows more beautiful than ever.
It is easy when life is busy and you have; children, family, work, a home to look after, to lose track of the important things. We get busy doing and forget to be.
I have always loved my husband but it is often easy when you are busy and tired to scale back the little actions that can make your relationship really special. Whether it is remembering to give each other a kiss before you leave, making a cuppa in bed, paying them a complement or just generally supporting each other. Taking time to really invest some time and energy into your relationship is never wasted, it will, in most cases, reap rewards and you will get back all that you put in and more.
Sometimes, life can give you a little nudge to make these changes – like giving you a reason to go out as a couple and reminding you how much you need that – but sometimes you have to make a decision yourself.
Yes we had the initial nudge and we went out to the after show party together, but we then made the decision to extend that impact and make sure that we were able to also go to the birthday party. We have committed to going out together much more often. We will make this happen.
Life has changed and it is happier and healthier because of one event, one decision. You just never know when life might give you that nudge in the right direction. Keep looking out for the signs.