It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since I was sat in the bedroom of a beautiful old farmhouse, drinking prosecco and trying to settle the excitable butterflies that were beating in my chest. I can still remember exactly how I felt as I sat and got ready with my bridesmaids and family, so full of gratitude for the amazing people in my life and impatiently counting down the minutes until I got to see my groom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. It seems like just yesterday that we made those vows to each other, surrounded by the people we love most, and watched as a new family was born out of our decision to get married. The music from the silent disco still rings in my ears, and I can still vividly remember every moment of that wonderful and life affirming day. And yet, somehow, a year has passed already and our newlywed status has started to fade.
When I was planning our wedding, I was overwhelmed with how much information there was out there about how to plan the perfect day. I pored over every single wedding blog and listened carefully as friends and family dished out advice. I read the advice sections of wedding magazines and spent more time chatting to our suppliers and venue team than I did chatting to my future husband. When it comes to your wedding day, there are reams of advice and options available for every single detail of the day, from how to pick a dress right through to how to create a table plan that avoids any family feuding.
And yet, when it comes to the marriage itself, it seems like the advice stretches little further than “never go to bed angry”. I have searched for the blog posts on how to build a long and happy marriage, and I have asked friends and family for their advice. I have awaited the podcasts sharing marital secrets, or the books filled with tips and lessons learned. And yet, no matter how hard I look, my search has so far been unfruitful.
Perhaps it's because while most weddings follow a similar formula, all marriages are different and unique. Perhaps it's because nobody really wants to jinx their own marriage by writing about it. Whatever it is, I find it so strange that our society is so focussed on the wedding, when really it’s the marriage we are left with, long after the confetti has disintegrated and the cards have been taken down from the shelves.
With only a year of marriage under our belts, I don’t have a wealth of experience to share with you all. Our first year as husband and wife has been the happiest of our whole relationship, and there have been no major trials or tribulations sent to test the commitments we made to each other.
But still, I do have one piece of advice for anybody considering making those vows themselves: marry someone kind. There are so many traits that are important in a partner, but I wholeheartedly believe that none are as crucial to a happy marriage as kindness is.
Because on those days where life tests you and it feels like everything is becoming too much, that kindness will stop you from sinking into the shallows. It will remind you that you are a good person, worthy of love, and in turn, it will help you to be a kinder person too. On tough days, those little acts of kindness will be the sparks of light you need to remember just how good life really is.
I am so lucky that the person I have chosen to share the rest of my life with is one of the kindest people I know. I try every single day to reciprocate the kindness that he shows me (although I must admit, I sometimes fail). And I hope that this kindness will be a solid foundation upon which to build a life together, a life full of adventure and happiness and strength and encouragement.
I am sure that we will have years in our future that are more difficult and testing and challenging, and I'm sure that there will come a time when I more advice and experience to share. But for now, trust me on the kindness.