Life is not like a romance novel (or is it?)- thoughts on 21 years of marriage this #MusicalMonday.


Monique McDonell and Husband in HawaiiThis week I will have been married 21 years. I have been pondering what that means about me and my life. A girlfriend pointed out recently I have known my husband for half my life, that seems kind of bizarre to me. Part of me can’t remember what life was like before we got married and another part of me thinks “hang on, I just met this guy.”

Some days I really don’t like being married. Lots of days, actually. It feels like I have to be nice too much of the time and think about other people too much, and you know, act interested when I’m not. Yeah, see I can’t possibly have been married 21 years with that attitude, right? I’m really a petulant fifteen year old at my core. Most of that has little to do with my husband and a lot to do with who I am as a person.

My husband is a famously and ridiculously nice guy. I do know a couple of people who don’t like him, but they’re pretty rare, and I kind of think that tells you more about them than him. He’s a far more affable human being than I am. He’s nice to old people, is incredibly helpful with my friends and loves small children. He cooks, he irons, he can build stuff and he tells a great story (even if way too many of them involve fishing these days). In fact one of the most annoying things about him is that he’s so damned pleasant I can’t even complain about him to anyone.

That doesn’t mean that being married to him every day is like living in a romance novel. He also has no short term memory (like none at all), can’t make a plan to save himself, only acknowledges birthdays and holidays as an act of appeasement and has a job that so lacks rhythm we’ve lost our entire social life as a result.

We’ve had job losses, grief, financial issues, failed dreams and we’ve battled infertility. We’ve made decisions and had circumstanced thrust upon us that made us both sad and a little angry. It certainly has not gone to plan.

And we haven’t even started on me yet. My husband and I are actually complete opposites (though I would like to think we were both kind) but for every memory he’s lost I’ve held on to five and for every plan he’s failed to make, I’ve made ten. I love celebrations, themed dinners and organisation. All of which has to annoy the snot out of him.

And yet here we are.

I look at marriages that work and those that don’t and wonder why that is. On paper, we don’t work. We just don’t. And yet despite the differences here we are.

So how is our life like a romance novel then?
We did romantically meet on a tropical island (just like in my novel Hearts Afire) and we’ve been together ever since.
We do still make each other laugh.
We like each other.
We are kind to each other. We never want to see the other fail or get their come-uppance or relish a chance to say ‘I told you so” (even though we’ve both had plenty of them).
We’re both people people.
We both have a sense of adventure.
We appreciate each others differences – you go fishing, I’m off to the art gallery, see you later.
We’re both romantic in different ways.
We still go on dates, we hold hands, we dance in the living room.
He brings me flowers every now and then (And not from the petrol station!)
We want to tell each other our stories.
We want each others dreams to come true.

So for Musical Monday I give you our wedding dance – Into The Mystic.



Ms. Mary
3/9/2015 01:43:32 am

Happy Anniversary, you two! I have seen you in action and you are a lovely, lovely couple! And thanks for some awesome Van Morrison on a Monday! 🙂
3/10/2015 09:19:28 am

A little Van Morrison is always good for the soul.

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