The weekend past, Noel and I celebrated his birthday and our 11th Wedding Anniversary. When I tell people that we are actually together for 22 years, they can’t believe it. They ask how we managed to stay together and happily so, for so long? I guess that’s what you get when you find “the one” 🙂 . These days, long courtships no longer exist. Most people are together for a year or so and then they tie the knot. Some marriages, unfortunately don’t even make it to the first anniversary which really saddens me. But we all have our own reasons and we just have to trust that we are making the right ones when it comes to matters of the heart.
I met Noel when I was 16 years old. I was young and didn’t have a cooking clue where I fitted into this world. And even though he was 20 at the time, he was also trying to find his own way in life. I think we were two wondering souls who were lucky enough to find each other to voyage across the sea of life together – and boy, has it been one hell of a ride!
Noel literally watched me grow up during our courtship and so did I him. We have shared many milestones together – braces, my matric dance, first job, graduation, first cars, promotions, first house ….all very special moment in one’s life. 22 years – it’s a long time, but it has really flown by so quickly – the years have vanished right before our eyes.
So much has happened during this time. Some marvellous achievements and some truly wonderful experiences. But we have had more than our fair share of some painful ones too. There were definitely times in our marriage where we both felt like throwing in the towel – not regarding our marriage, but life in general. And it’s your spouse or life partner that helps you carry on no matter how dark the road ahead looks. I believe in my heart that the trying times have brought us closer together as a couple. When it felt like the world had turned its back on us, we held each other close and faced it alone. This is particularly true regarding our journey to parenthood. 4 years later and we still don’t have the family we long for. Four miscarriages and too many hospital admissions that all came as part of the package. But we have and are still weathering these storms together. For that I am truly grateful.
There is a quote I love about marriage that says “A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on the days when they struggle to like each other”. I love this quote, because it is so, so true. Marriage, I must admit, is hard work. It requires your time and effort, patience and understanding. But most of all, unconditional love. There is no quick fix or magic potion to making a marriage work. It tests your patience like no other relationship you will ever have. You have to give so much of yourself but I don’t necessarily think these are bad things. Your job for instance – you are committed to doing a job well done. You show up, dress for the part and put your best foot forward. Why? Because you want to be successful in your career and be proud of the work you do. So why should it be any different when it comes to our relationships? Don’t we want to be proud of it? Don’t we want it to be successful? I think too many of us take our relationships for granted and think that the people in our lives will always be there no matter how little effort we put into it or how little pride we take in making it work.
Our marriage is far from perfect. Noel and I argue just like any other couple. We are sometimes disappointed in each other just like other couples. But I cannot and do not want to imagine my life without him. I’m truly blessed to have found someone who can make sense of my crazy. He grounds me when life overwhelms me. He is my therapist, fashion police, advisor and my inspiration. He encourages me to push my own boundaries and supports my endeavours to find my purpose in life. Not many people can say this. And I am so happy that I can!
We celebrated his birthday with a quiet dinner in the Waterfront – just the two of us. The restaurant we were at overlooks the harbour and we got to experience the most amazing sunset as the day ended.
Every year, we celebrate our anniversary at Groot Constantia Wine Estate. It’ s a tradition because we exchanged vows on the estate so many moons ago. I’m so happy that every year without a fail, we have managed to stick to this tradition 🙂 . The weather was amazing on Saturday. It was unbelievably hot and it reminded me a lot of our wedding day. Lush green gardens, vineyards and a scenery to die for. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Simon’s Restaurant with the highlight being a mixture of cheese cake and chocolate mousse for dessert.
Later that evening, we partook in the Sunset Run in Green Point. There was a competition for the best dressed runners. Noel and I decided to go as Chucky and His Bride considering that it was our Wedding Anniversary. And we WON! It was an amazing run, with an amazing view and an amazing moment when we were announced as the winners.
All in all, a fantastic celebration of 11 years of marriage! Memories that we will forever treasure!
“ Remember, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find treasure.” – Paulo Coelho