Any Other Photo – Five Years Married {Anna and Mr K}

I’d just asked my friend’s fiancé to describe her in three words (I’ll tell you all why in another post).

He told me.  “Beautiful.  Familiar. Extraordinary”

I pretty much died of romance.

When Mr K came home from work, I told him about it.

“’Familiar?’  That’s a word you’d use to describe your local Tesco’s”.

*****

You know when you know better, but you just can’t help yourself?

Me: If you had to describe me in three words, what would they be?

Mr K: In what situation would I have to do that?

[just do it look]

Mr K: chirpy…

Me: Chirpy?

Mr K: and what is that word women always use to describe themselves in online dating profiles?  Bubbly.  Yes, bubbly.

Me: Chirpy, and bubbly?  Of all the facets of my personality, you choose chirpy and bubbly?  Which, by the way, mean the same thing?

Mr: And playful.

[…]

*****

We aren’t like most couples I know.  We don’t do date night.  We don’t buy or make each other anniversary presents.  We have very few photographs of us together (I was looking through old files to find a photograph suitable for this post, one that represented all that we mean to each other, and opened up “Kefalonia 2011”.  There was one photograph in it, entitled “Goat in a tree”).

There isn’t a photograph that represents us, because marriage is a mess, really. It’s a tangled ball of wool that gets bigger and bigger over time, wool of different colours and textures and you try damn hard to unpick it, and sometimes you unknot it, and make a scarf, and feel pleased with yourself, and sometimes you mistakenly knot it even tighter and feel desperate.

I don’t have a photograph that represents our marriage, for this post. We don’t have a theme, and I can’t knit, anyway.

*****

We got married five years ago today.  I wrote an Any Other Photo after we got married, talking about how different we were.  I don’t think either of us really knew what we were getting into, on that day, but that’s the point of getting married, isn’t it?  You don’t know, but you hope.  It’s a day of hope.

It’s easy to measure a marriage by the good days, looking through photographs. This is when we saw that sunset.  This was the day we went to that place, and you wore that dress, and we saw that thing. This is the day we didn’t stop laughing.   This is when you held our baby for the first time.

Marriage is really about the hours in the day.  It’s the working of a big grandfather clock, and it’s not made up of the chimes on the hour every hour, it’s made up of the small, seemingly insignificant, seemingly monotonous ticking.  Did you remember to put the bins out?  You forgot to renew the council tax.  How you talk to each other when you’re both at your wits’ end with tiredness.  How you pick your battles. A nod of thanks.  A look that says “thanks for letting this one go”.  Who’s willing to apologise first.  How gracefully you win.

But, without the ticking, the clock wouldn’t do its magic, it wouldn’t measure the time.

*****

I got married because I believed in something bigger than just me.  Five years ago I chose my husband because he held a mirror up to me; because he knew what I had been, what I was, and what I wanted to be and because he never flinched from the hard conversations, even when they were the last thing I wanted to hear.  He hasn’t changed, in that respect.

He’ll never tell me why he married me; his love is not made up of perfect words and of snappy quotes for blog posts.  Instead, it is made up of dogged persistence, of surprising kindness, of brutal honesty, and of an uncompromising belief in us.  It is a tough love, sometimes, but you don’t get to cherry pick, when it comes to love.  You take it all, every part that a person can give.

Happy anniversary, Mr K.

Categories: Written By Anna
21 interesting thoughts on this

21 Comments

  1. Posted June 13, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Oof. Straight to the heart as always. Happy Anniversary you two

  2. Posted June 13, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I love this. Like, really love it. Happy anniversary!

  3. Becca
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Oh Anna **teary**

    I think Mr K and Rob are very similar. Feeling a bit uncertain about new figure. Conversation went:

    Me ‘I know I’m pregnant but from behind I still look OK right….I mean my bottom is still hot right?’

    Him ‘why…have you been sitting on a radiator’

    I just woke him up to ask him what his three words were. Not a good idea.

    • Becca
      Posted June 13, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

  4. Fee
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Happy anniversary you wonderful twosome.

    As ever, beautiful words. Snorting at ‘chirpy’.

    Xxx

  5. gemma c-s
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Love this! Would be interested to hear what 3 words you’d use to describe him? Xx

    • Posted June 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Provocative, playful, kind.

      It’s harder than it seems!

  6. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Five years??? What the…!!

    Anyway, happy anniversary and thank you for this post, its thought provoking and lovely.

  7. Posted June 13, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Happy anniversary! It is refreshing and lovely to hear of a relationship that’s romantic for a million different reasons than what’s expected. We are definitely like this too. You find romance in unexpected places. And the being together, just being there for each other. That’s what marriage is.

    Incidentally we had to do the “three words” thing for a Mr and Mrs game at my hen. Can’t remember what our words were now but I do remember that we both – unknowingly- chose “silly” as number one.

    Px

    • Katielase
      Posted June 13, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      My number one word for G would be silly. Or daft. I suspect his would be the same for me, although he might stretch to insane.

      KL x

  8. Posted June 13, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary! This made me happy. It’s nice to know that me and my hubby are not the only unconventional ones. I once asked him why he loves me… child bearing hips, biscuit making skills, willingness to do his washing… words aren’t always easy for him, but he loves and supports me, even when I’m daft, and that is more than enough!

  9. kate g
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Ah this is lovely :)

    Chirpy is an overwhelmingly positive word, for me. So, Happy Anniversary Chirpy Anna and Mr K.

    It reminds reminds me of the Mr and Mrs hen night game for a friend – the question was:
    What is your favorite part of (bride to be)?
    The answer was “Her Beautiful Face”.

    We all swooned.

    Later I asked husband, having partaken of many wines and cocktails, what his answer would have been.
    The answer was “boobs”.

    Sigh.

    xx

  10. Posted June 13, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I love this – it really gets to the heart of what marriage is about and is wonderfully written and emotional as ever. Happy Anniversary you two.

    On a completely different note… I can’t be the only person ridiculously desperate to see ‘Goat in a Tree’?!

    • Posted June 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Haha! My first draft of this post had the Goat In A Tree picture with the caption “Because marriage isn’t about selfies” and then I removed it because I sounded like a wanker!

  11. Katielase
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I have no words for how much I love this, we are not a typical romantic couple either. Although we do have a photo of us on every holiday ever because I always insist upon taking a ridiculous selfie in front of a view we obscure, and G always looks vaguely bemused and tolerant in them, while I beam like a deranged monkey.

    I love the love in this, real love is nothing like the movies, it’s hidden in the day to day grind of life, an it comes through strongest in the shitty times, not in front of sunsets. You never take photographs of the moments that matter, because they’re not picture perfect moments, bit they’re a lot more real.

    Happy Anniversary most wonderful Mr and Mrs K

    KL xx

  12. Posted June 13, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Amazing words as always. Sod the romcom type love, this is what it’s all about.

    Happy Anniversary! xx

  13. Posted June 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Happy anniversary!

    I don’t think my husband could come up with 3 words without laughing and saying something like ‘smelly, short and bossy’, as a joke. He doesn’t often say anything ‘rom-com’-like, but sometimes he’ll whisper something almost involuntarily as though he was thinking it very, very hard and it just came out all by itself.

    I find a lot of romance in a Saturday pottering around together and reading the paper and spotting funny-looking pug dogs. Much better than endless couple-y photos or expensive bouquets (although, I do love a bunch of flowers…just daffodils will do!).

  14. Posted June 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    A bit late but happy anniversary!

    Love your writing and your description of love and marriage!

  15. Amanda M
    Posted June 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Sob! Just……lovely.

    Happy anniversary.

  16. Posted June 17, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    *slow chant* Goat in a tree! Goat in a tree!!

    Wonderful piece, Anna K. As ever. LOVE the clock analogy. I might put that on my fridge.

    • Posted June 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Oh please do. I love the idea of gracing a fridge!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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