All photos by the amazing Xanthe Berkeley
Our first wedding anniversary found us on the beaches of Thailand, bikini clad and sun-kissed and cocktail in hand. This year, we opted for the comforts of home. This year we are lying low in our bathrobes, drinking wine, ordering pizza and watching The Great Gatsby.
Our second year of marriage was quite a ride. We biked from London to Brighton, hiked the three highest peaks in the UK in less than 24 hours and went to the top of the Shard. We sold Joe’s flat, packed everything up, moved in with his brother and bought a derelict house. We attended three weddings, camped by the river Wye, had our first Canadian Thanksgiving in London, went to Winter Wonderland and a murder mystery dinner and a tea party at Fortnum & Mason’s. We decorated our first Christmas tree together, went skating and sledding, saw Andy Murray play at the Queen’s Tennis Club, caught 5 gigs, 4 plays, 3 circus performances, 2 festivals and one comedy show, won a 12-pack of beer at a pub quiz and ate way too much bacon.
In between, there were many walks in the countryside and a thousand cups of coffee and Sunday roasts and dinners amongst friends and weekend getaways and culture club events. I was introduced to British classics such as Withnail and I and pheasant shoots and mince-pies and Christmas pudding. And Joe discovered that his wife can’t help belting out the lyrics to Don’t Stop Believin’ whenever it comes on the radio (which isn’t often enough, in her opinion, and which is also the reason he bought her the Journey album in vinyl for their anniversary). Joe still makes fun of my accent and I still refuse to say “trousers”, so some things haven’t changed.
We learned that social extroverts and creative introverts aren’t necessarily the perfect match for marital bliss and that marriage isn’t always a walk in the park– it’s more of a work in progress. It’s always evolving. It’s ebbing and flowing. It’s about compromising and accepting and learning how to choose your battles and when to let go. It’s about being vulnerable and hoping that your spouse will be gentle with your heart. It’s about recognising that they won’t always be gentle with your heart but trusting they’ll do their best, as will you. It’s about accepting apologies and giving hugs when hugs are needed. It’s about unconditional love. You don’t have to love every bit of your partner. You just have to love them, as a whole, regardless of those bits that drive you crazy. And thank God for laughter through it all.
Armed with everything we’ve learned this past year, about ourselves and each other, we are looking forward to year three. We’ve poured a solid foundation for our marriage over the past couple years and we’re now ready to start on the framework.
Happy anniversary, dear husband. You really are the sweetest thing.