*Soppy Blog Alert*

16 yrs ago (yesterday) my wife and I got married. I won’t go in to the detail of the day itself but it was a day full of love, laughter and alcohol (quite a bit of it too). There are moments we still laugh about now and things that pop up in our memory where we have a little smile to ourselves as it reminds us of such a great point in our lives.

Now, I suspect most people are aware of the ‘vows’ people commit to when they marry. Some may say they’re a bit old-fashioned in this day and age but I like to think they are still relevant. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, ’til death do us part. It’s fair to say that we’ve had our fair share of better and worse moments over the years we have been together but they are all experiences on our journey through life. Some have taught us a lesson, others have given us wonderful memories to treasure for ever. We are also no richer than we were but that is just in monetary terms. But, if you were to measure richness in terms of love then we are richer than we ever dreamed we could be. We have a beautiful daughter, a great network of friends and work colleagues and a roof over our head. We are also soon to be starting a new chapter of our lives in our very own house as soon as the contracts are exchanged. We have holidays when we can and make the most of what we have. Yes, we would like more (wouldn’t everyone?) but what we do have we have worked hard for and I think we appreciate it more. It is also helping to bring our daughter up in a way that she appreciates the little things and she seems to be turning into a caring, conscientious young lady (with a touch of my sense of humour which is a pretty good trait to have).

However, when we look at the ‘In Sickness and in Health’ vow that’s a whole different ball game. My wife has her own share of health issues and it would be wrong of me to expose them on here but suffice to say that they are a part of her and I wouldn’t have her any other way. My health issues have been numerous over the years we have been together and have ranged from me being diagnosed with IBS to finding out I have mild hearing loss and having to wear hearing aids. Each of these have been fairly ‘easy’ for me to accept and get along with and make reasonable adjustments to my life to cope with them. The biggest test of the ‘sickness / health’ vow though has been this last year. It has also been the hardest challenge to my health for me to try to accept as just being part of who I am. Never in my wildest imagination (and it is a pretty wild imagination at times) did I think my wife would see me terrified to leave the house, shaking uncontrollably and scratching deep marks in to my arms through blind panic. Being a ‘typical’ man I expected I had to be the strong male figure of the family and look after everyone but this came at the expense of my own health. I never expected my wife to be handling phone calls to the mental health crisis team on my behalf because I thought they didn’t want to talk to me and I would be better off not being here. I didn’t expect to have to see her face full of worry when I told her about the darkest part of my mind and what it had been telling me to think or do. Nor did I expect her to have to be the one to coax me gently into leaving the house when I have been on the verge of a panic attack.

Fast forward 6 months from me being at my lowest point waiting for my world to collapse and I can say I am getting to be in a better place again. I think in a funny way it  has brought us closer together as we now have a much deeper understanding of each others needs. We know when to leave the other alone and we know when the other just needs a big warm hug and a cup of tea (tea makes everything better in our house). I know that if it hadn’t been for my wife being there to support me then my illness could have taken a completely different turn and this could have been a very different blog.

To celebrate our anniversary we did what any self-respecting, loving couple would do. Our daughter is away with her grandparents and her cousin until Sunday so we took the chance to do what ‘normal’ couples do all the time (I imagine).

That’s right we went out for a meal and a night out. But not just any night out. This was the height of romance. It started at the KFC drive-thru and then sitting in the car park eating our ‘dinner’. Then it was off to the cinema to watch ‘Dunkirk’. I’m not really into reviewing things but suffice to say the film was incredibly powerful and well worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

Which just goes to prove that money isn’t everything (although it does help pay for romantic nights out like this) and we will remember that night out for years to come.

That just leaves the ‘death do us part’ bit. We have been married for 16 years so far which leaves us a hell of a lot of years together still to make more memories and plan many more romantic nights out.

Who knows, we might even upgrade to a Wetherspoons meal and drink deal for our anniversary next time………………………..