How 10 years make 40

I once read somewhere that the average couple spend about 3 hours together per/day. So, while James and I “only” just celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary, it would be more like 40 years of marriage in “average” terms.

So, what makes a marriage last and what are the tricks for staying together? While we’re not relationship experts, looking at our marriage I can see a few reasons why we work together so well which is down to three key things: Our emotional, physical and intellectual connection. Ticking all three boxes in a partner can be hard but I would thoroughly recommend investing the time and energy to ensure you’re compatible before settling down (or even worse just settling). Overarching these three things are a profound sense of love, respect and trust in each other.

While we met early in life (I was 20 and James 24) we’d also both had multiple long-term relationships (and several flings)! While undoubtedly most relationships start with a strong physical connection it’s important to quickly assess if there’s more to the relationship than just that. How do we connect emotionally? Do we share the same dreams and values? And in terms of the intellectual match, can we continue to challenge and stimulate each other? Do we enjoy holding a conversation about what interests us and makes our world tick? I remember vividly how we on our first weekend away discussed how to raise children. Mainly, the differences between the old New Zealand culture (pre the law change) of spanking vs my Swedish upbringing which meant the opposite. James listened to my view and to his credit when this became a reality followed the framework I had been brought up with. While this might seem like an odd early discussion to have, it’s been pivotal in our relationship and has ensured that we’ve always been “on side”.

In my late teens I once dated a guy who while attractive and incredibly kind didn’t quite match my mental ping-pong matches. I remember having friends at the time advising me that as long as he was “hot and kind” we’d be fine, but I very much doubted it. I quickly figured out it wasn’t right for me and exited before it had properly even begun.

James and my meeting was quite the opposite. I initially met James via msn! To make a long story short, when my brother moved to New Zealand he was struggling as his girlfriend had left him. So, I asked him to connect me with one of his friends so I could keep an eye on him. He connected me with James and while we initially spent our time keeping tabs on my brother, the conversation quickly shifted to world events, good old teasing and getting to know each other. I received a photo of James (keep in mind this is 2005, so no online stalking available) and was surprised that the looks matched the sharp intellect I’d encountered. We met the night I arrived in New Zealand and while it might not have been love at first sight, it was more like lightning with an intense connection that has spanned all three things we value so much.

So here we are, 14 years later, 10 years married, two kids and a handful of businesses and I can honestly say that I love him more now than the day we said, “I do”. Something at the time I didn’t think was possible! So, if you’re on the love hunt, make sure that you tick all three boxes, emotional, physical and intellectual, if you want a relationship that lasts.