If you think about it, the idea of marriage is actually quite absurd.
Meet a boy, fall in love, have adventures, lazy Sundays, make memories, get married, settle down, throw a Toddlermonster or two into the mix and before long you can barely recognise yourselves.
"I really fancy you with poo on your neck", said no spouse ever.
What can prepare us for spending a lifetime with one person? What if your parenting styles don't match? There's no way you can possibly try before you buy on that front.
What if your career aspirations take you in totally different directions? What if one of you turns out to be a miserable sod? And what about those little foibles we all have? Be it a nervous cough, or the inability to cook, or a dad-joke back catalogue which sees you cringe into your Daiquiri. All of which were sweet at first, but now drive you to the edge (or the Bacardi bottle).
It's sort of like this: finally getting your hands on a once in a lifetime vintage Chanel bag. It's gorgeous, frankly it's love at first sight. It sleeps next to you, accompanies you to the best of occasions, you are frankly inseparable. You wear it proud on your arm, but the years roll by, and although it's still your best, most prized, precious item, the novelty has worn off. It's been with you as you puke up in the bar loos, realising you are not 21 anymore and cannot drink more than a few glasses of wine. It's been there during laughs and heated debates. It's seen your best and worst, but now you have kids and their stash of essentials no long fits into your beloved Chanel. Weep.
Clearly there is only one thing for it: time to invest in a bigger and better, but I'm still in the marriage analogy, and upgrades are not part of this deal.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that being parents AND keeping your marriage alive and kicking is hard. Really bloody hard. Navigating our way through life, raising humans and doing it together in perfect harmony is surely an unrealistic goal.
Maybe we should all get married in our mismatched PJ's, three-days-post-hair-wash and a seriously sadistic case of PMT. This realistic approach would set us up for the institution of marriage a lot better than a beautiful unstained gown, a face of professional make up, a room full of people who are being kind and complimentary, all washed down with free flowing booze and food that has not been microwaved.
As my husband says, "teamwork always pays off".
If you can still raise a smile to each other after five years of sleep deprivation and somehow fancy each other (occasionally) despite the extra pounds and hairy legs; if you can bring yourself to still be kind even when you really just want to drop the C bomb.; if you can bite your tongue rather than criticise the way they stacked the dishwasher; if you can still high-five the hell out of life...
Then that's good enough. That's Love.
That's my marriage with kids.