It sounds weird but this bowl represents my relationship at the moment. My marriage.
To give you the background, a few weeks back my husband presented me with this Rosti mixing bowl. A nice gesture in itself but it was to replace one that I had smashed up a while back. (I’d dropped it in the kitchen.) I hadn’t asked for a new one – and, to be honest, I’d not really given the smashed up one much thought – but my husband said “I knew you liked the bowl and thought you’d like a new one’’.
Seriously, this is one of the aspects of my husband that I have come to really appreciate. He is quietly thoughtful. No grand gestures (there were quite a few, uncharacteristically for him early on in our relationship. Expensive Hermes perfumes. The night when he led me to the City of London churchyard St Bartholomew the Great used in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral and, somewhat drunkenly, professed his affection for me. In fact, we had to climb over a fence!) – no fawning, or pawing or need to be the “big man’’.
We have been married almost 10 years (that’s like at least 25 years for my generation right?) and have two daughters. We have done me moving to London to start our married life, a move back to Australia with a three-month-old baby, a huge career change and associated study (for him) that’s still got a few years to go, and all the usual day-today stuff that makes up life. But I feel, at this point, we are as solid as we’ve ever been and believe, me, there have been times where I’ve thought it’s all too hard and I’d be better by myself. (I have on a few occasions looked up the Centrelink website to see how much I’d get as a single mum.)
Maybe it’s because I am growing up. My gratitude grows deeper each day that I see the fruits of our relationship and commitment to our kids. It’s not perfect. We disagree, fight and grunt at each other at times. (He thinks I’m more interested in Twitter than him!) I do see how when couples are through the frenetic pace of raising kids they can sometimes not know what is left of their relationship. It’s referred to as the “grey divorce’’.
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit but our decision to get married wasn’t a romantic proposal or feeling we couldn’t live without each other. The facts were I was back in Australia, he in London. The long-distance relationship situation would have made it too easy to NOT make any firm decisions (I find it incredibly painful to be in indecision) so it was like “Should we get married?’’. “Ok, let’s do it!” The visa situation and associated practicalities made the decision to get married easier. (Saying this, it was still a tediously drawn out process to get my “leave to remain’’ to be able to work in Britain. I am now a British citizen.)
I have the occasional thought that It’d be nice to be in Aussie triple threat Holly Valance’s shoes – especially when she tweeted the photo of her billionaire boyfriend’s proposal to her on a tropical island. Yes, that’s BILLIONAIRE boyfriend!
It’s all relative though. For her a thoughtful gesture is a super-yacht and mine is a cooking bowl.