It may be Valentine’s Day today, but this ain’t no mushy ode to my beloved.
No Valentine’s gifts guides here either (I’d have left it a bit late anyway). Nor am I featuring a Valentine’s Day outfit in red and pink with a heart or lips print dress.
No – today I thought I’d share something a bit different for this day of love. I thought I’d talk about some of the unconventional things Keith and I do in our marriage (no, not THOSE things…!!) seeing as neither of us believes in Valentine’s Day.
Does one “believe” in Valentine’s Day? Is that how you describe it… maybe I should have put “neither of us CELEBRATES Valentine’s Day”?!
English grammar aside(!), we do find ourselves still not celebrating VT-Day after 18 years together – and we never did. I’m not sure why; maybe it was the fact that we knew so strongly that we were meant to be that we were comfortable enough to just throw convention out the window. Maybe we didn’t want to be “forced” into celebrating our love on a day that was dictated to us by the media and greetings cards companies. (I don’t envy anyone starting a relationship in today’s social media-obsessed world.)
Here’s a caveat though: I’m most certainly NOT about to chastise anyone for being a VT-Day fan… this post is about the things WE do that some may find unconventional; I bet there are an AWFUL lot of very conventional aspects of our relationship too! As long as you BOTH love doing the whole chocolates and roses shebang on 14 February every year then I couldn’t be happier for you!! ♥
A (very) brief history of our relationship
Much of our relationship has been reasonably unconventional:
I was still married to my first husband (but separated) when we started seeing each other – we’d been not-close (work) friends for a little while.
Soon after, I moved to Devon (leaving Keith in London) and we continued our still-new relationship long distance for nearly a year.
We had our honeymoon three years after we got married.
We eventually realised neither of us wanted children despite assuming at the beginning we would.
We have the same taste in movies, interiors, friends, music, clothing styles, cars, hobbies (with only a few exceptions in each area, namely my dislike of R.E.M. and his hostility towards musicals).
I’d like to think Keith and I don’t cramp each other’s styles. We mostly do as we please and go where we want to go whilst still respecting the other person and their wishes – if one of us wants to do something then rarely (in fact I can’t think of an actual occasion so I really should say never) does the other one say no.
But here are 7 unconventional things we do in our marriage that we find many/most/a lot of other people don’t do…
1. We don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day
So as I mentioned, we don’t do a single thing for Valentine’s Day, never have. In fact, I would never have known it was Valentine’s Day if it weren’t for the hearts splashed across my Instagram feed and Inbox filled with messages of love.
To be honest it’s NEVER appealed to me. I’m often on a health kick (or trying to be at least) after Christmas so I don’t want chocolates. And I’m not a red roses fan. In other people’s houses, yes, but I’ve never liked the sort of decor where they’d look good. Buy me peach roses on any other day of the year and I’m putty in your hands.
Is it because we like to simply go against the grain and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing? Seeing as I had a propensity for doing exactly that when I was younger, then maybe yes. And Keith’s the type of person that was probably only too glad that his new girlfriend, back in 2001, said that she’s not a fan of the whole Valentine’s Day thing. So that was that… both happy to ignore it!
2. We don’t do jealousy either
This is something I find in a lot of relationships (maybe more so in younger relationships): jealousy. I have NEVER been a jealous person. I’m friends with many of my exes, and I’ve even been friends with an ex’s new girlfriend (and then wife). I’ve had 100% amicable breakups (nothing acrimonious, at least) so found it easy to accept that we were both moving on.
And neither is Keith jealous. He’s often described as being so laid back he’s horizontal.
I couldn’t bear to be the sort of person that gets worked up or will interrogate him when he mentions a girl at work. He greets Riley with a huge hug and kiss every evening when he gets in from work before I even get a look in (or sometimes a hello), so jealousy would be a total waste of my time.
I’ve never had a relationship with a jealous person and I’m glad because it’s something I wouldn’t tolerate for a second. I know some couples LIKE their other half to be a little jealous occasionally, but not me!
3. We didn’t have a conventional wedding (or marriage proposal)
I wore trousers. We stayed at a friend’s house the night before and travelled to the register office on the tube. I did my own hair and makeup.
We didn’t have a cake, or a car, or a bouquet, or a photographer, or bridesmaids, or speeches. We spent the first day of our marriage in the museums of South Kensington playing on the interactive attractions with our families (the ONLY way you’ll get me on a roller coaster is when it’s a simulator).
Pretty much everything about our wedding, aside from saying our vows while skydiving or something equally nuts, was unconventional – or simply omitted. We had only six weeks between proposal and wedding day so doing away with all the stuff we felt we “needed” to have was a huge weight off our shoulders.
And as for the proposal: I proposed to Keith. I thought he’d never get round to it if I waited… told you he was laid back.
4. We don’t give each other cards or gifts on our anniversary
Our wedding anniversary is on 3 January, so it still feels a bit like Christmas and definitely feels like New Year’s. We’ve done all the shopping we could possibly ever want to have to do in the weeks previous, so the thought of having to go and buy MORE presents a few days after Christmas fills me (and Keith) with horror. We always acknowledge our anniversary and quite often do something on the day to celebrate, but we don’t feel pressured into HAVING to make a big song and dance about it.
This year we remembered it was our anniversary the night before and decided to just stay in and spend it with the furry boy (we didn’t want to go out to a restaurant and leave him behind) so we opened a bottle of bubbly and put together our new dining table… no big deal! Keith did, however, go off to work in the morning with us BOTH forgetting. It wasn’t until my sister texted me to say Happy Anniversary that I remembered #facepalm
5. We unintentionally reversed the “traditional” household roles
This is less unusual these days – men doing the housework and the cooking without having to be prompted. To be honest I Could. Not. Deal. with a partner who didn’t know one end of a hoover from another or how to cook. And we live in a time where I think it’s wrong to say I’m “lucky” that I have a husband who cooks and cleans. I’m not lucky, and nor should ANY woman feel lucky. You’re both adults, you can both do it. It’s not 1962 anymore. Gender doesn’t come into it!
That said, we’ve fallen into a pattern of doing the various chores that we prefer to do. And it seems that the “traditional” roles done by men and women are reversed in our household: Keith does most of the cooking, I tend to do the majority of the DIY.
That’s not to say I don’t do ANY cooking and Keith doesn’t do ANY DIY. We often do both together.
Sometimes it’s a case of me saying, Just put the drill DOWN and go start cooking dinner – it avoids him getting really annoyed and frustrated, whereas I could put up shelves or build things all day.
Keith is good at cooking, and he LIKES doing it.
I’m good at DIY (my father, who built our first family house with his own hands, taught his three daughters well), and I LIKE doing it.
The jobs we each do don’t matter. We just do what works for us.
6. We sort out our own laundry and clean our own bathrooms
I don’t know if this is a weird one, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone else doing this! Keith wears a uniform to work and every weekend puts on a wash that consists of just his workwear and other darks. And in the week I’ll sort out one wash that consists of mostly my stuff. But we still go through the laundry bin and wash what needs washing (we do wash other things like bedsheets and towels!), we just tend to do it… separately, if that makes sense?
And since we moved house last summer and have both an ensuite and a main bathroom, we’ve taken over one each. We didn’t really plan it, we just found it easier to have all my stuff in one bathroom and all of Keith’s stuff in the other; it just naturally occurred. It means that I rarely go into “his” bathroom and vice-versa, so we’ve each taken over the responsibility of cleaning our own bathrooms. And as Keith is slightly weirder about housework than I am (I can’t describe it any other way other than “weird”, but in a good way…), it works fine for us that we each clean our own.
7. We’re happy for each other to spend money on things we like
Last but not least: we like to treat ourselves, and yet we don’t criticise the other for what they spend their money on. I’ve never had to do that thing of hiding clothes and shoes in the back of the wardrobe, pulling it out months later so that I can say This old thing? I bought this months ago…! No, that’s not us at all.
We don’t hide what we’ve bought for ourselves. And in case you’re wondering, all our earnings go into one joint account, so it’s not as if we’re spending “our own” money. I mean we DO consult the other if we’re going to buy a big purchase, and it’s usually just to say I’ve been looking at X and it costs X but we should be okay this month if I buy this, shouldn’t we? and the answer might be, Wait till the next month when the next credit card bill comes around [which we pay off in full every month], but we never FORBID the other to buy something.
In fact, Keith’s actually terrible when it comes to reigning me in (yet another example of his laid back attitude). If I’ve got my eye on a pair of shoes or I see a piece of jewellery when we’re out and about somewhere, I might mention to him that I’d like to buy it and he just says Yeah go on, get it! It’ll look great on you! so no, I don’t have a husband who gets cross with my spending.
Though we are occasionally quite traditional…
I wonder if our trust in each other affects the things we do in a way that makes some aspects of our marriage unconventional?
And yet, there are some aspects which couldn’t be MORE traditional, for example Keith nearly ALWAYS drives when we go somewhere. I sort of hate that cliché of the man always driving his wife everywhere, but that’s what we do.
We’ll share the driving on a long journey, of course, but to get from A to B he automatically gets in the driver’s side and I automatically get in the passenger seat. And I’m happy to be the designated driver on the way home when he’s had a beer or two.
I don’t know how it happened; we just fell into a pattern but neither of us minds. He just likes driving, and I can catch up on Instagram…!
No one should EVER feel that any aspect or roles within their marriage (or household) are wrong. As long as both parties are happy with the arrangement then that’s all that matters.
Happy Valentine’s Day – or just Happy Thursday if you’re like us!
DO YOU HAVE ANY UNCONVENTIONAL ASPECTS OF YOUR MARRIAGE TO SHARE? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS : -)
P.S. Tomorrow I’ll share the results of my Seven Seas Perfect7 Renewal “supplements for wrinkles” trial… don’t miss it!