Can a global pandemic affect a marriage? Of course, it can. Spending 24/7 with your spouse will show the true current state of any marriage. I am no marriage expert by any means but I can personally reference to my marriage, that included many factors that you would normally assume would affect two people who got married in their early twenties (20 and 24 years old), immigrated to a new country, lost a parent and is experiencing a pandemic all in five years time.
Ritchie and I met in 2014 in Texas when I was travelling around the USA with a group on my friends living our free-spirited life when we saw each other from across the room in a crowded nightclub…it was love at first sight. Yes, it seems impossible but we knew each other a whole 8-9 hours after spending the remaining of the night and early morning together, grabbing a meal at Denny’s with our new combined group of friends. At first, I thought this tall, dark, handsome and shy guy was Australian; but he soon corrected me soon into our conversation. It was an effortless kind of conversation where we almost knew each other’s lives story by the end of morning hours.
I did not know if we would stay in touch, but we did message a few times and Skype called over the next two weeks before we made the choice to live now or never. I flew out to meet him in England, after reluctance from my father; I lived in the now. We spend six months falling in love and in those months it became a question of how and where to get married and never why, if or should we get married. This is what makes our story unique.
Only a few decades ago did engagements happen so fast and in today’s world is it such a rare thing to make such emotional choices based on love? I find couples wait for 10, 20 or eventually never to get married. Everyone has their own personal situations and choices to make and by no means am I here to tell you that’s wrong. This is just a simple observation based on my own experiences. I often hear the phrase ” It’s only a piece of paper.”, however to the person wanting that paper…why shouldn’t they have it. If it’s no more special than a birthday present…whats holding you back? Commitment? Obviously, financial positions and other factors play into the choice to be married, which is a fair and justified choice if both parties agree.
But boy I think this world needs more love stories of all kind. Of course, you can experience something that life throws at you’re at changes your marriage, ultimately ending in divorce…and that’s okay. It’s okay to be finished and to close a chapter in your book. But what about if you looked at it a different way?
According to the CDC, 48 percent of those who marry before the age of 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared to 25 percent of those who marry after the age of 25.
Granted we got married young and we had the odds stacked against us, I did come to realise that the past five years have been our true test of the longevity of our marriage so far. When I immigrated to the UK and had to adjust to not only cultural norms but having a baby in a different country without my family nearby to help was a large wake-up call to the decision I made when getting married. My husband and I had to buckle up as a family and adjust to counting on each other for our main support. Normally I would have had a large network of women whom would have helped me through my questions on pregnancy/birth/babies were far across the pond, but social media played a big part of filling that lost connection.
Things were starting to feel normal as we flew back and forth from the UK to the USA once every year to visit, but it was never enough. Then the pandemic hit and I had to face the decision to leave my husband and son in the UK as my father’s health declined at the same time. Torn with the idea but I knew my son had a family over here to look after him while I went to care for my father. Making the choice to travel during the pandemic was tough but I knew I would regret for the rest of my life if I couldn’t be by my father’s side and with my siblings to support our family.
I lost my father in June 2020 and when I returned back to the UK this is where we had a major shift in our marriage.
We didn’t communicate the way I wanted to, I was grieving, felt guilty and started to view life in a different lens. My husband humour that would make me laugh, turned to childish inconvenience and annoyance. My husbands’ professionalism and strength turned to emotionless action. I couldn’t find the right help for grieving and when I came home to my husband, whom I’ve counted on the past five years as my main person…I came home to life before my Dad passed away. Time stood still in the UK as I took care of my father as he passed away. There was already a disconnect to life back in the USA but this brought the two worlds together, in the form of the silent conversation in my own head.
I found my grief affected our marriage because I started to see the flaws in my partner as things I didn’t know existed even though my partner never changed. I did.
Was I to give up, get divorced and be happy again? Would getting rid of this annoyance make me any less upset about things than I already was. Probably not. We fought for two weeks straight and it wasn’t pretty. I kept saying I was ready to go and even came up with plans in my mind to organise myself ready for the result. But you know who wouldn’t give up, my husband. I desperately needed to go on a weekend trip or do something that reminded me of my father and after taking action myself it released the pressure that was building inside me. I never received closure after my father passed and I returned home. I learned my first lesson; only you can make yourself happy though action, but when the person joins you in your happiness you experience bliss.
#MarriageReborn is the idea of celebrating how a marriage can be reborn throughout a couple’s life and how vows are reimagined by the way life is experienced. For example, the loyalty of keeping your vows even if they take on a new meaning.
A marriage is reborn after a major life event happens in a someone’s life that shifts… causing rebirth in the dynamics of a marriage.
My husband stuck by my side listened to my complaints and we both handled ourselves by finding ways of communication that worked for us and making a pact to try to make each other lives easier by doing things we enjoy we love as a family instead of fighting for what we want…we just act…like we once did before.
Our vows took on a new meaning, we decided that if we were to continue our better ourselves for our family we would have to rebirth our story. We had no problems with loyalty and it is probably the strongest attribute about the dynamics of our marriage. We knew our loyalty was a thing that came with ease and unquestioned conversation. We both know that our biggest fault is our lack of experience. The way we communicate only gets better with age and our rebirth had a big part in the way we communicate.
Instead of getting upset over something and blaming the other one silently, we started having date nights/days dedicated to communication. Whenever we took long road trips or travelling…communication. Life is busy for us and its very hard to communicate with chasing after a toddler, managing businesses, taking courses, working and balancing life.
We wanted to celebrate our #MarriageReborn with a photoshoot in celebration of our five years of marriage, which we didn’t get to celebrate because I was in the USA. I have always loved the idea of weddings….after being married. When we first got married we had the most beautiful and intimate wedding that was laid back, personal and holds a special place in my heart. My family back home came together to make it happen and nothing will ever compare to our wedding day.
However, I always ran in a certain group on friends over in the UK that happened to be amazing wedding suppliers, photographers and videographers. I thought it would be a great way to reimagined another wedding and what it would look like if we got married this year. So with a little help from my friends, I present to you… #MarriageReborn .
I special thanks to the suppliers who came together to create a memorial date night, laughs and creative spirit to help make #MarriageReborn come to life. Please support these pages by giving them a follow!
This blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider.