Mister Husband and I celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss tomorrow, 19th July 2012. And if you believe that, you shouldn’t be let out by yourself. The 10 year part is true, but as for the bliss? Ftttt! I know all the sensible, realistic people in the same boat understand exactly what I mean when I say it hasn’t always been plain sailing. But 10 years and four kids later we’ve both come out the other end smiling. Most days. When I was young(er) I had a few commandments of my own. These were in keeping with the black and white view I also had of the world. It was all nice and simple really, I had it all mapped out and as far as I was concerned that was the end of that. My first commandment: I was never getting married. I told this to everyone and anyone who didn’t want to know. It followed naturally that kids were not part of my life plan either. What would I want one of those for? Commandment No. 2: Anyone worthy enough to be my boyfriend could not be younger than me. In fact, it would be preferred if he were slightly older. 6 months older would be nice. Commandment No. 3: Beards were definitely not allowed. Untidy, scratchy, bristly things. And commandment No. 4: Anyone who inhaled carcinogenic substances into their lungs needn’t bother to apply for the boyfriend position either. Oh dear. A wise person once said that rules were meant to be broken. Along came Mister Husband and smashed all of my black and white commandments to bits. He brazenly refers to me as the Elder Lemon because my 6 month rule about the man being older goes the other way for us. But at least I can throw it back at him sometimes and tell him to obey his elder. He also has facial hair. At one stage though, Mister Husbands beard was so long and unkempt, he went a whole year with me kissing his cheek only. There was no way I was getting any closer for a bigger smooch; god only knew what might have jumped out of that bristly appendage at me. I used to comment that he was hiding food for later in there. Grizzly Adams had nothing on him; even Ronnie Drew had a contender. It all went in a Shave or Dye sponsorship a couple of years ago. Sometimes he talks big and mentions growing it back again and I tell him he’d better sleep with one eye open if he does! Alas, he also smokes and at this stage I know he will be a smoker for life. I’m not sure how many people know this but when he proposed I thought he was joking around so I agreed. We were in a pub (how romantic!) and I had a terrible thirst on me so rose mantic talk was just an impediment. Unbeknownst to me, I was then officially “engaged” and Mister Husband diligently scrimped and scraped for the next few months to come up with the readies for The Ring. Imagine my surprise when he brought it up on the eve of my happy birthday. That was the real and proper proposal for me; in a brown carpeted rented house in Ranelagh over a pizza dinner. I made sure I paid full and proper attention to his musings after that and if he had his way, Mister Husband would have been waiting for me at the top of an aisle somewhere 6 months later. In the end, we tied the knot exactly five years to the day after we first started officially going out. I like to think I was not a Bridezilla. We organised the entire wedding over two weekends and then told everyone to keep the 19th of July free in their diaries. Not one for fuss, I had mine and my two bridesmaids’ dresses made. The most expensive part of our wedding was our honeymoon in Italy which was lovely but frankly, I was glad to be home and back to normal. Returning briefly to the “no kids” part of the arrangement. Mister Husband was well aware of my no kids, go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200 pounds, mind-set despite him always seeing them in his future alongside the woman he would marry after 6 months. He’s like that, Mister Husband. I’m the thorns on his rose. He accepted me for all of my thorns and I still suspect there was a bit of clever subliminal pester power at play because our first son came along about four years later. He still claims it took him bringing me (bringing me? Get out of your cave will ya! I was working Outside The Home back then!) to earn him a child. Luckily for him, Conor made me broody and much to his delight, I put up little or no resistance when Talks about going for Number Two started. And Three and Four. Let the games begin and may the odds be ever in your favour. I will admit to seething with silent resentment on a number of occasions at my perception of the unfairness of it all. My life seemed to have changed on a grand mall scale and Mister Husbands continued as usual. Which wasn’t and isn’t the case at all. Both our lives changed very much. And very much for the better, all giving out and sob stories aside. Even on the worst day I wouldn’t be without any of them and I like to think I know Mister Husband well enough to know that he would be of the same opinion. I’m sure there is a nice twee expression out there about how it’s not the miles under your belt that matter but what matters is what you do along the way. I take those who claim they never fight with a pinch of salt but Mister Husband and I have never had a “blow out.” Yes, we disagree, of course we do and we do it a lot. He made the grave mistake once, of calling me Mammy and I almost Cut The Legs Off Him. It’s a slippery slope, that one. Before you know it, you’ll be in your dotage, kids will have flown the coop and it’ll be just the two of you rattling round the house calling each other Mammy and Daddy. I’ve seen it happen and it’s not for me. When he does that, knowing how much I dislike it, I wonder if we’re on the same page at all but the good thing about pages is you turn them and keep turning them until you are on the same page. We might celebrate our anniversary with a meal or we might not. Either way we’re not too bothered. I couldn’t even tell you what flower, metal or jewel represent a ten year wedding anniversary. If we can get out, sans kids, for a nice meal and maybe even a bottle of wine, that will do me just fine thank you very much. Happy anniversary, Mister Husband. You’re alright, you are!