i considered titling this post “Seven years a slave” for the clickbait effect, but didn’t for two reasons:
 That would be horribly offensive to slaves and slavery and the ongoing pseudo-slavery that still happens in many places around the world.
 That would be horribly offensive to marriage and married people. And especially tbV [the beautiful Val]. People who make jokes or digs or insinuations about marriage being like slavery or a prison sentence or anything like that [“but it’s just a joke”] are not my favourite people by a long way. Marriage is hard enough without needing any extra external attacks thank you very much.
Oh and also, that would just be completely 100% inaccurate as well, just by the by. As i said, marriage is incredibly hard [maybe not for everyone – some people seem to do marriage really easily, but then that’s only ever looking from the outside and it’s terribly impossible to tell what it’s like behind closed doors] but having just celebrated our seventh year anniversary, i can confidently say, it is very very good.
With the right person. i always add that as a disclaimer, because i imagine marriage to the wrong person must be one of the worst things in the world ever. i seriously can’t even begin to imagine that. We should be a lot stricter on who we allow to get married – it is a flippin serious business, yo. Adding “yo” to the ends of some of my sentences is one of the things i have picked up from my wife, yo. And i love it.
But as tbV [and just to clear things up a little on that one – tbV is what i call Val and she finds it a little weird when you do, so please leave that one to me? Thanks] and i got to spend a few magical slash really cold days in McGregor this week, we took some time to reflect on a very full and adventurous and movesome seven years together. And it was good.
NOPE, STILL NO KIDS [EVER!]
One of our biggest mutual hates is people asking us and then expecting us to have reasons for why we don’t have children “yet” [we’re not planning on any ever so that is a long lingering “yet” you have there] – we don’t particularly want children. That should be the end of the discussion but for some reason it strangely is not. Why don’t you like avocado? Why don’t you melt Top Deck and Smartie eggs and eat it with a teaspoon? [actually that one does make you a weirdo if you don’t]. Why do you prefer red to beige? We don’t have to explain ourselves on that one and you actually become the selfish one when you press us for an answer and won’t let it go.
The reason i mentioned that all in here is because i feel the same way about marriage. It is not the end point to life [before having children becomes the end point to life]. To married people i say: Be married well. To single people i say: Be single well. One is certainly not better than the other [well actually each one is better than the other in some ways but not enough to tip the see-saw its way].
There are people who have tried to have children and who have had children and lost them and people who physically are unable to have them and your insistent question becomes a twisting knife in their stomach as they try to fake their best smile and laugh your question off with some kind of misdirected joke hoping you’ll move on to another topic [you probably won’t!]
There are people who are single not by choice but by circumstance or despite choice and your insistent question to them becomes a rock smashing them repeatedly over the head until you finally tire and head off back to your cave to mate.
STOPPIT! Just stoppit.
There are also perfectly normal people who, for a variety of reasons which are pretty much none of your business unless they graciously choose to share them with you, have decided not to have children and that is great. Is the world that desperately in need of one more child as your prodding suggests?
There are also perfectly normal people who, blah blah blah reasons, have decided to be single either at the moment or for life and that too is great.
Stop making these things an issue because your socially inadequate silence-fearing needs something to say.
But back to marriage, yes it is beautiful but what we have discovered is that it is a team sport. We are so grateful for people [both single and married, both younger and older] who have invested in us and our marriage and helped to make it and grow it into a beautiful thing. We certainly don’t have a perfect marriage and there is much work to be done in both of us yet, but we do have a good one and there was a whole lot to celebrate and be proud of the last few days. But it really does take a village. And we are so grateful for all of you that are a part of ours, both online and off, both near and far, yearslong friends and new acquaintances and even those we are about to meet this week.
Because marriage is hard it needs its cheerleaders and we have had so many of those – spontaneous gifts for date nights and invites to meals and offers of help with moving and words of encouragement and prayers and whatsapp messages and bottles of wine and accommodation spots and shoulders to cry on. If you are married, make sure that you have these. In fact, if you’re single i imagine they come in quite handy as well.
So yay to a great seven years – we were trying to figure out if they were the seven fat cow years or the seven thin cow years cos there is strong evidence of both – we certainly have not made it the easiest on ourselves by moving from Stellenbosch to Cape Town to Philly to Oakland to Tokai to Kenilworth to Southfield to Bergvliet to Diep River in the first seven years of marriage and spending most of our married lives living with people – but we have adventured long and fast and hard and with Val currently heading up Common Change South Africa [check it out!] and being largely responsible for The Justice Conference: South Africa [definitely check that out!] and me just finishing up a book with Scripture Union and looking to host more Deep Dive Dinner Conversations on Race in the near future, continue to stir the white privilege waters and hopefully start up a more serious You Tube channel in the near future, the adventures aren’t going to be ending any time soon.
Oh and largely most of these pictures below hold something of the magic that is you. Here’s to another crazy seven years of fatness and leanness combined cos who wants boring, right?