I’m not the woman my husband married 94



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When my husband and I married in 1975, I was 24. I was that type of girl who was all ‘yes, sir’ ‘yes, sir’ and you never heard a peep out of me. I met Barry at the local fishing spot where I would go with my uncle and cousins. He was a strong, handsome guy and I felt an immediate attraction to him. We dated for a couple of years and before I knew it, we were at the altar saying our vows.

Barry decided to write his own vows and this is what he said,

I, Barry, choose you Sandra,
To be no other than yourself,
Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know.
I will respect you as an individual, a partner, and an equal.
I promise to laugh with you when times are good, and comfort you when they are bad.
I will always adore, honour and encourage you.
I will love you always.

No, I don’t have world’s best memory, I only know he said all this because I have a copy of them in our wedding album (no doubt for argument’s sake down the line)! One line really stood out for me when I glanced over it the other day to show my second cousin a photo. I guess you could say it was the instigator for this piece. The line ‘I choose you to be no other than yourself, Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know’. Barry knew me as this amazingly innocent, angelic girl. I had a very calm nature and was always extremely patient. But what I also was, was a push over. Now I’m not saying that kind people are push overs, but they can be taken advantage of, and that happened to me for many years.

When I had my first child in 1978, something in the hormones must have reincarnated me. I became much more confident and was able to speak to strangers at the shops. I could make friends easily and I, for the first time, told someone to piss off (big step for me, they were trying to break into a neighbour’s car).

One day that I feel my new behaviour was validated was the day that I applied for a teaching position at a nearby school. The principal asked if I had children and I said yes, a 13-month-old. He pretty much showed me the door there and then but I wouldn’t have a bar of it. Rewind to even 2 years prior and I would have been like ‘righto, off I go’ and scurry away. I stood my ground and told him that I was a competent mother but also wanted my career. I gave him a fully planned-out idea of how it would work with a young baby and lo and behold, I worked at the same school for 22 years.

Things weren’t just starting to change in my work life, they were changing at home too. When I met Barry, I was a virgin and had no idea about men in the slightest. After the baby I had a rush of stamina and our sex life was never better…I still don’t think he knows what got into me! I also dyed my long hair hair blonde and chopped and changed it so much in the 80s that I’m surprised my scalp didn’t go bald in protest! I wasn’t trying to shed the old me, I honestly believe I was this confident, outspoken woman I am now, all my life.

I’m not like that woman Barry married, but I’m happy I’m not. We all change and adapt but I could never have stayed the way I was just to uphold my side of the bargain. He has truly trusted what he did not know about me, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?


Have you had a similar situation to Sandra’s? Have you changed since you were married? In good or ways? Tell us below.

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  1. We married in 1962 I was 17 he was 21 .We grew up together from then on ,52 yrs later we are growing old togeter and the love we had in 1962 has marured and grown with us . Lifes good .

  2. Yes but my life didn’t quite turn out like Sandra’s but I’m glad I’m not the same person I was when I married in 1966.
    Thanks Sandra ,a good read.

  3. As a counsellor, I meet people like this often. It’s a matter of having enough self-worth to believe that you have a right to stand up for yourself. I’m glad this lady realised that.

  4. Great article Sandra. I think we all change with every stage of our lives & now retirement. You became a woman to be proud of.

  5. I married in 1964 at the age of 18. Husband was 19. Been married for 50 years now and enjoying retirement. Like Sandra, I was a bit of a pushover and always put everyone else before myself. At age 30 due to a family incident I decided not to be quite a pushover; however, it’s hard to change one’s nature. I still help people (too much according to my husband), but I do stand my ground these days.

  6. Great read. Well done. I too married young and found my wings as I matured. Loving being a woman, wife, mother and Nan and after a wonderful career, retirement. Much more backbone now.

  7. Before I married I sound very much like Sandra, meek and shy, wouldn’t say boo to a mouse. Unfortunately my first husband couldn’t accept the changes in me and the self confidence I found after I had children, so eventually we divorced. Many years later I married again. Life with my second husband isn’t always smooth because we are both strong willed, but he accepts me for who I am and still tells me he admires my self confidence and wouldn’t want a meek yes girl.

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  8. So nice to hear a good marriage story. We all change all the time, life circumstances make that happen, most marriages don’t seem to be strong enough to flow with the change. I enjoyed reading your story thank you!

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