Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. Look at me in that pic from the day. Look at that white smile! Oh Pam Ayres, you were right, I wish I’d looked after me teeth…

Our wedding day didn’t start so well. I felt a bit…un-weddingy. So when the soon-to-be husb popped in just before the ceremony I decided it would be the ideal time to say this:

Me: Babe look, I know we’re gonna say some stuff today about forever and that, but nobody really knows, do they?

Him: Eh?

Me: Well I know we’ve got to promise it’s forever but it’s only words really isn’t it?

Him: Words we spent ages thinking about and agreeing on…

Me: I know, I know, but I just mean, who knows how we’ll feel a few years down the road?

Him: Are you drunk already?

Me: Yep. But look, I’m just saying that TODAY I feel like I want to always be with you, absolutely I do, but you never know so we shouldn’t feel any pressure, ok babe? Ok?

Him: You are fucking mental. Have a fag and another drink and calm down.

Which has been his answer to all my worries ever since…

We’d already had our first child by the time we married. I know people wonder how you can make the decision to have a child before the decision about being together, but loving a child is easy – they are all teeny and innocent and (until they’re actually born) you believe you can mould them into the outstanding being of your imaginings. But a fella? He brings all his opinions and libido and interior design ideas and correct ways to chop onions. That day I knew I loved him, but I wasn’t absolutely sure for how long…

So what have I learned over fifteen years of being shackled to the same arguing-partner?

1. That the way each of you loads a dishwasher/washes-up is a symbol for how massively incompatible you are and this fact will become the most significant and deeply irritating feature of your relationship and indeed your daily lives along with his inability to ask the question ‘what’s wrong babe?’ without making you want to rub his perfectly chopped onion in his eyes and also that your belief that you would be ‘in it together’ when raising your kids will die the first time your newborn cries in the night and he swears he never heard a thing but when his car alarm goes off he snaps up like his Mum’s just called him for dinner and while we’re on his Mum you will learn from her that her kids NEVER had tantrums or made ANY noise EVER and ate EVERYTHING that was put in front of them and that’s why your husb is the self-aware and emotionally literate person you haven’t spent fifteen years unpicking and coaching into being an actual functional human…

2. You need to be permanently a little bit pissed to stay married…

Also, if you’re lucky (and I deeply believe it is mostly luck) you might find a person who makes you feel like the brightest light in their room, who is your most honest critic and also your biggest cheerleader, who may become the grumpiest twat in the village but wants you to always be happy, who you know would still see you if something like dementia seemed to take you away, who would never forget you and always love you, until their dying day.

Love isn’t all you need. Love is the easy bit. You also need that luck. And probably therapy at some point. And fags. And wine. And the extraordinary capacity to not kill him with one of the sharp knives he INSISTS on putting in the dishwasher sticking UP for chrissake so that when you go to empty it you nearly severe a goddam major artery before spending at least an hour re-washing everything on the top shelf because he over-loaded it AGAIN and PLEASE could you just NOT add to that pile of papers there with MORE papers and can you STOP putting the choc in the fridge and the jam in the cupboard and no sex is NOT on the cards tonight but bloody hell, I do still love you husb, onions an’ all…