dishwasher | fight

We still fight about the dishwasher, but we’ve found the secret to making true love last

First love dazzles, but long-term love is a wonderpunch that keeps you glowing.

By Tamsin Oxford

Sticking with someone past the first buzz, the 3am baby shrieks, several bouts of gastro, cancer, job loss, flu, school bullies, cancer again, exhaustion, economic chaos, moving country, and a global pandemic (among many other things) is a journey to the other side of love.

It’s not the stardust sprinkles of the first few years or the still faintly-glossy sheen of the next few years, it’s the wonderpunch.

The realisation that you’ve seen each other in all sorts of nasty, dark and disgusting places but still want to spend time together, all these years later.

But it’s not easy. Nope. It’s fair to say there’s been shouting, accusations, and some serious commitment to button development.

The kind of button that you push when you’re furious and that sends your other half mad. When you’re so cross you use “that voice” and you stomp off in a huff, knowing full well that you’re completely out of line.

And moments where you seriously wonder why you hated being single and what it would be like to, say, live in your own house where nobody tells you how to load the dishwasher. Or, who unpacks it after you’ve loaded it because you did it wrong.

Why is that a thing? Why did he put his socks there? And why is he annoyed that I left my mask on the seat?

These are the types of questions every couple asks after years of living together, when habits become nitpicks and niggles become fights.

Things you never even thought of years and years ago suddenly become enormous atrocities that fill you with rage. It’s a minefield, I tell you.


Love is amazing. It’s this resilient and sticky thing, like the bubble-gum you could buy in the 80s that tasted great for five minutes and wedged your jaw shut for the next 30. It sticks to you.

It stretches with you as you grow and as your partner grows, and it twists with your fates, never quite coming unstuck.

Over the last 16 years, my husband has been a rock. When cancer hit, he was right here, by my side, telling me stupid stories about his day while I lay in bed shivering from the drugs.

He’s been here through miscarriages and mayhem. Through a baby in ICU to moving country to fertility treatments and beyond. And he’s here for the little bits too. Yesterday I got lunch in my shed. I didn’t need to ask, it just arrived.

This is the love where I know that when I get home, I’ll get a “Hiiii” from his office. The love where I know that if I am too sore or ill from the legacy effects of the chemo, dinner will be made and the child will be fetched.

The love where I will buy his favourite beer from a tiny place in the middle of nowhere just because I happen to be going by. Where he gets cappuccinos delivered to him in the middle of a tough day.

Where family movies are complete disasters because I want to watch bombs and guns, he wants to watch insight and intelligence, and the teen wants to lock herself in her room. And we’re all perfectly happy.

It’s that wonderpunch in your stomach when you realise that your marriage is a teenager and that it’s still changing and growing and learning. That you’ve got this, together.

  • This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes. The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BrightRock.

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