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What is a marriage?

What is a marriage?

Eleven years ago today I woke up alone.

I seem to remember I skipped breakfast with my family who were sitting around our dining table, chattering away as only families can. My bridesmaid, Caroline, stole my Dad’s toast as we ran out of the door. She made me eat it in the car on the short drive to beautiful Leez Priory.

For the next few hours I was coiffured and polished, primped and preened. There was laughter and happiness, I felt bathed in the light of love.

I stood at a leaded window, watching the guest arrive and walk across the lawn to the tower, their heels digging into the soft ground. I caught a glimpse of my fiance and ducked as he turned around. I felt silly. I giggled.

Then it was time. My Dad came to kiss me, to tell me I looked beautiful, to shed a tear.

The stairs to the top of the tower were steep, treacherous in my gown.

The music, the smiles, the swish of my train on centuries old stone.

And then we were reunited and joined forever, my fabulous husband and I.


Our wedding day

What is a marriage?


It’s loving & cherishing,loyally relishing.

It’s hosting & toasting & Sunday roasting

It’s enduring, alluring & most reassuring

It’s guessing, confessing & nightly undressing.

It’s often surprising, involves compromising

It’s mending, depending, & can be heart-rending

It’s trying, relying, a little white lying

It’s snoring, adoring, occasionally boring.

It’s knowing & showing, & mutually growing

It’s packing & moving, anxiety soothing

It’s having & holding, the odd little scolding

It’s nursing, & cursing when driving (reversing.)

It’s compliment giving & always forgiving

It’s planning & booking & help with unhooking

It’s sharing & caring & dressing gown wearing

It’s walking, it’s talking & bottle uncorking.

It’s tender supporting & raucous cavorting

It’s secret confiding & shoulder providing

It’s readily praising & often amazing

It’s liking, respecting & calmly accepting.

It’s cleaning, it’s mopping, it’s waltzing & bopping

It’s needing, conceding & possibly breeding

It’s chatting, conspiring & thoughts of retiring

It’s playing & paying, it’s coping & staying.

It’s comfort when weeping, a warm body sleeping

It’s lives interweaving and always believing…

That’s what makes a marriage.


Copyright Joanna Miller, who wrote this wonderful poem. Joanna set up her business – Bespoke Verse in 2009. In an interview in 2012 for Jen Stanbrook at Love Chic Living (republished here with Jen’s kind permission) she says:

When I couldn’t find an original poem for my own wedding, I decided to write one. I composed a rhyming speech in the voice of my husband charting our relationship. It brought the house down and led to request from friends for poems, and then their friends. However, it was after the fantastic reaction to the speech I made at my 40th birthday (and possibly due to a 40th birthday crisis!), that I set up my website

Joanna’s framed poems are available from at John Lewis and and you can follow her on and .

Linking up with Share With Me over at Let’s Talk Mommy and All About You at Mama and More.

Have you seen these?


  1. Can’t believe I missed this, so touching, happy belated Anniversary-you my friend made an utterly STUNNING bride, what a gorgeous couple x

    • Wow thank you for such a kind comment! I actually don’t like that shot of us but we don’t have any digital files of our wedding shots so had to photograph the photograph! x

  2. Happy anniversary. Beautiful photo and beautiful poem. Loved your description of preparing for your wedding too – brought back happy memories from my wedding day. Hope you had a lovely anniversary x

    • Thank you so much – it really is a wonderful poem isn’t it x

  3. What a beautiful poem and I can see why she was so popular and set up her website. So beautifully written and the words so true. Happy happy Anniversary! I hope you got spoiled like you deserve and there are many many more years of happiness together ahead. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round! #sharewithme

    • Thank you lovely – will definitely link up tomorrow with my new post all about how the husband and I lost 60lb with our mobile phones and some healthy competition!

  4. Absolutely beautiful – love this post, and especially loved reading it as our 7 year anniversary approaches next weekend! Thanks so much for linking this to All About You – and your wedding picture, WOW! Gorgeous xxx Happy belated anniversary xx

    • Awww you’re too kind lovely lady! And congrats for next weekend x x

  5. Lovely poem, my favourite line is ‘liking, respecting and calmly accepting’ very happy anniversary. Stunning wedding pic :-) #sharewithme

    • I love that line too – sums up marriage perfectly! Thank you for your kind words too x

  6. Happy anniversary! That’s a lovely poem, sums marriage (or long-term relationships) up wonderfully x #sharewithme

  7. Congratulations on your journey together! It was great reading #AllAboutYou x

  8. Ahh lovely lovely post. Happy anniversary to you both xx

  9. Happy belated anniversary. And what a lovely poem! #sharewithme

  10. Happy Anniversary, hope you had a lovely time celebrating! xx

  11. Lovely poem! And hello? 23 days after Hubs and I tied the knot – what is it about you and me?!? Congratulations lovely xx

    • Wow that is weird – separated at birth or what?! It’s a fab poem isn’t it – and congratulations to you two as well x x

  12. Aww that’s lovely. Happy Anniversary x

    • Thanks Susan – such a terrible photo of us though – we don’t have any digital ones from the day :(

  13. Happy Anniversary to you both!! x

      • What a beautiful poem! And your dad was right- beautiful! x x x


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