Did I ever tell you my ridiculous married name?

He had to have been worth it!

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Silly names? Yep, I have one thanks to my husband! Did I ever tell you my ridiculous married name?

Earlier I fessed up about my sisters’ secret pact which landed me my pretty perfect man. The pact my husband only found out about on our wedding day. But I haven’t told you that on the day I married him I happily took on his surname, despite how silly it made my new name.

It’s one of those nutty coincidences, like women who marry men with the same surname as theirs. Or the rhymes of which have a certain comedic effect, like Ulla Dulla. (I swear someone I knew had a friend with that married name)! But, taking on my silly name was worth it. My husband (the healthy available man, not the dysfunctional ex from my starter-marriage) is without doubt a keeper.

He’s the one who makes me laugh more than anyone. My childhood best friend once said soon after we met: ‘Well thank God you find each other funny, as no-one else does!’ One of our sons once told us how embarrassing it was that we acted so juvenile together. He’s an adult now. Recently he admitted that he secretly aspires to having a marriage like ours. To be ‘part of a team like you and Dad are’ he said. Awwww, isn’t that nice?

Mr Juvenile and I have had our ups and downs like anyone has. There was one point where I was even horrified by the thought I hated my husband, until I found the way back to loving him again. As I described in that post, there have beeen times when our relationship has gone a bit out of whack. Whose hasn’t? But we needed that learning curve and are thick as thieves at present.

A few weeks ago, I had to fly to Vietnam for one week, to train HTV Producers, Reporters and Programme Executives in documentary storytelling. My husband suggested a long weekend in Ho Chi Minh, before I started.

It was a lovely few days. I was once a Foreign Correspondent covering Asia for Seven Network Australia. I hadn’t been back to Ho Chi Minh (or as Saigon, as I still call it) in 22 years. To see how much it has changed was quite incredible. And to roam the streets and reminisce of its days gone by, with my best buddy, made it all the more special.

At sunset we sipped cocktails on the rooftop of the historic Rex Hotel. The same rooftop that my cameraman and I used to hang out at, once we’d filmed what we were covering that day. And where famous photojournalists drowned their PTSD in cocktails, during the Vietnam War.

We chatted away as the evening lights came on and families came out for their evening stroll. We continued talking over dinner at Ho Chi Minh’s popular bar street. Then over a nightcap on the rooftop of our historic Caravelle hotel.

It made me realise something. I see so many couples, who’ve likely been together as long as we have, sit in silence over a meal. You know the ones who look so bored, you wonder what’s holding them together? And I thought, ‘That’s not us’.

It’s not like we’ve never done that. It’s so easy to slip into that comfy-slippers-familiar zone, where you know so much about each there is nothing left to say. But I only had to sit through a few meals like this, before I vowed we would never become a couple like that.

So how do we keep the interest alive after so many decades together? How do we still have so much to talk about? Apart from remembering that love is a noun not a verb, as I described in that earlier post, there is one simple thing.

I was telling someone about it recently and they gave it a great name. (If that was you, please remind me). She called it: ‘bringing something back to the cave every day’. ‘That’s it’, I thought!

My husband and I make the effort to stay in touch. We don’t want to become like ‘old’ people who wonder what on earth a podcast is. So, we listen to the latest music and what’s charting on Radio 1 in the UK. We watch Ted Talks, keep abreast of what’s trending on Twitter and engage with friends on Facebook. My husband posts his fabulous photos on Instagram or to his photographic group for feedback. When he cycles he vets his fitness against others on Strava. I consume a vast array of fascinating podcasts. Then engage with the presenters of them on social media.

This has a wonderful double effect. Not only can we fit in with anyone younger (and it keeps us so). I can bring up the latest trending Meme or video doing the rounds of Twitter or Facebook at the drop of a hat. Or know who they are talking about when they mention the latest upcoming band. But we also have endless things to draw upon to chat about over dinner.

I am forever clocking something I read or hear from others. Something that is worthy of ‘bringing home to the cave’. I make a mental note: ‘must share this with the man later on’. He does the same. We never discussed this and made it our plan. We never decided to make it a compulsory part of our marriage. It’s just been organic. But the more we brought home to the cave, the more interesting our dinner or weekend away became. It’s simple and it does work. There is alway something new to talk about.

I love nothing more than spending time with my husband. Listening to the latest things he’s interested in or excited about. Hearing his thoughts on what’s captured my attention or I’m passionate about. We have much to talk about and it’s endlessly engaging.

So, my advice is a simple as this: bring something new and shiny back to the cave every day! (Thank you to my friend for coining it in such a lovely way). That’s it! But I digress. Back to the real point. Did I ever tell you my silly surname? My ridiculous married name?

Vivian Vivian. I kid you not. Or V-Squared, to some of our friends. Needless to say, he had to have been worth it. But, sorry darling, at least for work, I’m sticking to my maiden name!

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