Okay, so that got your attention. Everyone wants to find a love that will last, right? Well the truth is there really is no secret, just the reality that you have to work at it.
Bob and I have been married for 26 years now. Not really such a big deal when you consider our ages. We both had other relationships, including marriages that did not turn out the way we would have wished. But apparently today 26 years is a long time for a relationship to last.
Like any marriage ours has had its ups and downs, good times and bad, joys and sorrows. It has definitely been a learning experience and at times an endurance test. The words of the marriage vows are easy to say if you have never experienced the worse, sickness and poorer side. When those things happen, and they will, you learn what those promises you made really mean.
There are a few things we do that I think contribute to the health of our relationship.
We say “I love you.” At least once every day.
We thank each other. Bob still thanks me for driving him into town and cooking dinner.
We are a team and we are at our best when we are working together.
We hold hands. Aww that’s so cute — I know. We get that all the time. We have always held hands, but now with Bob’s vision problems, it is an even greater reminder to us of our dedication to each other as I help him navigate the world — literally.
We enjoy each others company and we talk to each other — a lot. What do we talk about? Everything. Serious stuff, funny stuff, deep intellectual stuff, mundane daily life stuff, spiritual stuff, current events — you name it we talk about it.
When hard times come and they do we always end up saying “we’ll get through this” and we always do.
And finally our faith and conviction that we were brought together for a reason helps keep us together.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
What are some of the ways you work at building a love that will last?
My morning practice takes some time — anywhere from 1 1/2 to two hours. Even though we are retired Bob and I still work. We just don’t go somewhere else to work and we don’t collect regular paychecks. Like most people, one reason we work is that we need the money. Sometimes that need takes over and my morning practice starts being seen as a nuisance that just takes up too much time.
So I start experimenting with ways to shorten it. I take my yoga practice down to 1/2 hour. Then I decide I don’t need to practice every day (believe me, I do). The morning walk goes by the wayside as do other things like my art. I become a really strung out mess going around saying things like, “there’s just not enough time to get everything done” and “I didn’t move to the lake to work this hard, I’m always exhausted.” Preparing healthy meals becomes a dreaded chore rather than something done with love. It’s just not pretty. Can anyone else relate to this? I sure hope I’m not the only one. 🙂
So what causes all this? Well, first my priorities get out of order. Our lives have never been about making huge amounts of money. While we do need to work to generate extra retirement income, our situation is not as dire as it sometimes becomes in my thoughts. Misplaced priorities lead to ignoring the way my body works. I have always tired easily. When you’ve lived with something that many would consider a limitation for almost 60 years you figure out ways to work with it. Trying to do more than my body can do only results in exhaustion and eventually illness. I know this — but sometimes I forget. Eventually I come back to my true self and things settle down. But I do wish I could stop taking these frantic detours.
So, what’s my point in all this? We talk about “values” and what is important to us, but when people look at our lives, is that what they see? If we say family comes first, yet we never find the time to spend with them are we living what we say we value?
After my latest detour I find myself back to one hour of morning yoga, followed by reading the Daily Word, a brief Tai Chi practice and my morning walk. I will eventually be combing Tai Chi and the walk. This is a meditative walk, not exercise. Then I can get to work. Know what I’ve finally realized? Work goes better. I get more done when I am calm and relaxed rather than in a frenzy worrying that “we’re going to starve.” I am also able to stop resenting what I am doing and enjoy life.
I understand that not everyone can find two hours to devote to spiritual practice. But just as we make time to stop for morning coffee and check social media we need to make time to slow down, get centered and start living what we say we believe.