Does love last forever? What I mean is, is there one love to last a lifetime? When I was young and single and looking for Mr. Right (or at least, Mr. Better-Than-Nothing) I didn't think so. I thought that taking a vow "til death do you part" was optimistic at best, and better than "til I get sick of you or find someone better". But after almost 30 years with the same person I've discovered that sometimes you get lucky and love DOES last forever.

Over the years I've learned that love changes and develops, much like a growing child. It's different from yesterday's and will be different from tomorrow's. One day it's romance, the next tolerance. It exists in the midst of euphoria and grief. It's there even when you don't want it to be. Somehow love starts out as an idea, a reaction, and before you know it, it's as much a part of you as your eye color or fingerprint.

At this point in my life I've been half of the same partnership longer than I've been alone. Just when I think I've experienced almost every emotion love can encompass suddenly I'm surprised by a new one. I've come to appreciate the quiet moments where a glance can speak more than words. The subtle times where holding hands is an embrace.

We've developed a collective memory, know each other's strengths and weaknesses and more importantly, how to accommodate our faults. There have been times where the faults were glaring and almost unforgiveable. That's when the inner, fundamental love re-surfaced to save us from making the wrong moves.

Is it tenacity, or habit, or inertia that makes a relationship last for so many years? I don't think that either one of us knew how our lives would enfold when we took our vows in 1978. We were taking a chance on each other. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like without RW as my partner in life and in love. I know RW sometimes wonders, too. But I think we'd both do it all again. Just the same way.


DaisyJo said...

Beautiful and well-written sentiment, Mrs. RW.

Long-lasting love is quite a commodity these days, and you are a lucky woman. I wish I'd had the patience and fortitude to stick with it when I was young.

Mrs RW said...

daisyjo: I think that for some people, it's all about the ability to forgive and move on. Sticking with it isn't always the right choice, either. If you know who you are and can't envision spending a lifetime with someone, then it's better to leave.

Another aspect of being with someone for so many years is that you develop a shared history; when you split up you not only lose the "love" you also lose a big chunk of your life with all the people connections that went with it. It takes a lot to replace that. My family is who I am. I could never give that up.

Avitable said...

Well, RW is a sexy man beast just brimming over with hotness. I almost went gay and jumped him the second I met him.

Geeky Tai-Tai said...

Another very nice post Mrs. RW. I sure wish that I could make it to the Chmeet (in Dave2 language). My 50th birthday is the 26th -- we could've celebrated. One day... one day, I say, I will get to meet you and RW, Dave and Avi!

My Mom was married twice before she met and fell in love with my "Dad" (he adopted us and he is my Dad). My Dad was married once before and had 3 daughters of his own. We became an all-girl "Brady Bunch" (heh).

The WHH's parents had always been together, but his older and younger siblings, uh, NO! The oldest twice married, the middle son thrice, and his younger sister 4 times.

I think I already told you that the night before we married I had a meltdown and could not stop crying. I wasn't sobbing the entire time, but the tears just wouldn't stop. So embarrassing! I knew in my heart that I was marrying the right man, but I was terrified that I might screw up a good thing.

As you said in your post, the love grows and changes over the years. I'm thankful that we have grown together and have been able to forgive each other's faults. That's what it's all about. It is a very profound kind of love for me. I love our sons, but it's different. They have to grow up and move on. Does that make any sense?

You also made another very important point about knowing when one should move on. Both my Mom and Dad made the right decision to leave their former spouses (one of them being my sperm donor who occasionally intrudes on my life). I think that had my parents not been so brave, my life would be a nightmare today, and I would never have met my husband.

That is life, and I'm very grateful. Thanks, Mrs. RW. Uh, I'm crying again (I think it's lack-o-hormones this time). :-)

Mocka said...

Spending the whole life with the same person That's challenging!
I'm only 22 but i've always considered that true love exists only in books.Your story makes me dream.
Thanks for Sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful and wise post. My husband and I have been trekking through the hard part of marriage...where people start changing but not together or not even trying to look in the same direction.

We're working on it but this post from someone who has been married a long time, really helped. So thanks :).

Mocha said...

Oh, God, I knew what I was going to comment on and then I started reading comments (I know better, for crying out loud, I'm not new at this) so Hilly's statement stops me.

Because I'm on that trek, too. And I hate it.

Even though you wrote about loving the trek and the changes and the knowing of one another very well, this trek is not fun.

L Spryszak, RN said...

Yeah, the trek is sort of like finding yourself halfway up Kilimanjaro and thinking "wait a minute! I signed up for the 'walk on the beach tour'".

So it's either make it to the top and back down, or jump into the nearest crevasse. Neither option looks great so you plod along, a step at a time, finding new things to love - or more tolerance.

I think about what I would've missed had I made different choices on that Kilimanjaro trip: someone who already knows how hard I am to live with and wants to be here anyway.

kilax said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post :) Do you work for Hallmark? ;)