Friday, June 20, 2014

Love of a Lifetime


                 (Picture by paulasserindipity.blogspot)

Love That Lasts a Lifetime

What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you see a picture like the one above? Study it a minute. Do you wonder what they are talking about? What they are thinking looking out at the endless water?  If you’re like me the thought that follows is something like… “I always wanted a love like inseparable, unbreakable, Notebook kind of love”. How many of those loves do you personally know? Did you say not many?  I venture to say you know more than you think!

When I was a teenager, I think I dated three people before Kerry and got married a month after I turned eighteen. Not because I was pregnant or for any other reason, other than I couldn’t think of anything greater than being married to Kerry and waking up with him every day. I came from a time of when you were going to sleep with somebody, you better be married.  From the time I met him, how I felt about him was different from anyone else. He was and is the love of my life.

 I’d be lying if I said I knew how tough it was going to be! Not long after I got married and my friends were still going out, I was a little sad that I was staying home. When I found out what a temper Kerry had, I wondered how can he say he loves me so much,  but yet get this mad at me once a month or so? I’m sure I wasn’t all Kerry thought I was either. I think he had the idea the husband was the final say, the boss, the money holder and I was to be submissive. If you know me submissive is one word in the dictionary I missed! I am and have always been, determined to be what I believe I was born to be, and follow what I feel is God’s plan for my life.
                                    Picture from flickr

I gave my all to my husband and family. Kerry and I had our stereotypical gender roles and followed them. I being the woman, cooked all the meals, grocery shopped, washed all the clothes, minded the kids who were all my responsibility to bathe, discipline and tend to. He worked at one and two jobs at times to support us and did a good job of it. He had to be the handyman, the mechanic, and do the “man stuff”.

We were happy a lot of the time. We're either laughing, joking and having fun,  or screaming, fighting and not getting along. Fights seemed to come out of the blue. But after every fight came new promises of change and we both believed change was on the way. So we muddled on.

You have heard me say before that marriage is like thinking your going to Hawaii and winding up in Alaska…still pretty but just a whole different thing than your young mind thinks it was going to be. No map, no trail your just whacking your way through life with a machete! Not very pretty when you look back but you blazed a trail none the less.  

I know couples our age that have been married around forty years too that got to where they are with a whole lot less drama than Kerry and I. One couple has just kind of run parallel down the road side by side, all these years. She stayed in her lane and he stayed in his. They didn’t have all the trips to "Crazyville" we had, they just didn’t interact much at all. They went in their own cars and showed up at the same functions. They just didn’t communicate much. Their lanes are running a little closer together these days.

Another couple I know has survived years of infidelity. Just looking the other way at all that went with that. They too never had the crazy fighting we had. A polite topical on the outside, relationship that hid both peoples real feelings. In the end it was all put in the past and they had a lot of  joy from having stuck it out and the reward that came from from that decision. They were closer than ever at the end of their lives.

Another love I know was more fighting and struggling this time with alcoholism. She’d have to literally escape sometimes to get away from him when he was drinking, yet they are inseparable all these years later. He is her best friend and she his.

Other of our friends seem to have been each other’s half since they got together. But years of him not working and other issues nearly tore them apart at one point. They too are closer now that they are older. They have been left with no kids at home and who else but that person that’s walked the same walk as you, wants to talk about the kids like you do? Who else shares your worries, your pride and their kids now?

My own parents didn’t get to live their’s all out. My Dad passed away after thirty years of marriage,  and they had had their share of problems like everyone else. There had been infidelity and communication problems but when he lay in the hospital bed at the end of his life,  and he seemed to know his time was short. Believe me, he wanted to be with my Mom and would have been for eternity had he been granted that chance.


My point to this blog is that wouldn't it be great if we all stop feeling like we don’t have that love like the old people in the pictures? A PERFECT love. Maybe imperfect is perfect? I don’t know any that had no down times, do you? Kerry’s and mine is more like the couple directly above. She’s being bossy, and he’s wondering what the hell she’s talking about (even the bird seems a little leary of her). The relationship however is honest, real and both of us have the best of intentions to live peacefully, it just runs off the rails at times!  There really might not even be ANY perfect love stories, do you agree? I think it’s ok too,  if there isn’t.  It’s an incredible thing to have worked for the relationship, weathered the storms… the personal storms, that are unique to only that one love.  They’re still muddling through, whatever the struggles. Looking back at that path,  its not straight, it's not neat and surely the outcome was never well planned, but they made it. Now that is a testament to real love!

Some friends got into marriages that didn’t work, and one of them decided the struggles were to much, the price was to high.  They cut the cord and let the marriage go. That probably saved everyone a lot of turmoil, because every case is different, and every decision has pros and cons.  Today maybe they are lucky enough to be in love with the love of their lives. That’s their love story, that’s what worked for them. Everyone has a unique love story! The length of it is just that… the length of it.

I’m happy Kerry and I are still together. Still laughing and having fun one minute, only to fight about the radio five seconds later. Important stuff like that you know…after forty years!  We enjoy Easton and all that’s going on with our kids. Soon were going to be Grandparents again, and get a new daughter in law, who we love!  When I’m sick and I call Kerry…he’s concerned about me, he checks on me and just the sound of his voice gives me comfort. The kids gave us shirts for our anniversary that said, Married since 1973 on the back. On the front it says, “14,975 days but who’s counting”! We got so many people asking about our shirts as we were pushing Easton around in a stroller Hawaii.  

So next time we look at aged faces capturing perfect love, maybe if we were more realistic with ourselves, and took off our rose colored glasses we’d see struggle, lots of it, that led them to this place of facing the uncertain years huddled together with determination to get to the other side with dignity and trust you only have in that one special person! Let’s rejoice in our personal love stories, now matter how long they’ve been going on or how long they last. Give ourselves a pat on the back! Here’s to us! Here’s to love!  Cheers!