Following the death of my first wife Diane in 2000, I knew that someday I would want to find love again. The following year, quite by accident, I met Laura. About 3 weeks from now, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.
We have a terrific marriage and a very strong bond of love and respect. And we haven’t had one fight, not even cross words. We thought that this might be abnormal; didn’t every couple fight? One of my best resources following Diane’s death was a psychologist at the cancer center in Fargo, named Ann Sandgren. I asked her about this and she reassured me that some couples communicate at such a deep level that situations never escalate to the fighting stage. Cool!
1: No changing your spouse: We were both 53 when we married and we figured that the chance of either of us changing drastically was about the same as having a July blizzard in Tucson. So we accepted each other as we were and as we would probably stay. We’ve only really had to compromise on the time at which we eat dinner. If you love each other, you’re probably just fine the way you are.
2: No snapping: I admit that there have been several times when I’ve been ready to snap at Laura for one reason or another but something always held me back. In thinking about that, I realized that she or what she was doing really had nothing to do with my temper flare; she just happened to be in the way. I’m sure she’s done the same with me. And every time I thought about it for a minute or two, I figured out what was causing my irritation. It wasn’t her. And since I’ve never liked apologizing, I guess it’s better if you don’t have anything that would make that necessary.
3: No give-and-take: The last habit is the best one. It’s realizing that a good marriage, a deep love isn’t about give and take; it’s just giving. It’s not a 50/50 proposition; it’s both of you giving 80/20 and the real magic is in the overlap.
That’s where we realize what a great blessing, what a great gift we’ve both been given. Out of pain and loss has come love, happiness, trust, and joy at just being together. Laura’s said several times how much she enjoys times like weekend mornings, sipping coffee in our living room chairs and hashing over something in the Sunday paper, talking about our plans for the day, or sharing something one of the kids has said to us on the phone or in an email.
Simple things. But I don’t think that love needs to be some complicated.