For several months now, we have been bringing you stories of local love. Some have been newlyweds, and some have been married for decades. Some are experiencing the romance…the joy of new love, and some have told literal “war stories” about how love can always prevail in the midst of terrible things. This is my story. I often think of it as fodder for a novel…but it is really a simple tale of two people who made promises to each other years ago, and remind each other of them every day. It’s a story of love that grew into family, and that has stood the test of time…both good and bad.
They say love is blind. Well, it was for me. My husband and I met several years ago on a blind date. It was two weeks before my law school graduation, and really…love was the last thing on my mind. But, I had friends who kept pecking at me. “You have to meet Paul, you have to meet Paul – you will love him!”. So, Paul called me on a Friday afternoon, and offered to pick me up to have dinner. My roommates were both skeptical. “How can you go off with someone you don’t even know?” one of them asked. But, off I went indeed. As promised, he arrived on time to pick me up. He was nothing like I was used to dating. We were polar opposites in “type”, and in culture as well. I believe we both started the night thinking it would be our first and last date. Well, by 3am the next morning…after dinner, then drinks, then coffee…we were off on a whirlwind. Within 8 months, we were engaged, and a year and a half later, we were married.
I remember always being told by friends and family that you know when you have found the “one”. That one person that you know you will spend the remainder of your life with. That one mate, the one on whom you can count when things go wrong, or the one you can laugh with about things only the two of you know. I found that in my husband immediately. Things were so easy, there were no games…none of that waiting by the phone, wondering if he would call, or when I would see him again. From our first date onward, there was a familiarity and an easiness. We were inseparable. But, I was always expecting love to be flowers and romance. I was the romantic, and Paul was not. For quite some time, it bothered me. But as things moved along, I began to realize what was more important. Things like loyalty, reliability and consistency became paramount to romance, flowers and cards.
We moved along fluidly…albeit with small bumps along the way. My husband and I are from different cultures. I am American, and he is Eastern European. He comes from a culture where the oldest son does not leave the family. And so, I slipped into his home in New Rochelle, and into his life and culture. I became well versed in the ways and traditions of his family. I won’t say that the transition was seamless. It was hard enough living with my own parents growing up, but now I was living with someone else’s!! Yes, there were cultural clashes, but over the years, everyone has softened, and we have found a rhythm.
Moving through life, we have brought two beautiful children into the world. A girl, who is now 13, and a boy, now 6. The love one feels for a spouse grows and changes as that spouse becomes the partnered parent. After the birth of my first child, I discovered new and amazing reasons to love my husband. And, I am sure he found that with me as well. I see him in the faces of my children, and in their personalities and mannerisms. I know he sees the same.
There have been many trying moments in our relationship over the years. Sickness, financial losses, failed businesses, family interference (just a bit!), and of course the trials and tribulations of raising kids while dealing with parents who are getting older. Deaths of loved ones, and friends, and several tears along with the laughter.
Have we ever had a “fight”? Of course! We disagree about things all the time. After all, we are individuals, with our own feelings and opinions on all sorts of issues, both within and without the relationship! We are married, but we are still the same people we were before our time together. They say marriage changes people, but I don’t think that is true. I just think we grow…in our love for another person, and in our capacity for things like patience, and forgiveness – two things which are so very important to any relationship.
Sometimes people ask me how it is that I have stayed with one person for so long. How a marriage is maintained when things are not perfect. My answer is simple. My husband and I made vows on the day we were married. We vowed to love each other in sickness and in health. For richer or for poorer, and in good times and in bad. I reflect on those promises often. I reflect on those promises when times are tough, or when we disagree. I believe in my heart that he takes his vows just as seriously as I do. We tend to forget them when things are going well, but the couple that can remember them when things are going badly is the couple that will survive. I know we will continue to stand the test of time. We are a unit, and he is just as much a part of me as I am of him. In reality, you cannot get much more romantic than that, can you?
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