I noticed, last time we were out to dinner, that there were a lot of couples and families around us who were sitting at the same table, but not in the same space. The adults were never looking at each other. They weren’t talking to each other. And they looked, well, alone and lonely. I have been married for 46 years to the same man. We always have things to say to each other. Sometimes they aren’t always nice things, because we do argue about stuff like all couples. But we rarely sit at the same table and ignore each other – unless we are arguing, and that never lasts past the first course. What has happened between these couples who are older? Drifting apart? Different interests or hobbies? Bored with each other? Have they forgotten why they fell in love in the first place?
I know, we all look different from our youth. Gained wight? Gained wrinkles? Slower to get around? Tired easier? Of course. But so what? Under the age, and changes, you are still the same people who, once upon a time, met, fell in love, and knew you were meant to be together.
Oh, I know, modern marriages are a mishmash of divorce, remarriage, loss and remarriage, and folks who never want to marry but are so lonely they want someone in their lives in some permanent way. I get that. But, for those of us who have stayed married, who are so much a part of each other’s lives that we understand each other without words, we are in danger of becoming strangers living in the same house.
So, let me ask you a few questions:
Do you remember the first kiss and how overwhelming it was?
Do you remember the first time you knew this person was the love of your life?
Do you remember the fear of the commitment, but how much you wanted your love to be your love forever?
Do you remember how bereft you felt when you had to leave his or her arms?
Do you remember that magic moment when the love of your love looked at you and smiled, and your knees went weak with happiness?
Do your remember where you were when you had your first fight and you knew you blew the whole relationship?
Do you remember saying the words, “I love you” and knowing you meant it with every thing in your heart and soul?
Do you remember the first love letter? Not a note, text, or email, but a real letter. On paper. Do you still have it in a treasure box somewhere?
Do you still feel that goofy feeling of joy when you see each other after being apart for a time?
Does your heart ache with emptiness when you have to be separated for long?
Do you remember the one habit drives you crazy with frustration, but you still put up with it because it is a part of who they are?
Do you remember the first time you felt like you were home when you were held in his or her arms?
Do you remember when you stopped being embarrassed to be seen less than perfect, like when you were sick or in a bad mood?
Do you remember when you knew this was forever, not just until you drifted apart?
Do you remember when you decided that you would fight for this relationship come hell or high water, because this was the only one you would ever want so much?
Do you remember saying yes to, or asking for marriage? (I know, marriage is so yesterday, but that commitment is still vital no matter what you call it.)
Can you still look at the love of your life and know that he or she is still the love of your life?
Do you let life, kids, family, work, hobbies, and technology get between you? Why?
If you are feeling distant, or as if there is no spark left, then do something about it.
Write a love letter.
Make sure to tell him or her, that you love them daily. And not just an off hand “love you” as you leave for work in the morning. Take the love of your life in your arms, share a kiss – not a peck, and say the words like you mean them.
Spend time doing something you both enjoy.
Take a long weekend – and don’t tell any of your kids where you are going.
Turn off your phone.
Make time together special – whatever that may entail. It doesn’t have to always be romantic either, just special.
Take a moment to let other people know how wonderful your love is and why.
It isn’t wrong to be madly in love with your spouse or whatever you call each other, even after years together. Let them know. Just say it. Often. When least expected.
Support each other and encourage each other.
Take time just to be together, doing nothing in particular.
And remember, one day, it will be just the two of you again. You will have to speak to each other about things other than the mundane. Talking about how much you love each other is a great topic.
One day one of you will be gone, you don’t want to have regrets because you didn’t take the time to say what you felt, thought, and how much you loved.
Taking my own advice, “I love you, Harold B. Combs. Always have, always will.”