The Best Kind of Love

I have a friend who is falling in love. She honestly claims the sky is bluer. Mozart moves
her to tears. She has lost 15 pounds and looks like a cover girl. “I am young again!” she shouts
exuberantly.

As my friend raves on about her new love, I’ve taken a good look at my old one. My husband of
almost 20 years, Scott, has gained 15 pounds. Once a marathon runner, he now runs only down
hospital halls. His hairline is receding and his body shows signs of long working hours and too
many candy bars. Yet he can still give me a certain look across a restaurant table and I want
to ask for the check and head home.

When my friend asked me “What will make this love last?” I ran through all the obvious reasons: commitment, shared interests, unselfishness, physical attraction, and communication.

Yet there’s more. We still have fun. Spontaneous good times. Yesterday, after slipping the rubber band off the rolled newspaper, Scott flipped it playfully at me: this led to an all-out war. Last Saturday at the grocery, we split the list and raced each other to see who could make it to the
checkout first. Even washing dishes can be a
blast. We enjoy simply being together.

And there are surprises.

One time I came home to find a note on the front
door that led me to another note, then another,
until I reached the walk-in closet. I opened the
door to find Scott holding a “pot of gold” (my
cooking kettle) and the “treasure” of a gift
package. Sometimes I leave him notes on the
mirror and little presents under his pillow.

There is understanding.

I understand why he must play basketball with the
guys. And he understands why, once a year, I must
get away from the house, the kids – and even him –
to meet my sisters for a few days of nonstop
talking and laughing.

There is sharing.

Not only do we share household worries and
parental burdens – we also share ideas. Scott
came home from a convention last month and
presented me with a thick historical novel.
Though he prefers thrillers and science fiction,
he had read the novel on the plane. He touched my
heart when he explained it was because he wanted
to be able to exchange ideas about the book after
I’d read it.

There is forgiveness.

When I’m embarrassingly loud and crazy at
parties, Scott forgives me. When he confessed
losing some of our savings in the stock market, I
gave him a hug and said, “It’s okay. It’s only
money.”

There is sensitivity.

Last week he walked through the door with that
look that tells me it’s been a tough day. After
he spent some time with the kids, I asked him
what happened. He told me about a 60-year old
woman that had a stroke. He wept as he recalled
the woman’s husband standing beside her bed,
caressing her hand. How was he going to tell this
husband of 40 years that his wife would probably
never recover? I shed a few tears myself.
Because of the medical crisis. Because there were
still people who have been married 40 years.
Because my husband is still moved and concerned
after years of hospital rooms and dying patients.

There is faith.

Last Tuesday a friend came over and confessed her
fear that her husband is losing his courageous
battle with cancer. On Wednesday I went to lunch
with a friend who is struggling to reshape her
life after divorce. On Thursday a neighbor
called to talk about the frightening effects of
Alzheimer’s disease on her father-in-law’s
personality. On Friday a childhood friend called
long-distance to tell me her father had died. I
hung up the phone and thought, This is too much
heartache for one week.

Through my tears, as I went out to run some
errands, I noticed the boisterous orange blossoms
of the gladiolus outside my window. I heard the
delighted laughter of my son and his friend as
they played. I caught sight of a wedding party
emerging from a neighbor’s house. The bride,
dressed in satin and lace, tossed her bouquet to
her cheering friends. That night, I told my
husband about these events. We helped each other
acknowledge the cycles of life and that the joys
counter the sorrows. It was enough to keep us
going.

Finally, there is knowing.

I know Scott will throw his laundry just shy of
the hamper every night; he’ll be late to most
appointments and eat the last chocolate in the
box. He knows that I sleep with a pillow over my
head.

I guess our love lasts because it is comfortable.
No, the sky is not bluer: it’s just a familiar
hue. We don’t feel particularly young: we’ve
experienced too much that has contributed to our
growth and wisdom, taking its toll on our bodies,
and created our memories. I hope we’ve got what
it takes to make our love last. As a bride, I had
Scott’s wedding band engraved with Robert
Browning’s line “Grow old along with me!”

We’re following those instructions. “If anything
is real, the heart will make it plain.”

There are some people who meet that somebody
that they can never stop loving, no matter how
hard
they try. I wouldn’t expect you to understand
that,
or even believe it, but trust me, there are some
love
that don’t go away. And maybe that makes them
crazy, but we should all be blessed to end up
with that somebody who has a little of that
insanity. Somebody who never lets go. Somebody
who cherishes you forever.

Hope you find this kind of love in your life.

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