It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rain seems so far away when the dry cracked ground is starved for a little attention. Our faith is stretched as we wait for the healing relief to fall. But the rain will come. It can gather momentum quickly and surprise us with its sudden bursts of power.
When the rain arrives, we are comforted by its rhythm. We breathe in its sweet smell and find pleasure in the sensory replenishment. A soaking rain can feel like love pouring over us. The sensation is a reminder that love, like rain, comes for us all.
Rain fell on me 25 years ago when I married Mary Beth.
We celebrate our anniversary tomorrow. In some ways it will be just another Tuesday. We will wake early and prepare for work. There may be a quick telephone call or text message over lunch. Dinner plans will revolve around Andrew’s baseball game. After arriving home we will sort the mail, feed the dogs and remind Emily to take a bath.
It may seem like another Tuesday, but living underneath the ordinary is an extraordinary love that continues to fall every day. 25 years of Tuesdays just like this one has provided the nourishment to keep our love alive.
Our marriage has also seen the extremes. From sharing heartfelt passion to inching close to the brink of divorce, Mary Beth and I have endured the storms and we have danced in the rain. We continue to figure each other out as we search for the things that live inside of us as one man and one woman who make the choice to share a life together.
Watching it rain
We are still learning how to meet each other needs and what makes the other feel special. Some days the answers are clear. Other days the answers seem encrypted in a code that neither person can seem to decipher. But the question remains the same: Can there still be love left for someone who you have loved for 25 years?
No matter how we choose to answer on any given day, Mary Beth and I don’t give up and we don’t give in to the temptation to stop trying. We try to give back by being a witness to the power of love and its healing grace.
My wife and I provide a properly-sized window so our children can look in and see the beautiful things love teaches. We hope Brandon, Caitlin, Andrew and Emily take these lessons to heart:
- Knowing how someone wants to be loved and then providing that love are two separate things. To love consciously is a choice.
- Sincerity is the bridge to intimacy. It opens and closes based on how the honesty travels.
- Saying nothing can sometimes speak the loudest.
- Real love is sustained when we make the choice to feed it with our deliberate passion.
- Forgiveness is love’s beautiful child. It is conceived, nurtured and then delivered all from love.
- Kindness isn’t an act; it’s a constant connection that never tires.
- When we love we accept the responsibility to lift the other person up no matter how far they have fallen.
- Never do anything you wouldn’t want your partner to discover.
- Don’t wait until tomorrow to say, “I love you.” Say it today; say it right now.
Let it rain
The day I met Mary Beth I felt something come to life inside of me. The connection was powerful and took me by surprise. The summer of 1984 was a happy time. From the beginning, we seemed to know what the other needed. Sweet, simple and sensual feelings dripped over us. Love found us that summer and we were exhilarated by its powerful bursts.
By the next June we were married. Poor and needing to live with her parents, Mary Beth and I were determined to start building our new life regardless of the circumstances. The early weeks and months created the foundation that still exists today.
This foundation was built on trust. We shared stories complete with pain, shame and regret. We revealed our souls to each other and no one blinked. Because of what we know, there is a trust that is just as strong as our love. Today we continue to hold each other accountable while providing comfort and unconditional love when it is needed.
Eight years ago our marriage was about to end. My focus had become too much on me and on what I needed. My wife and children were somewhere in the background. It took the shock of seeing what I loved becoming so unhappy that startled me into changing.
But somehow Mary Beth’s heart was touched and she gave me a second chance. Through her grace and forgiveness, she saw the change too. Today it feels like it did during the summer of 1984 and my daily intent is to be man I promised to be.
After 25 years, love continues to pour over us. We are comforted by its familiar rhythm and we still find pleasure in love’s sweet smell. Our love has matured and we now understand there will be some days when we get distracted by the busyness of our lives and on other days we will fall into each other and enjoy the tender connection. On all these days the question remains the same: Can there still be love left for someone who you have loved for 25 years?
My answer is yes.
I say yes because I have received love when my dry cracked heart was starved for a little attention.
I say yes because I have experienced love on the ordinary Tuesdays and felt the amazing power in the extraordinary.
I say yes because I have felt love as graceful as rain.