When I reflect and explore my relationship with my husband, I find a common theme: Love, Curiosity & Solitude.
Up to the present time, I like to randomly ask people, “what is their definition of love”? Most offer up some hokey Hallmark-type answer to pacify my inquiry. Even though I do recognize there is no one universal answer to what love is. I am always looking to delve deeper into relationships and, ultimately, the space between trust and love. Why? Well, within me has always been the need to question everything, an insatiable curiosity to understand my own emotional inner and outer landscape, not to mention human behavior; my own included – intrigues me. My easy-going husband gets the brunt and burden of it but placates & partakes.
It was evident that I was the girl who likes adventure and will always take the road less traveled. My hubs proved he was up for that. I went into our marriage curious rather than feeling bound. In fact, my honorable husband and I are celebrating twenty-three years of wedded bliss. With over a century together, I have noticed we steadily grow together rather than apart. Maybe not at the same speed or style, but in those moments of “holy hell,” we are not on the same page; we take time to listen deeply and ultimately jump back on the same page together. Bless him, well, and me, too, for not only going the distance and building a life together but understanding that relationships are complicated and not always easy.
There is an investment of time, the process of learning together, and the continual commitment that we will endure through tough times and, of course, the good. We both learned to love; together and on our own. The balance of intimacy and independence can be daunting and demanding. I have learned that love is listening and apologizing; when one of our remarks are unfounded. Love is trusting each other’s truths, even if we see it through a different lens. We have done our best to see each other as whole and separate beings and hold each other up when weaknesses seep into the conversations. We have learned the impact of being honest to our core even when it might hurt. Love is accepting each other for who we are, but most importantly, love is genuinely a non-attachment to our old ways.
Love is being deeply seen and listened to while having the ability to surrender to love as an escape from our loneliness. To care for one another, we had to understand our whole being, with all the strength we have gathered and garnered over the years of being alone with our misdirected thoughts and feelings. This counter courage we each had to display at varying times allowed our relationship to surpass our sovereign solitude, not to turn codependent or have a form of mutual helplessness towards each other. For this, I am incredibly grateful. This includes his random silly faces and one-liners when I am not in the mood to receive them.
The essence of love is thinking about what makes life worth living. Both my hubs and I have, over the years have compared and contrasted our childhoods. Our capacity to connect and reveal what inheritance of trauma we each bring to the relationship was vital for the evolution of our relationship. Tender and timeless as these ponderings are, I feel they continue to be prudent and worthy of discussion on the eve of our anniversary.
What we each carried into our instant connection to each other on that balmy eve in Florida was solitude. There has been significance and salvation in internal isolation for both of us. I can attest to the emotional detachment from people all my life, both needed and natural. To date, I spend hours in my babe cave reading and writing, traveling alone to foreign lands, or sipping wine fireside with candles lit while the house is uninhabited. For some, solitude is not easy to bear. It can come, and all you want to do is exchange it for togetherness. But loneliness is what my husband and I learned growing up. As hurtful as it felt, it was healthy to be alone in our blanket forts.
The feeling of tremendous inner solitude is about going within and learning to speak your truth first to yourself, then others. Since I experienced this growing up, having a partner who appreciates that I needed this sort of separation made the relationship much more whole. We both watched all the adults in our lives living their lives without us. At the time, I could not understand what was happening. Now I recognize how and why I learned to escape from my emotions, which was an escape also from myself.
As children, both my hubs and I could see out of the depths of our inner worlds. Little did we know, this vastness of our solitude ultimately became our saving grace, and we would find a counterpart in love. Together we have grasped how the busyness of life can be heartbreaking and desolate despite the thrill of the commotion churning around you. We watch those near us miss moments of being alone with themselves and disconnect from life – to lose those they love eventually. We have learned the importance of harmonizing curiosity with the interplay between our solitude and togetherness in love, as they both enrich each other and magnify the totality of each of our spirits.
Love is not about merging; instead, it is about differentiating. To become ourselves in a world that responds to another. Our two solitudes continue to protect and be each other’s most prominent advocates. Love is being with someone and their human vulnerabilities while having the courage to change but remain yourself in social surroundings or solitude.
In gratitude for having you hubs as my life partner… “Happy Anniversary” – twenty-three and counting.