Making Love a Priority

Barry and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on December 21, 2003. In all truth I love him so much more than when I was a 22 year old bride. I love him now in the very depths of my being in a way that will only grow and become more meaningful as time passes. Strangers often assume that we are newly married by the way we kiss and hold each other. We can’t help it--we are still very enthusiastic about one another.

Some people have said that our love is just luck. Others have said that we must have had it very easy and that is why we still love each other so much. But the truth is that Barry and I have had plenty of difficult times in our marriage and it is these hard times that have made our relationship deep. We have gone through the darkest places with one another and found that we could still love one another even after seeing the shadow side. We survived a breakup after Barry had an affair three years into the marriage. We grieved the loss of our third baby just before birth. An earthquake totally destroyed our home and caused us to have to live in our small camper with a newborn baby and two small girls for close to one year. We endured the stubbornness of our opposing strong wills and ego stances, financial difficulties, broken bones, illnesses and other assorted hardships.

After Barry had the affair and we separated, we realized that we still loved one another and wanted to be together. We needed to change our relationship and begin again. Barry was in medical school at the time and I was working full time and in graduate school. Even though we were very busy, we knew that we needed to make our love the priority in our lives and that was the way that we could heal and build a new relationship. Nothing was to be more important than that. Some days Barry was on call all day and night and I was working and going to school. We would arrange a time to call one another. During that fifteen-minute call we would appreciate each other, tell one another all that we were grateful for and express our love. We both knew that we were in each other’s hearts. No matter how difficult life becomes, we remember to express our love to one another and hold our relationship in the highest priority.

Making our love and ongoing growth a priority has blessed our three children, our work, our health, our spiritual path and our happiness. This is not something that I could have done myself. It takes both partners to make a commitment that their relationship to one another is a priority in their lives. It is never too early or too late to make this kind of commitment. Recently we were sitting on a plane giggling and stealing an occasional kiss, when the flight attendant came over to us and said, “Excuse me, the crew and I are having a friendly bet over how long you two have been married. I feel it must be a little under one year, but are convinced you must have just gotten married.” We are quite used to this and love to watch the surprised faces when we announce 35 years. We will continue to make love the priority in our lives. Can you imagine in time the surprise when people find out that we have been married for 70 years?  
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