I recently celebrated the big 40! Oh, I know what you are thinking, there is no way she is a day over 38! Or, who does she think she’s kidding... she hasn’t seen 40 for a few years now!
Well, the big 40 I'm referring to is not my most recent birthday – it is my 40th Wedding Anniversary! Ah, but wait you say, I look way too young to be celebrating a 40th anniversary, right? Let’s just say I got started a bit early and leave it at that for now.
I spent a great deal of time contemplating the past 40 years, and there were moments when it felt as though I was reviewing someone else’s life journey! Specifically, those less than ‘shiny’ moments we all experience.
And then, in the next breath, I would find myself marveling at all we have experienced together; all those scary, life altering, joy-filled, ecstatic times... the stuff that is the roller coaster of life.
Together, and sometimes separately, we have muddled through challenging financial chapters where bankruptcy loomed on the horizon and then was replaced by abundance. The emotionally charged chapters of miscarriages, the near loss of a child, a spouse; slow and sudden transitions of parents, siblings, dear friends; episodes of pure joy where words fail; the birth of two amazing children; weddings and grandchildren! Waking up and wondering, is this it? Is this really my heart’s desire? My life ROCKS! Am I really living the life of my dreams? How can it be any better than this? Who am I, and who is this person I am living with?
And then, I am hit with the realization that our 40 plus years together (yes, we did live in ‘sin’ for a couple years before marriage) is an anomaly, unusual in this day of quick separation, divorce, and untying the knot…
How is it that in 2015 we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary?????
It hasn’t always been a bed of roses nor has it all been thorns. There were several times when we considered going our separate ways and as I reflected on those moments, I realized we were both reacting while in highly charged emotional states and the fact that we did not follow through, rather we allowed time to cool and respond rather than react, along with a certain degree of stubbornness on both our parts, is one reason to CELEBRATE! We did not ‘give up’ at the first sign of discomfort. Did we know we had something worth working for? Perhaps that was part of it, and perhaps part of it was that we really weren’t sure what else to do in those moments. All options posed questions without clear answers.
Whatever the reasons, here we are, still figuring out this thing called ‘love’.
There are a few things I have come to know that when put into practice will go a long way in sustaining an intimate relationship:
1. There is no one person out there to ‘complete’ you.
This is a heavy responsibility to place on anyone’s shoulders and a totally unrealistic expectation. We are multi-faceted beings and wired to connect with others who make different aspects of us sing and dance. Find your tribe, your FRAMILY, cherish them!
2. We each have our own unique journey to travel.
Supporting a partner on their journey is a deep act of love and is a precious gift to both. To quote my friend and teacher, Mike Dooley: "One of the greatest gifts you could give someone is the freedom to learn their own lessons, at their own pace."
3. There are always three aspects to an intimate relationship: mine, yours, and ours!
Thank the goddess I did not hitch my wagon to someone just like ME. Sometimes opposites do attract and compliment/support/expand each other.
4. Celebrate the contrast.
Without contrast we cannot fully experience our lives with every sense. Not that knowing this makes those darker moments easier to muddle through, but in this celebration we know that the dark must give way to the light, and much sooner than we anticipate.
5. Size DOES matter, in all things of the heart.
Open your heart, expand your heart, know that we are all doing the best we can with what we have at this moment in time, and all the little nuisances become small and insignificant. Move into a state of GRATITUDE; this is a powerful state to be in.
We are, each and every one one of us, works in progress. We begin as blank canvasses waiting for someone, YOU, to pick up the brush, dab it into the colorful palette that awaits, and create something beautiful - a masterpiece that is uniquely YOU!
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