Love Everlasting

Love Everlasting

From Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul

Love Everlasting

Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.

Amy Bloom

I have a friend who is falling in love.

She claims the sky is bluer, she’s lost fifteen pounds and she looks like a cover girl. “I’m young again!” she shouts exuberantly.

As my friend raves on about her new love, I take a good look at my old one. My husband of almost twenty years, Scott, has gained fifteen pounds. His hairline is receding and his body shows the signs of working long hours and eating too many candy bars. Yet he can still give me a certain look across a restaurant table that makes me want to ask for the check and hurry home.

And then my friend asks, “What will make our love last?”

I run through all the obvious reasons: commitment, shared interests, unselfishness, physical attraction and communication. Yet there’s more.

There is spontaneity. After slipping the rubber band off the rolled newspaper, Scott shot it playfully at me and started an all-out war. At the grocery store, we split the list and raced to see who could make it to the checkout first.

There are surprises. I came home to find a note on the front door—leading me to another note, then another, until I reached the walk-in closet where I found Scott holding a “pot of gold” (my cooking kettle) filled with the “treasure” of a gift package. In return, I’ve left notes on the mirror and presents under his pillow.

There is understanding. I understand why he must play basketball with the guys. He understands why, once a year, I must get away from the house, the kids—even him—to “play” with my sisters.

There is sharing. Household worries, parental burdens, even ideas—we share them all. Scott came home from a convention and presented me with a thick historical novel. Although he prefers thrillers and sci-fi, he read it on the plane because he wanted to be able to exchange ideas after I’d read it.

There is forgiveness. When I’m embarrassingly loud and crazy at parties, Scott forgives me. When he confesses losing some of our savings in the stock market, I give him a hug and say, “It’s okay. It’s only money.”

There is sensitivity. Scott walked through the door with an it’s-been-a-tough-day look. He wept as he described a stroke victim and her husband caressing her hand. How was he going to tell this man his wife would probably not recover? I shed a few tears myself . . . because my husband is still moved after years of hospital rooms and dying patients.

There is faith. One week I listened to the heartache of friends coping with cancer, divorce, aging parents and death. But I also noticed the boisterous blossoms of gladioli outside my window, the laughter of my son and the cheerful sight of a wedding party emerging from a neighbor’s house. I described it all; Scott listened. And we helped each other acknowledge the cycles of life and joys that 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 he’ll eat the last chocolate in the box. Scott knows I sleep with a pillow over my head, I’ll lock us out of the house regularly and I’ll eat the last chocolate if I find it first. I guess our love endures because it is comfortable.

So, no, my friend. With a lasting love, the sky is not bluer: It’s just a familiar hue. And the two of us don’t feel particularly young: we’ve experienced too much that has contributed to our growth and wisdom. It’s taken a toll on our bodies, yet created our memories.

But, to my way of thinking, that’s what makes love last.

Annette Paxman Bowen

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