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A special anniversary...

Today, Carol and I have been married for 23 years. In those years, life has taken us through a lot of ups and downs. In many ways we have emerged stronger than ever. As I thought about the last 23 years, I identified 3 stages.

These are not necessarily distinct stages. They can intermingle and do not have definite start and stop points. In fact, it's best if each stage never ends but simply blends into the next one.

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Love as an emotional connection . We fall in love with our soulmate. He/she is all we can think about. That other person makes us feel like we are walking on a cloud. We want to feel this way the rest of our lives. So, we get married expecting this feeling to last forever.

Love as commitment . We live with that person and the emotional connection begins to fade. Children come along. Financial strains emerge. In-laws show up. Now, life is hard and your partner is not all you thought he/she would be. Love becomes a commitment, a determination to keep your vows. Sometimes it is all you can do to Keep calm and carry on. You seek ways to love your spouse in the midst of and in spite of the busy-ness and stress of life.

Love as life partners . At some point you become Foxhole buddies. In a foxhole, shells are crashing all around and two people must depend on the other to have their back. When attacked they fight together. When it is quiet, they talk and bond. When the war is over, they are the closest of friends for life. You learn that this love that started out as an emotional connection that was all about me because it made me feel good is really about you and us.

You find that you have something much better and deeper than foxhole buddies. You have a love that has been kindled by emotion, tested by fire, bonded by friendship, cemented by shared sacrifice. You emerge with a loving, connected friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Carol and I wish for you a long and loving marriage. Hang in there when the going gets tough. It's even better on the other side.

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 04/26/2020