A Marriage Story: I Love to Watch You Loving.
Your smile comes alive when you tell stories of our life together. Sometimes you tell your stories to me, over morning coffee. Sometimes I hear you from another room, talking to a friend on the phone. Other times, your story comes without any words at all, told only by your eyes.
There has never been a time I’ve loved you more than right now, after 37 years together. Each boulder we’ve climbed together is precious to me. Just as you, dear husband, are precious to me. Your love is alive in my heart. I carry it with me, always.
I love to look back on the day we met our first granddaughter. She was only hours old when you took her in your arms. You whispered into her tiny ear all the hopes and dreams you held for her. As she grew and you took on the full mantle of “Papa,” you logged hours playing on the floor with her. You read to her. You took her small hand in yours as you walked her around the neighborhood, encouraging her to explore her world. Four other grandgirls and one grandson have blessed our lives, and you fell just as in love with each one of them as you did with that first precious girl.
I love to watch you loving.
I feel comforted when I see your delight in giving your love to another. It confirms for me that the world really is full of beauty and depth, and that life is good.
I’ve witnessed you offering that love on so many occasions, as sweet dogs and cats have entered our lives and joined our family. You have connected soul-to-soul with each one of them. As you saw their need, you studied, you practiced, and you became a dog trainer extraordinaire. You extended your expertise out into larger circles, making it your mission to help dog owners do better so that they could offer their dog the best possible life. There you go again, giving your love to others.
And then there’s the story of how you met Murphy, the dog, who led you to his owners. What a fine family they were. You loved making your weekly training visits to Murphy. You were always invited in for coffee and stimulating conversation with Murphy’s parents. I loved the stories you came home with because I could see how you were falling in love with these people. And your love for them caused me to love them too.
You had known them less than a year when you learned that Murphy’s dad needed a kidney. He had been five long years on a kidney donor list, enduring dialysis several times a week. His condition was worsening, and without a transplant, things would get even worse.
“I want to give him my kidney, Kath,” you said to me. And so, we went through the year-long process of getting you screened and ready to become a kidney donor.
I have watched you faint at the sight of your own blood, more than once. I know that you hate hospitals and never ever want to know the details of someone’s medical emergencies because it makes you feel queasy. You hate to think about prolonged illnesses or suffering.
You are known, in our mountain biking circles, as “the physical anomaly” because, at 71, you have never had any major illness. No surgeries. No hospitalizations. Hardly even a little cold or flu. What a surprise it was that you were ready to step up and give your kidney to a friend. But not a surprise, really. That’s who you are.
I’m not that way so much. I am a lover, like you. But I’m more protective of myself, a little more cautious, less of a risk-taker.
What a surprise it was to us both when I decided I wanted to take up mountain biking.
You had already been biking for some years when I decided that I wanted to dip my toe in that water. You were hesitant, worried about my safety, but what did you do? You became my teacher, making sure I knew how to bike safely. You coached me with every revolution of my bike wheel. And the fruit of that learning tree was our ability to take breathtaking bike vacations together. We biked the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We biked from Bryce to Zion. We camped out under the stars.
The shared story of our marriage has been one with deep, dark valleys. There have been times when we have hurt one another, hated one another. But our commitment to our love is something we have both claimed boldly. And so, we have endured the depths to reach the heights.
There is a line in an old Michael Franks song that gives me chills because, for me, it’s true.
“Poets say that love gives meaning to existence. We, for instance, prove that point of view. I’m convinced our souls have searched a thousand lifetimes, to find the right time—enter me and you.”
I’m so grateful, in this universe of so many souls, that we found one another. Knowing you, loving you has made me a better me.