Amidst an absolutely glorious weekend with Ruth, my wife of 44.3 years, I decided to write this blog celebrating the harvest we’ve gleaned together—Ruth in her mid 60s, me in my late 60s. Last night, Ruth found a heart necklace that I had given her in our second year of dating; neither of us had seen it for decades. Her showing me the necklace immediately confirmed my choice to tout our joy, even though this weekend has not marked any “special” occasion for us.
Unlike many couples, who dread having an empty nest, we were thrilled once our youngest daughter, 13 years younger than our oldest child, moved out of our home in 2010. We had at least one child living with us for 34 years of our first 40 years of marriage. What has eased the way is currently having all three of our adult children, their mates, and two granddaughters living in proximity to us (none more than an hour away)—and more importantly, having a rich relationship with each of them. We have the added privilege and delight of caring for our 18-month granddaughter most Fridays; we share tending to and playing with her amidst our work day, then picking up our other granddaughter (9) at school.
Our lives remain exquisitely balanced. While passionate about our shared work as psychotherapists, relationship coaches and speakers (www.energyforlife.us), we find plenty of opportunities for lovemaking, visiting with family, playing, socializing and exercising. Regular spiritual practices, meditation and classes anchor it all.
It has been so special the past two years for us to collaborate in writing Secrets of a Soulful Marriage. The process, followed by book tours, has notably enriched our relationship. We’re now planning vacations, including cruises, during which we present marriage/relationship programs.
Having known each other nearly half a century, Ruth and I not only cherish one another, but have developed a profound mutual respect. More and more we have chosen to release the reactivity, judgments and drama that characterized the first half of our marriage. Through intention and acquired skills, we have become increasingly facile and quick to resolve conflicts and arguments. We’re also quick to read each other’s facial cues and body language, and more than occasionally we intuit the other’s thoughts. Sweeter yet is the genuine acceptance of each other’s personal “stuff.” We have even come to appreciate some endearing idiosyncrasies.
Since one of my life purposes involves promoting marital enrichment, I really hope that I have inspired many of you to persist through difficult periods of your primary relationship, as have Ruth and I. The fruits of a long-enduring love relationship provide a priceless heaven on earth—and a gateway to the Divine.