I read a posting from a member of my motorcycle club on social media where she described that after nine years, she is divorcing her husband. Not for reasons of abuse or adultery, but from her words, “growing older and falling out of love.”

This post, shown here:

Sad… really made me sad.

I know that people’s individual relationships change over time. My relationship with my spouse sure has changed since we met more than 22 years ago. Changes to our health, jobs and personal finances, family caregiving responsibilities, and with each other have indeed impacted each of us.

Christmas2014bBut instead of “growing older and drifting apart,” we each have invested time with each other, working on our relationship to make us closer.

My spouse takes time to nurture and care for me. For example, the other day when I got home from work, I was plumb tuckered out. I had a lot of things on my mind. Work has become difficult and challenging. My spouse followed me to the bedroom where I was changing clothes. He lay on the bed, and patted the bed beside him with a gesture of “rest next to me.”

I did that. Snuggled close. He scratched my back while I unloaded the day. He just listened. He is very good at listening and not commenting when no comments were needed.

Just doing that with me for about a half hour totally recharged my internal batteries, and gave me a brighter outlook. Knowing that my spouse is always there to love me, comfort me, and care means the world to me. Showing me how he loves me through many gestures and actions is something he does many times a day. Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and organizing things so we don’t accumulate a bunch of junk — this work is one way of many that my spouse demonstrates that he cares.

SpousesJan201502I also think about my spouse first, before all else. I do things for him that he doesn’t like to do, or needs done. I cart him everywhere since he still cannot drive a vehicle due to residual effects of his long-term illness. I make him special meals, including batter for his morning gluten-free waffles. I do outside chores and prevent him from going outdoors this time of year when we have learned that something in the environment can trigger symptoms of his long-term illness. Instead of playing with my website or answering email, I turn off the computer and sit with him. Hold his hand. Listen. Watch TV shows that he likes. Whatever… we take time to “be” together.

Marriage03I am not commenting specifically on the relationship of my friends and their marriage as described in the above social media post. I’m just saying that for my spouse and me, it’s different. When we have struggled, have fought, or have had different outlooks on things, we have worked through it and found ways to build the relationship instead of give up. We have fought for what is most important to each of us: our relationship, bonded out of love and recognized as a full marriage.

Yep, maintaining a strong relationship is indeed work. There are times that each of us has probably wanted to say, “forget it… ” But we don’t forget it. We work on it, and build our bond to be even more close.

We communicate, we share, we keep our finances open and honest, and we don’t fool around behind each other’s backs. We believe in what our marriage means: we honor and cherish the other, and pledge to do so until we part at death. I dunno, are we really that old-fashioned? Methinks not.

What works for us may not work for others, but indeed, I cherish the man I love and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I know he feels the same way about me.

Life is short: working on a relationship means showing those you love how you love them, each and every day.

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