I recently read an article about how to fall in love with anyone. Reading that one article led me to reading a few others on the same topic and I found it quite interesting, and somewhat true. I don't believe that we all have one True Soul Mate on Earth. I do believe that a series of choices and circumstances will often lead us to be in the right place at the right time in order to meet souls who are connected to our own, but that's mostly because I have reincarnation tendencies (and that's a whole other blog post that I won't touch upon here).
After reading these How To articles, my mind wandered a bit. I agreed that Falling in Love was the easy part. People are SO amazing! Most of the world is intrinsically good; I believe this with my entire heart, despite the violence and cruelty that so many people are capable of. If you allow yourself to listen to the heart of another person, stripping away that which blocks your view of their honest and true souls, you would find that love is not so difficult, after all. Each of us is worthy of being loved. Each of us is simply searching for someone who sees through the layers we cloak ourselves with. Yes, falling in love is fairly simple, but staying in love is where the mystery seems to lie.
I didn't choose to fall in love in January of 1995, but when it happened, I knew I wanted it to last. After our first date, I committed to making him my priority and to STAY in love.
I've been in love with Patrick for 20 years.
Someone recently asked me how we've "done it." How we've made it this far and are still so very much in love with each other. First of all, choose someone you can sit quietly beside without needing to fill the silence, who is kind to animals and the elderly, and who smells good to you. These are more important than you may realize. Like much in life, there isn't a magical formula, but there are some moments and "tricks" that stand out in my mind. Here is what has worked for us:
20 years of choosing, every day, to stay together. Neither of us is hard on the eyes or socially awkward. At any time, we could have chosen other people. Instead, we choose to each other and our life together.
20 years of him deciding that my pms and anxiety are prices that are not too high to be paid to be with me. I don't know that I could deal with myself for those 24 days a year. I give the man mad props.
20 years of memorizing his profile in his sleep, and marveling at how the small laughter lines become more and more invisible, the longer I stare. How can he look 22 when he is, in fact, 42?
20 years of love notes written on steamy bathroom mirrors, hidden in wallets, and tucked into coffee grounds... and sometimes, on blog posts.
20 years of forgiving each other's many faults, and working on improving our own.
20 years of saying "I'm Sorry," because quite often, we are both wrong.
20 years of slow dancing in the living room. And the kitchen. And every single wedding we ever attend.
20 years of never slinging a single insult at each other, ever. No name calling, people. NO. Words have power and can never be taken back. When we are angry, we talk about why and solve the problem. Sometimes with words that are a little louder than others, but never, EVER EVER do we insult the other person.
20 years of putting each other above all others. As I regularly say, "The only person in this family that I chose to be with is Patrick. The others were all given to me by fate or chance." I choose HIM to grow older with, to have adventures with, to be share secrets with.
20 years of actively loving each other. And by actively loving, I mean we hold hands when we walk, we cuddle under blankets beside the firepit, and we lock the door to our bedroom and seize the moment whenever we can. Physical love is not something for only the newly wed. If I start to feel disconnected from my husband, I actively search him out and hold onto him for dear life. Humans are physical creatures and have a real need to be touched.
20 years of knowing that he will never be a handyman and I will never be a good housekeeper. He will always love to window shop and I will always hate it. We know our quirks and accept them without trying to change them.
We don't have a secret formula. There isn't a guarantee that what we're doing today will work for us when we've been together another 20 years, but this is what has worked for us so far. Maybe it will help you?
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