June 29, 2017
Dear Cherished Heart,
We stood at the kitchen island. I asked him a question and he needed to look something up on his phone. He reached over to the built-in wine rack, pulled out my gold-rimmed reading glasses and put them on. Such a familiar action.
I looked right at him, instead of at the space between us. He has lots of grey hair in his beard now. Though it must have started some time ago, I expected to be alongside for the changing of every hair. We had been growing old together.
I long to go back and find the exact moment when the rope of our marriage began to unravel and pinch the fraying thread between my finger and thumb and force it back into position. But, there is no rope and no moment.
If a marriage is not bad, does that automatically make it good?
Though I still believe that love is the key ingredient in a relationship; it is not the only ingredient. If you put flour into a bowl, will it turn into cake? Not without a bunch of other stuff and the right conditions surrounding it.
It felt like we had all the necessary ingredients to make our marriage last.
1 cup of Love ✔️
1 cup of Respect ✔️
3 cups of Abundance ✔️
2 tsp of Admiration ✔️
4 Tbsp of Commitment ✔️
Add Pepper to taste ✔️
According to one psychologist, philia—Greek for friendship—is the most important component of a long-term loving partnership. To be friends with your mate includes all of the above, but also means risking conflict by being honest even when it feels uncomfortable, because it builds intimacy1. And it means dreaming and planning together, instead of winging it.
For the length of our marriage, we behaved as if conflict would undermine love and connection. If Narcan is the antidote to Opiods; then avoidance was the antidote to the harmful effects of conflict and disagreement. If we disagreed that must mean we were not meant to be together.
I have friends who describe their husband as their best friend, and I have seen it on Facebook around anniversaries and birthdays. I felt confused by this, and pretty skeptical. It didn’t feel that way for me.
But now, I feel it as ABSOLUTE truth—as if it just got carved across my forehead.
How can it work any other way?
Words cannot describe how much I miss my hasband*, and how much sadness still pervades my weekly living. I don’t mention it because it takes me by surprise. I wasn’t fulfilled; we had unwittingly forsaken our relationship for our primary work—his outside the home and mine inside. Neither person known to the other. Best friends, not.
* has been + husband = Hasband