I was married for 18 years to a woman that started out as my best friend. From the first to the last day of our marriage it was a struggle and we finally came to realize that friendship alone is not enough to sustain that kind of relationship. Since that time, I have found someone else with whom to share my life and comparing the two experiences has forced me to re-evaluate all that I believed about what it means to be in love.
I was often told that relationships, marriages in particular, require work and compromise. I have found that to be a cynical view. I believe that when two people are so close for so long, their togetherness either gives them the emotional strength to face the world or tears them apart. I still need to feed and nurture my relationship but these interactions are fun and intimate and life-giving; they are not work. I know there will be times where we have to resolve some discord. But if I listen to my partner’s point of view with an open heart, there is no compromise involved…only loving understanding and selfless sacrifice.
I was often told about the importance of individuality, but that is a fool’s errand. I believe that man was not meant to be alone in this world. Be it through divine providence or evolution, we are constructed to need other people. I believe trying to find a true purpose and direction completely alone is like trying to find an unlit candle in the darkness. The light that is generated between my beloved and me has helped me find my candle.
I am a scientist by training and before I met the woman of my dreams, if you had told me that there was such a thing as a soul-mate, I would have laughed. Now everyone can laugh at me. I believe that we all need a best friend, a partner, and a lover to be complete. Only a few are lucky enough to find all of these, fewer to find them all in one person, and the rarest of couples, like us, find them together.
Finally, I believe that such a complete and total relationship does not develop slowly. Ours has torn through us like a wildfire and carried us like a runaway train. It is both terrifying and exciting and there are times where I find it difficult not to hide from and give in to that fear. Yet I know that the rewards possible in completely sharing a life with this other tender soul, are worth any risk.
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