Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seven Years, Seven Threads, Seven Pearls Discovered

"Chains do not hold a marriage together.  It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years." (Simone Signoret)

Calliope has been whispering to me today.  Many days she seems to have little interest in inspiring me, but today is different.  The Grecian muse of writers has been gently prodding me today, softly saying, "You have something to share.  Share it."  So I will.

Calliope, Greek muse of writing
I saw on Facebook today that some friends of ours were celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary (Hooray Ed and Denise!), and I wished them both well.  "Wow!", I thought.  "Lucky them!"   Then later in the day, I serendipitously came across an article titled, "The Ten Things I've Learned After Ten Years of Marriage."  Click the link below if you'd like to read it.

The Ten Things I've Learned After Ten Years of Marriage

Our own anniversary is just two weeks away, so it seemed to me that this wasn't all just random sprinklings by the universe.  I was being asked to ponder something - something positive - something special.

What are the special things that I've learned after seven years of marriage?  What are the gifts of understanding that I've been given?  That I couldn't have received any other way than by agreeing to share my life with Deborah?

A Golden kiss - September 24, 2006: Along the Rogue River
So, in honor of Ed and Denise, Sasha Emmons and her husband, but most importantly, my partner, lover, and best friend, Deborah DeMattia - here, humbly submitted, are Seven Pearls I've Discovered after Seven Years of Marriage.  I celebrate learning these things, and want to remember their value whenever I act with them in mind.

1.   Be On Each Other's Side, No Matter What:  This was #1 on Ms. Emmons list, and I couldn't have said it better.   In a world that through events, its challenges, technology, the pressures of other people, etc. is always trying to pull you apart, always "looking for a crack", it's vital to know that you are each other's greatest ally, cheerleader, and protector.  To know that there is one person who, while you may not always agree with them or like them in a moment, you know that they always will support you and give you the benefit of kindness in that same moment, is a divine blessing.    Thank you Deborah for all the times you've done that for me.

2.  Be Honest with Each Other:   Trust is the most important thread in a successful relationship, and Honesty is the seamstress which weaves that thread into a tapestry.  Some of my most painful moments have been when I've seen that I hadn't been honest with Deborah, or myself, about how I was feeling, or what I wanted to do, or thought.  Thankfully, she has always insisted on the Truth - never let me "squirm out" of it.  Always told me exactly how she felt, even when it stung a little.  And because of this, we grew closer together - closer now than ever before.  Because we can see each other genuinely, and we genuinely love the one we see.

3.  Don't Be Afraid To Laugh at Yourself:  Ms. Emmons said in her article, "Being vulnerable enough to laugh at yourself leads to a special kind of intimacy."  Amen to that.  Deborah's spontaneity, her penchant for teasing with a loving twinkle in her eye, and for saying whatever the heck pops into her pretty Italian head, has helped crack open this stoic, "proper" German, and enriched my life.  Thank you Sweetie for all the unexpected belly laughs and snorts, as well as the sheepish smiles when you remind me to not take myself so seriously.  And most importantly, thank you for loving me even when I'm acting like the biggest dork in the world!

Me being G.I. Jonathan on the S.S. Lane Victory in Long Beach CA
4.  Remember The Little Things that Make Each Other Special:  I will always seek out your hand to hold.  I will always appreciate the look in your eyes that tells me "I'm proud of you.".  I will always, always believe (and tell you) "You're the prettiest girl in the room."  I will always appreciate that the things you love the most about me are the inner characteristics of patience, stablility, strength.  They may not sound "sexy", but they are timeless.  I will always nurture, and take joy, in you learning something new.  You are my best "student".  And I will always be grateful to you for introducing me to the Work that we share through the Foundation and teachings of Guy Finley. 

5.  Let Go of the Little Things that Try to Pull You Apart:  It's impossible to live together with someone day after day, year after year, and not get "a little irritated" at times (euphemism for thinking "You're an idiot!").  But we've both learned to forgive and let go.  So for all those times I've forgotten where the car is, slurped my soup, stared at you with a blank face because I had no clue what you were saying, bristled at the suggestion I do anything that was "work" after 6 pm, or slipped into a pouty, clingy state, thank you for letting it go and loving me still.  And for all those times you've lost your glasses or your phone and we've gone crazy looking for them only to find them in your purse, or gotten grumpy with a store clerk, or talked about ten more things you'd like to do around the house before I've finished one, or scolded me for "monkeying with the thermostat at night, I promise to always do the same:  let it go and love you still.  Perfect Love doesn't always feel perfect.  But that's when you know it's real.  When you realize nothing is more important than that love.

6.  You Can Never Say "Thank You" Too Much:  Because we both came to each other in the later years of our lives, I think we've always had a special sense of gratitude for each other.  We both lived previous lives that left us very unhappy at times, so we are grateful to be with each other now.  And through our actions and words, we show that.  When I bring you your cup of coffee in the morning or when you bring me my dinner, we still look each other in the eyes and say "Thank you".  These little courtesies are also fine threads that lovingly tie us together.  We recognize and appreciate each other - nothing is assumed.  I love that.

7.  Keep Seeking New Adventures to Share:  From our first (and only!) raft trip together down the Rogue River 8 years ago, to our hike up Lower Table Rock two weeks ago, our lives together have been filled with new adventures:  places gone and seen, things done and shared.  Some have been grand:  our trip to Italy.  Others have been quiet and small:  painting the backyard fence together.  Some have required us to have nerves of steel:  ziplining through the trees in Cave Junction.  Other times all we did was sit quietly in a dusty, ancient California mission and breathed history and reverence together.  The new experiences we've shared have also helped bond us and write virtual chapters in the story of our life and love together.  I look forward to many more.

Deborah zip-lining and screaming "Oh My God!"
So to my wife, my partner, my best friend, my lover, my companion, my confederate and confidant.

"Molte grazie!"

"There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing  someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps" (Ronald Reagan) 

Us along the Oregon Coast - March 2013
I'm that happy man.  The best is yet to come.

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