I hate romantic comedies. I hate love songs. I hate when they (and I did also) say “till death do us part”.
I love myself. I love my kids, my husband and the rest of my family. I love life. I love beauty. I love justice and equality. I love to love.
Love is the greatest power in the world. I have loved my husband for over nineteen years now, and can´t imagine not loving him. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach the first time I gazed my eyes on him back then. Now I don´t have those butterflies anymore, but instead I have an amazing respect and deepest bond with him. In a way we are one, but have always made sure we both have our own lives too, keeping a sense of freedom.
Not taking my husband´s love for granted is what keeps our love going strong, true and pure after all these years. It is the secret to true love.
“Till death do us part” is a lie. We can not make that kind of promise. You can fake it, but you can´t force yourself truly and honestly love someone.
Instead I prefer “Together as long as we´re happy”. As long as there is more good than bad in a relationship, it´s worth cherishing. A relationship or a marriage is not a value in itself. Happiness is. For nearly twenty years our relationship has stood on the principle of happiness. We both love and respect ourselves and each other so much that we want to make us happy.
As long as you don´t take your significant other for granted, and strive for the happiness of you both (which also concludes as the happiness of the whole family life), you are keeping your love alive and nourished. Sometimes you need to be selfish by taking time for yourself only, but if your spouse is on the same tracks, he/she will want you to do so, for your sake. And vice versa.
No jealousy is needed if you really want the best for your spouse. Some time ago my husband moved to another location at his work, where he got a female boss. The day before he started working there I told him, with a straight face, that he must remember how I don´t want to ever stand in the way of his happiness. He got the joke immediately, and replied that I need not worry, the boss was ugly and probably a lesbian. And we laughed hard together.
But there is truth behind all this joking around. At the very beginning of our going out we talked about this freedom of choice, and how we would not want to “make” each other stay in the relationship. If at one point life should steer us apart, so be it if we found greater happiness somewhere else. Simple as that.
As part of this freedom naturally comes the acknowledgement of not taking the other person for granted. Of course everyday life brings challenges of always remembering it, but overall it keeps us alert, trying to show the love and affection we have for each other.
It doesn´t take much to show appreciation. A daily hug and kiss, sitting in his lap for ten seconds when he´s checking his email, or pretending to be interested when he tells me (again) what kind of car he´s going to get one day. We don´t buy each other presents, we spend time together. Daily moments or occasional getaway weekends, just the two of us, are all equally valuable.
We are not just mom and dad, we are first and foremost girlfriend and boyfriend. That´s the root and stem to our marriage and family life.