Like many writers and comedians, I often seem to use my wife as scapegoat in my blog posts. In fact, my wife is a wonderful person. Life would be miserable without her. But she’s also a good sport, which is why I get by with some of the not-always-complimentary pictures I paint of her in my personal stories. This week’s post is different–I didn’t pick on her. Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
I love you. I love you, too.
Ah, yes, the words spoken in most every conversation between two mutually infatuated people. All through the courting process, the affectionate proclamation is repeated––sometimes to excess. Then the couple ties the knot. They’re overjoyed and look forward to their new life as one. A few years later, the realities of marriage sink in. You know, the added responsibilities of mortgage and auto loans, utilities, and kids; layoffs, dental bills, and prom dresses. Face it, even if garnished (or tarnished) by affluence, every marriage suffers through hard times. Suddenly the passion dulls. The loving couple’s minds become numbed by monthly payments and routine. They find themselves asking, “How did we get here? What can we do to remind ourselves of the reasons we united in the first place?”
Marriage Counselors prefer you visit them to resolve any misguided or forgotten affections. To be perfectly fair, those enthusiastic professionals can provide valuable assistance towards refreshing loving memories. Besides, they also deserve an opportunity to make a living, right? But I’ve been there and done that, and I can verify that those well-meaning arbitrators merely provide couples a place to start. Counselors do not have all the answers.
So, who does?
Married couples do. They are the individuals who, at one time, found their partner’s appeal beyond compare. Except for a few wrinkles, perhaps an expanding midsection, maybe one or two bad habits, and an outcropping of unruly hair––where hair was never supposed to grow––deep down, the lovebirds when the joyride began still remain. Just have to let ’em out of their cages.
Remember the letters written to each other while dating? The notes that gushed with romantic overtones and enticing questions that oozed from every page?
What, no love letters you say? Uh-oh! That could be the rub. The heart of the problem. The root cause for the decline in your love connection.
Some might retaliate, “But phoning each other was so much easier.”
Yes, and hours could be spent on the line exchanging amorous coos that, unless conversations were taped––which, at the time, may have been perceived as either extremely weird or offensive––have obviously gone astray. No affectionate dialogue can be reviewed. There’s no record to refer to. No history to remind couples of the giddy innocence that sustained their progressing relationship.
Fortunately, the love of my life resided in a long-distance-dialing zone. When it came to added charges on the monthly phone bill, our fathers were stingy. Sure, my sweetie and I called one another, but writing and the U.S. Postal Service remained our primary communications link. At least once a week, our eagerly anticipated messages crisscrossed through the mail. Love talk we savored…and then packed in a box.
On a recent excursion to the storage area, my wife and I resurrected those handwritten letters. Forty-five years of nuptial togetherness had passed. We’d moved over a half-dozen times––once to a different state, then back again. Yet, the collection had survived.
Because my wife and I were engrossed in a major cleaning project–– and HBO didn’t have anything worth watching that evening––we decided it would be great fun to read the letters again. It was a great choice.
Suppertime came and went. The dishes were washed and put away. My honey and I snuggled on the couch and anticipated our journey into yesteryear. After opening the box, we divvied the missives, then read each other’s correspondence––just as we’d done when the news was fresh. Afterward, we swapped and began examining our own revelations. Sure enough, we were silly, amazingly profound on occasion, but always longing for one another and in love.
The notes relayed such tidbits as current events in our lives, what we planned for the next time we’d be together, plus a gaze into the future when together would mean more than just weekends and holidays.
As we perused the letters, my wife and I smiled and laughed at our commentaries––moments in time that reflected who we were, and who we hoped to become. We marveled at the accuracy of some predictions and the folly in others. I was such a gear-head back then. Now, I write and couldn’t care less about the automobile. My wife seemed so naïve. But she has proven to be the strength in our family. Our lives have changed in many ways, except for the most important aspect––we remain together and in love.
Were my sweetheart and I giddy? You bet. After reading our love talk once more, I’m proud to say we still can be. But as we finished reminiscing, I wondered about our kids, and about other couples their age and younger. How did they convey affectionate thoughts? The only picture that came to mind was a telephone receiver plugged into their ears. The image saddened me.
With the advent of smart phones, long-distance plans, e-mail, and texting, I fear that lovers within our high-paced, high-tech society will neither compose nor retain a chronicle like the one my wife and I compiled. I hope I’m wrong. But with time and convenience ranking as priorities, I doubt it.
And so, I empathize with younger married folk, who––as time marches on and their lifestyles change––do not have an anthology similar to my sweetheart’s and mine. They’ll never know what they are missing. They’ll never experience how rejuvenating old love talk can be.
P.S. Yes, that’s a homemade envelope in the photo, one of many I made until the USPS tired of my creativity. Something about the image making the address too hard to read. Go figure!