Love is a magical sensation that bonds people together with purpose and fulfilment.
I look at the woman I love, listen to her breath, touch her hair, smell her clothes and adore her. I’m awestruck at how fortunate I am in life to know her.
Is this invisible force merely a human invention?
Some people might consider 24 years an eternity, others, the blink of an eye. I’m in the latter camp, finding time speeding by as if I were astride HG Well’s Time Machine.
In 1987 I watched a TV documentary called “It Was 20 Years Ago Today” chronicling the creation and impact of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Back then, I thought 20 years was a lifetime.
It was nearly halfway back to World War II for crying out loud! TV sets had wooden casings, pop songs were in mono, and Sean Connery was James Bond.
Years later, sitting with friends, my mind wandered off, and I realised I had my first 20-year-old recollection. Bloody hell, I thought. I have memories nearly a quarter of century old.
20 is small.
In my corporate job, I deal with big numbers. The health service needs to treat five thousand patients, or we need £1.2 million for a new MRI scanner. When I go to the ATM for cash, it’s back to small numbers. £20 for coffees and lunches just in case contactless isn’t working.
Our lives in years fall into the small number category.
If you believe over 20 years of marriage is good, think again. It’s equivalent to 10 iPhone contract cycles.
Snap your fingers, and it’s gone.
If the next 20 go as quick, I’ll be staring 70 in the face, and that scares the shit out of me.
You and I are time travelling, blindly on auto-pilot, unaware how short life is.
The Day Time Stood Still
Time seldom stands still, but it did once.
I was chatting with my ex-boss (and future wife) about a recent trip to Edinburgh. She remarked how much she loved the city and would love to go back. Without hesitation, I asked, “Why don’t we go back together”?
That’s when it happened.
The office noise faded, the world stopped turning, and we connected. Something in the universe clicked. A few months later, we set off, and on the last day of the holiday, I admitted my attraction, and we shared our first kiss.
Four weeks later, with no prior planning, I proposed, she said yes, and we married on the 1st anniversary of that first kiss.
We knew something extraordinary happened, and our relationship has never waned.
So here I am, still madly in love and apologising to my wife for infrequent sulky behaviour. Occasionally I wake up thinking it’s early in the 2000s, not 2020. I’m desperate to slow life down and prevent it zipping by at the speed of light.
Is love spiritual or a random hit and miss affair?
Was it fate that brought us together, or something more profound. A connection at a spiritual level?
(Oh no, he’s going to mention…. God).
God is another possibility and the one I believe in most. Two spirits existing since creation eventually finding themselves again in the storm of life?
Five years before my wedding, I had proposed to someone else. We were madly in love, and just knew we were right for each other. It was a disaster.
No matter how hard I tried in previous romantic relationships, I always felt I was cheating on someone. I could never explain the guilt I felt at the time. I put it down to being crap at relationships.
With my wife-to-be, the relationship always felt different. No guilt, only a feeling of calm. The inner critic was absent.
Is There a Secret for Long-term Love?
Relationship counsellors say successful relationships need to give and take. I recommend the giving.
There is no room in a relationship for self-centredness.
What can you give to help sustain your relationship?
- Keep one vital promise – to be a faithful, loving and loyal partner. Those words were the cornerstone of my wedding vows, and when I reach my deathbed, I want to look back and know I kept my promise.
- Say “I Love You” every day and mean it. If it helps, say it to yourself every day too.
- Treasure the warmth and closeness of your partner’s friendship. Breathe in their presence like morning air. Thrill-seeking holidays or big career moves can be rewarding but don’t ignore the beautiful uniqueness of waking up every morning beside the one you love. It has an end date, so revel in it.
- Don’t let your internal critic control your actions. By allowing your inner critic to command your emotions you’ll end up saying hurtful comments in the heat of the moment. Work on the basis that the one you love is always right (usually) and enjoy the result.
- Always put the person you love first. Offer to drive on a dinner date so they can enjoy a glass of wine. Buy them surprise presents for no reason. Let them have the giant slice of cake, and you take the mug with the chip. Little things matter.
- Never ever take you partner for granted. Every single day you have together is special. Life is special and it’s a privilege to spend it with someone.
- Never let the day end on an argument. Be the first to offer reconciliation with a big sloppy kiss.
- Listen to their life, their day and how they feel. My wife loves to tell me all the issues that affected her day. Sometimes I get to offer advice or ask questions, but I’m here to listen.
- Hold the one you love in your arms and think how wonderful they are. Hug each other every day.
- If sickness strikes, nurse and support them.
Since the Beginning
Look for nothing and no-one else. It’s that simple. Otherwise, you’ll end up becoming one of the many experts in divorce.
Our love always existed, from the beginning of time. It only needed all sides of life’s puzzle to align.
That belief generates an undying loyalty. I look at the fantastic universe, the vastness of it all and yet somehow our two souls found each other.
Love is a spiritual power.
Love is joining with another human heart.
But perhaps above all, love is indefinable.
Love’s source a mystery.
Love enriches life, it forges who I am and ever will be.
So here’s to the next 20 years and the following 2000 for my love always existed and will never end.