I am into my sixth decade of romance with my husband. He and are at the point of having the same thoughts at the same time. Both of us look like the grandparents that we are. Our hair is graying and thinning and our faces are showing all of the signs of age. We could use some sessions at a gym as our mid-sections grow a bit more flabby each year, but we are still madly in love with one another. When we gaze at each other we see someone who is incredibly beautiful. We’d rather be with each other than anyone else. We have shared a lifetime of experiences and it has been remarkable.
These days our “dates” are rather subdued. We don’t need much to have a very good time. we regularly take continuing education classes at Rice University and those afternoons out remind us of the joy that learning has brought into our lives. We make each Tuesdays a special day, often indulging in our favorite Turkish food or enjoying a po-boy sandwich after the lecture. We have discussions about what we have learned and how the long thread of history has an impact on the present. Those conversations are incredibly romantic to me because from the beginning of our relationship my man has treated me as an intellectual equal. We are a perfectly balanced team with the greatest respect for one another.
We like to travel together as well. We take our trailer along these days and have so much fun in that twenty one foot space. It’s so cozy that we would have to like each other very much or we would soon be fighting. We’ve have had grand adventures in summer and winter, fall and spring. Soon we will be heading out for some camping in a swampy area filled with gators and I can hardly wait. Somehow just being together in that home away from home brings us even closer together than we already are.
Some of my friends are now single and their dates are filled with fine dinners, evenings at musicals, and deliveries of flowers for no special reason. This is of course at it should be in a courtship, but my husband and I don’t seem to need those kind of things anymore. A trip to a plant nursery to purchase a new rose bush is much more fun. Setting it into the ground and watching it grow is what we enjoy. We sit in our backyard with the butterflies and doves skittering about enjoying the handiwork we have done in the yard. Just relaxing, sipping on a nice glass of wine and laughing at the same jokes is where we are now.
There is nothing that says love like being able to spend all day without makeup, padding around in my bare feet and still having my husband walk up and tell me how beautiful I am. It’s lucky that we are so comfortable with who we are together because otherwise we might have driven each other crazy in the past couple of years. Instead we’ve cooked together, watched movies that we both enjoyed and just sat reading and writing without a word. We listen to music and sometimes get in our truck just drive around talking for no reason at all.
I suppose that my husband learned how to be the perfect partner from his father. My father-in-law is in his nineties and he is incredibly thoughtful with his wife. She has been quite ill for most of the past year. She has to use oxygen all day long and walking to the bathroom is an effort. He patiently and lovingly cares for her without a single complaint. He buys foods that she likes and can still eat. He awakens in the night when she needs assistance. He has become mostly homebound unless some of us come to relieve him of his duties and give him an opportunity to get out for a bit. I seriously find his behavior to be the ultimate form of romance. There is nothing quite as beautiful as continuing to love someone in sickness.
I suppose that most people would watch me and my husband and think that perhaps the romance has gone out of our relationship because we have grown as comfortable with each other as with an old pair of shoes. We have a set routine but never once have we taken each other for granted. Every minute of every day we know how fortunate we are to have found each other and built our entire lives around each other. All we really need is to be together.
We have learned how to forgive each other for mistakes and how to laugh at our troubles. We have no doubt that we will make it through anything that comes our way. I can’t think of a greater gift than being able to be totally myself with every one of my flaws exposed and still be loved. I suppose that is why I don’t really need all of the trappings of romance to feel happy and secure.
My one wish would be for everyone to find a relationship like I have. I can’t say that I have done anything special to deserve it. Somehow it just happened and I knew it from our very first date. I remember telling my friends that I had met the guy I was going to marry and I never looked back. We literally grew up together, doing all kinds of stupid things along the way, but always supporting each other no matter what was happening. I’ve been on a romantic journey for decades and it has been bliss.