Sexy, Crazy Marriage.
I am a woman who knows that I am adored every single day. In this matter, I have never known a moment of doubt.
It is simply the truth, a profound knowledge with which I have lived for more than 30 years.
My many flaws and defects appear not to impact how much I am loved. How divinely, wildly insane is that?
And that I can state this so effortlessly and with complete candor never ceases to amaze and comfort me.
My strength and confidence comes in part from knowing this truth, which fuels the sense of freedom that allows my passions to soar and my dreams to take flight.
I have a safe and sacred sanctuary to which I can come home when the burdens of the world and the grief in my heart weigh heavy on my sensitive soul.
I have a man who looks at me with the same heat and longing of one who is newly in love.
I have a man who cradles me in his arms, soothes away my tears, gives the best foot massage ever and spoons naked with me at night.
His love makes me feel brave and large with possibilities in a world that works overtime to make us feel small.
”How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” ~ Sigmund Freud
I had known my man for a little over a month when I married him. After a few days together in Tokyo, he returned to his home in LA. In parting, he said to me: “I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but you and I are going to be together for the rest of our lives.”
This could have been the worst pick-up line ever. Or, it represented the possibility that this extraordinary man was to become the love of my life.
I had to find out which it was.
I had a successful career and many friends in Tokyo. But I moved to Los Angeles, where he was the only person I knew. It was a risk, but then again, what is life and love without risk and a little danger?
That was more than 30 years ago — quite an accomplishment, if I may say so myself. But I can’t take all the credit, and neither can he. A strong marriage requires two committed, constantly evolving individuals, and even then, the odds are stacked against success.
It’s amazing that anyone ever makes marriage work, because this kind of a union isn’t easy to sustain. But then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.
I’m far too practical to believe in fairy tales — and this journey has been far from one. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It requires stamina, and an unflinching ability to look inward at yourself.
No, not at your partner — at yourself. Stop nit-picking and pointing fingers. Instead, praise, appreciate, refrain from judging. If that’s not possible to do, you’re probably with the wrong partner.
Everything we need to work on within ourselves is magnified in marriage. Often, we are tested to the point of sheer exhaustion. Masks come off, and what’s underneath isn’t always pretty and polite.
Are you ready for that? Are you ready to work through all your stuff and his as well? Because when we marry, we take on our partner’s baggage. So if you don’t want to be miserable and old before your time, choose wisely.
Then ask yourself whether you’re ready to love another without losing yourself or expecting his essence to disappear. That’s not love. That’s co-dependency.
A partner can only take from you what you are willing to give away. And women, for various reasons and much more than men, are wired to give away too much and lose themselves.
”I love you, but I love me more.” ~ Samantha, Sex and the City
Possessiveness is about fear, not love. The kind of marriage where couples are joined at the hip isn’t healthy for anyone. Mutual support of your partner’s growth and freedom is.
Chains do not keep a couple together. Self-love, trust and time apart do.
I don’t know how it’s possible for two people to be together most of the time and somehow always get along. Maybe Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had the right idea: separate homes joined by a central living and loving area where they could meet, converse, make love and then return to their own spaces.
Of course, this arrangement may not suit all couples, but I do very much need a room of my own, as Virginia Woolf suggested.
I have learned a lot about myself in the context of my marriage. I am good at being married. I am a devoted and loving wife, at least part-time. But don’t get me wrong: The love I feel for my man is a full-time thing, and always will be.
I just think that being together all the time is highly unrealistic and vastly overrated.
Too much togetherness can snuff the life and vitality out of the best of relationships. For me, time alone is a nonnegotiable essential. Perhaps that’s why I chose a man who travels for a living. I wouldn’t do well with a 9-to-5 guy.
My man and I have seen each other through our worst and lowest, but we still manage to bring out the best and highest in each other. We still get stuck, mess up and drive each other infuriatingly crazy at times. We are not one of those couples who never argue (do they even exist?).
And the truth is, love actually does mean having to say “I’m sorry.” Many, many times in fact, despite what that silly movie Love Story would have us believe. Honestly, I never understood that famous line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Or that other Hallmark sappy line from the movie Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.”
Women need to really be clear on one thing: No one can complete you but You! We can help to heal and mend each other’s gaps and brokenness, but the self-completion business is up to each individual alone.
Never settle or give up hope. Do not accept mediocrity, especially when it comes to love. You are just as worthy and deserving of being adored as I am.
The way your man loves you may be different than how mine loves me. One is not better than the other. Every couple has to find their own dance and rhythm that moves them both.
You will know in your heart if you are being loved the way you really want and deserve. You will know because the heart does not lie.
But back to my man. He is beautifully flawed and perfectly imperfect, just like me. He is sweeter and more sentimental, though, and is, besides my dad, the kindest man I know.
Women: Never mistake kindness for weakness. It takes a strong man to be kind, vulnerable and compassionate.
And just because a couple have been together many years does not mean that romance and sex have to go by the wayside. Yes, it takes effort and intention to keep the sparks alive in a long relationship, but for my man and I, sex is a vital part of a healthy marriage.
Some months ago, when we were stuck at an airport, we were philosophizing about life. Seemingly out of nowhere, he looked deeply into me with his soulful green eyes and said, “You are such an intriguing woman.“
Well, there are many terms of endearment that a man can utter to his beloved — smart, gorgeous, sexy, intelligent, witty, brilliant, etc. But, personally, it doesn’t get much better than intriguing. Seriously, what woman doesn’t want to be considered intriguing? And especially after three decades.
After all these years, he still thinks he is the luckiest guy in the world to get to spend his life with me. Who am I to argue with that? He tells me everyday that he loves me and that he always knew he could look into my blue eyes for the rest of his life. I did mention he’s sentimental, and yes an old-fashioned romantic too.
But more importantly, he doesn’t just tell me, he shows me.
Sounds crazy to me.
I guess he’s funny that way…
Angela Paul is an author, model, speaker and life coach whose main focus is on relationships, marriage, life transitions and graceful aging. Her most recent book, The Beauty of Aging: A Woman’s Guide to Joyful Living, inspires and empowers women of all ages to fearlessly embrace the wisdom and beauty of aging. Angela was born and raised in Yorkshire, England, lived in Tokyo for many years and currently resides in Los Angeles. She is a long time meditator of over 30 years, travels extensively and spends as much time as she can at the beach in Malibu. A lover of solitude and nature Angela considers herself to be a Highly Sensitive Person who also joyfully exhibits occasional shades of a wild extrovert. She rarely Tweets, but you can follow her on Facebook or check out her website.