I was reading the romance posts on this blog and it got me to thinking about my 34 year marriage (in April) and how we've managed to stay married through the ups and downs, the kids, male pattern blindness (see my personal blog for an explanation), and that catch-all "life."
My Jonesie doesn't say a lot, but what he does is what matters, something I tried to teach our kids. Talk is cheap. People will say anything, but the only thing that really matters is what they do. What someone does tells you everything about who that person is, what they believe in, and how much they care about you and others.
Case in point, years ago my dad was working on the roof of one of his gas stations. My brothers were helping, as were several other people. Some women across the fence came out to sunbath and "accidentally" let their tops fall off. My brothers were both impressed that my dad didn't bother to look. He's been a faithful husband for sixty years. He's paid his debts, forgave others their debts and been a loving father. When he gives advice, I not only listen, I follow it.
Jonesie, while different in many ways from my dad, is also very like him. He's been a good father, a good provider, a wonderful lover and a faithful friend. Kids and animals love him, well, our cat isn't a fan, but that's just because Jonesie wouldn't let the cat sleep on his face.
He's shown me he loves me, that he loves our life together, that we matter. It's nice that he's also said the words, but they wouldn't have meant much if he hadn't lived it for thirty-four years.
Romance, the true and lasting kind, takes more than sighs and words. It takes consistent action. It takes turning aside from anything that will take you away from each other. It's giving up the many great and enticing things that life throw at you, to make sure that you don't lose that person through neglect or indifference.
Anne Morrow Lindberg, in her Gifts from the Sea, points out that love is like the tide. Sometimes it goes out, but if you have faith that the tide will come in, you can wait it out. Faith is aided by the knowledge that the love you have between you is worth waiting for, that the time, the actions you've invested in the relationship are too important to throw away for short term pleasure.
I'm glad that after 34 years Jonesie can still make a thrill run down my back and my toes curl in my shoes--but I'm also glad he was there for me when I was too tired to feel my feet, let alone have them curl.
Thirty-four years ago he pledged to love me forever and for 34 years he's shown me he keeps his word.
Love isn't about proof or passing tests. Those are for schools and driver's licenses. Love is about living your feelings. It's about making mistakes and not just saying you're sorry, but showing it by mending the wrong. Love is forgiving, even when they don't deserve it.
Love isn't about letting someone hurt you over and over again.
If you want a love that lasts, let sweet words curl your toes but make sure their actions fit the words. If their actions don't match, they aren't a keeper and no amount of hope and wishing will make that frog into a prince.
Pauline, a stay at home mom, spouse and romantic, she is the author of eight novels of romantic suspense, humor and adventure. On her website she posts writing and life tips.