January 29, 2017


Two close female friends are in the starry-eyed, hopeful, dreamy state that the movies depict as falling in love. Everybody remembers how it feels, the excitement, the wondering if the other feels the same. The waiting for a call if you are female, the wondering if it’s too soon to call if male. (I don’t think the man calling first rule has entirely gone away in this free and easy era.)


Both friends are mature, experienced women, no longer sure that there really is a “happily ever after.” However, for them these early stages are just as poignant as they were at twenty. So far, both are thoroughly delighted with the man they hope is a prince. Both wonder what the future will hold. Both can’t help hoping to find a permanent companion.


What are the odds? I don’t want to even speculate whether both will be able to maintain this hope or not. But these initial stages are a lot of fun. The mystery of attraction makes us feel zingy. Very compelling the happiness boost of finding that an attractive man thinks you are attractive and seeking you out.


If both or either of these budding romances blooms, the decisions that must be made are very difficult. These women have families. The women are free to become engaged to a man and to marry if it works out, but there’s always a hassle involved. The hassle is part of the excitement, but also signals the phase of cooling down and asking, “Do I really want to go through with this?”


I’m not talking here about the everyday free sexual behavior so common around us. . These women are not in “fling” mode although the feelings are strong and the attractions magnetic  When they think of the future, they are thinking of marriage, companionship, mutual fidelity, the long term, so they’re not going to hop into bed without commitments. Nor are they looking to be “kept” or out for just a good time for a while. They long for the love that adjusts to different states of health, the coming of old age, the changes in personality as we grow. In fact, they are not daring to expect a fairy tale because both understand that relationships can turn out to be nightmares.


When they discover the down sides, and of course there will be many, they may be disappointed even if the relationship ripens. Both sides will have eyes opened to reality.  It won’t be like the story of the bride’s saying, “Oh, Mom, this is the end of all my troubles.” The mom answers, “Yes, dear. You just don’t know which end.” Couples must  be determined to work out problems if they believe in marriage. The most difficult task in the world is to put a marriage together successfully, and it never ceases to be challenging: “in sickness or in health, in poverty or wealth,” in times good and bad.


I remember how lovely being twitter pated is and envy them in a way. But after fifty-three years of marriage, I have a sweet, secure, almost seamless love that means we don’t even have to talk.


Wait! That’s terrible!  Instead of thinking we know everything about each other and having a future of boredom or mere routine, we can expand our relationship. Just because we know each other so well doesn’t mean we have nothing to learn about each other. I have some cards that inspire conversation. Each randomly asks the holder to say something such as, “Tell about a fear you had when you were a child.”  “When were you tempted to steal something?”  “Describe the most wonderful vacation possible (sky’s the limit).” We started doing that for a couple of weeks, and it was fun. I wonder what happened to those cards. Maybe we’re not going to get twitter pated again, but I’ll bet we can stir up something together besides doing crossword puzzles and other games on the I-pad side by side. Is that togetherness? PMA