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  • Dear Son,

    Your words regarding love and marriage the other day have haunted me since we talked. I don’t know that I am very qualified to say much about this subject, but I felt saddened when I heard you say that divorce seems to be an extension of marriage, an inevitable result of two people’s commitment to each other. I also know that your parents didn’t model well the benefits of long term relationship, but if you look at our second marriages maybe you can see a bit more hope in longevity of commitment.

    Please understand that my words are not about you and your present beloved as she may or not be the person who you choose as a partner, but I do hope you to find a person who you can trust in the love and long term commitment that two people can make and keep.

    Most of us walk into our first love commitment thinking it is all about hearts and flowers, but the truth is that it is the hardest emotional experience of anyone’s life. As Kahill Gibran describes it:

    “When love beckons…follow…though the ways are hard and steep…may wound…may shatter your dreams….As love crowns you so shall it crucify you”

    When I married your dad, I was very young and nïave and thought that marriage meant happily ever after. This is not at all what it is about. It is about friendship, equality, and learning to be flexible. It is about having the courage to see yourself through another’s eyes and heart even if what they see is not so pretty. It’s about forgiveness and understanding and shedding old ways that our ego loves to hold onto in order to stand in our own vulnerability, so that we can grow both individually and with each other.

    Once a couple gets past the sexual part of their love, they are faced with the choice of seeing purpose in their relationship beyond sexual attraction. This is when love becomes the tool of cultivation. Like a garden; one must do more than plant a seed and expect it to grow into its full abundance. It takes daily maintenance, the ability to accept when the plant doesn’t mature what must be done differently to enhance its growth. It takes the ability to see beyond our mistakes into the opportunity to grow and learn another way to bring forth the flower or the fruit.

    Gardening reminds us constantly that we truly aren’t in control; however, we have the choice of accepting each year’s harvest as an opportunity to see what we have done correctly and what we have failed to do. Each new year’s seeds become the opportunity to grow through our mistakes and to make the necessary changes in order to bring forth a new season’s harvest. Each year a new lesson in life’s gardening, if we have the courage to face our mistakes and change in order to make better next year’s crop.

    With your father, I got lost in my own expectations of what I thought he should be for me and when he didn’t live up to it, I became angry and judgmental which led us down a path of unforgiveness.

    With my present partner, I have learned that I really have no control over who he is and what he chooses. I have but one choice: accept him for who he is. I have found we are more like a mirror to each other, and if I have the courage, this mirroring is an opportunity for me to look deeper into myself in order to shed those things that restrict our compatibility.

    It helps me remember that neither of us are perfect, yet together we do seem to help bring the best of each other out and that each day, month, and year is another test to what is truly important. Having my own way and expectations met is not always the best result. Learning to bend and be a part of a whole seems much more heartwarming and is a foundation to my growth as an individual as well as a couple.

    There is nothing easy or smooth sailing about a true love relationship. It is more like living through a storm trusting that the rainbow always seems to come at the end of the storm.
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