I recently met a woman whose husband had just passed away.
They had been married for 64 years. We got to talking about what made her marriage successful. She said like anything that’s made to last, it all started with the proper foundation.
Love, respect, mutual admiration and deciding what to eat for dinner all topped her list. The last one she said as a smile crept across her face.
She then asked me what my favorite part of the wedding ceremony was. I glibly replied, “That I’m not the one getting married.” We both laughed. I told her that I used to be an altar boy so my favorite part was the look in the people’s eyes when they exchanged vows. Sometimes I would think to myself, that’s probably the happiest they’ll ever be.
I then asked her what she enjoyed most. She replied that she just loved the part at the reception where they would bring all the married couples out on the dance floor and as they slow-danced, the emcee would recognize the years they were married. First, it was the newlyweds, then one year, then five years and so on.
She had a little twinkle in her eyes as she was reminiscing about all the couples enjoying the moment. There was pride in her voice when she said that many times she and her husband were the last ones remaining. As they danced, she and her husband would look over at the new couple and just smile. For a brief moment, they were transported back in time.
As one journey was beginning, another was carrying years of memories. I could tell there was a bit of sadness hidden behind her eyes, but there was also a lot of joy of a life well lived with the right person beside her the whole way. I remarked that there is nothing quite like unconditional love.
Another smile crept across her face as she told me love is neither conditional or unconditional. She said love stands on its own. She added, “If there are conditions attached then it really isn’t love”.
As she left, I pondered her comments. I thought about all the beautiful little moments she must have shared with her husband. I thought about all the weddings they must have attended and the feeling they had on those dance floors. It’s in those moments that life and love exist in beautiful harmony, neither conditional or unconditional. Love can never truly be defined or adequately explained. Love just exists and if you’re fortunate enough to find a special person to share that love with, you are blessed.