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Love Still Makes Our World Turn

Love, evolving, never-ending

By Barb DukemanPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
Feeling those butterflies yet?

Peeling apart the layers, love can come through looking unrecognizable, not like the puppy love we felt in middle school. Through time love can morph into thousands of facets, a shiny diamond at times, and an ugly rock at others. It has the same elements, but like physical matter has different states, love has different forms also. It often starts with butterflies.

Butterflies infested my insides on our first date. We went to a zoo, walked along the beach, and stole a few kisses. As I drove my way home, I distinctly remember the windows being rolled down on that cold December day as I was singing at the top of my lungs. I don’t remember what I was singing; it could have been U2 or a favorite mixtape. I just remember those butterflies being huge and moth-like.

How and when we fall in love differs so much in each relationship. What made our first date a little weird was that I was friends with his -ahem- current girlfriend. Let me clarify: their relationship had run its course, and she was ready to move on. I came in as pinch hitter and the ball landed perfectly. It did take him four and a half years to realize I was The One, but it was well worth the wait. Did I steal this love? No, I caught it out in the open as it rebounded against a wall. It was finally my turn at bat.

After a spectacular twelve-hour wedding and reception with rain, lightning, fire, and a rainbow, we entered the honeymoon phase, also known as BC (before children). It’s true that our occupations kept us busy and sometimes apart due to shift work, but love slips through like sunlight through the slats of horizontal blinds. When we did find time for one another, it was magical, even if it was wearing pajamas and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos with a bowl of microwaved popcorn. We were together, and we felt together.

Not to say that love doesn’t get prickly sometimes. Communication, and plenty of it, is key to keeping the color of love inside the lines. When messages aren’t making it through, guesswork can be disastrous. Plans get ruined, events missed, intentions misunderstood, feelings hurt, and all because one of us forget to tell the other person something important. Prickly – think of a porcupine when it gets scared. POOF – out come the quills, sharp and dangerous. And unnecessary. A note on the stove, a post-it on the door, or a piece of paper taped to the coffee pot. Just getting that communication out there made all the difference. Being mad at a partner is one thing; staying mad is a fool’s choice.

Love is sticky as well. AC (after children) we started to see that pattern. Every physical surface was tacky with milk, juice, Silly Putty, those rubbery-hand-toys that stick to car windows, and other substances. Mental surfaces were sticky with what-ifs and remember-whens…pieces of the past and the unwritten future glued everywhere in no particular order. In the now with children, it’s easy to lose focus. The stickiness of daily chores, appointments, meetings, sports, scouts, and all those calendar-covering dots that fill our lives. The surfaces of love become tacky and everything sticks to it, sometimes like a sandspur on our shorts. It takes time and effort to reduce the stickiness to a more manageable and sandspur-free level.

It’s the velvet moments we live for. The forces of the universe align, and we find time to be together, alone, and savor what we live for....chocolate we don’t have to share with anyone. That, in addition to sexual adventures that seasoned lovers share. Giggling when the dogs are whining at the bedroom door, or the phone rings, or a knock on the door announcing a project that’s due tomorrow. The knowledge that we’ll make it back together is soft and smooth, a velvety patina on a long-term relationship. Yes, there might be some areas that need refinement, but the comfortable arrangement of time vs. space in a loving relationship is warm and inviting. We can feel the edges soften even more over time.

In our vows we mentioned how we would maintain love "in sickness and in health." That can involve a lot of bodily fluids and solids we don't normally see. We take turns with this one because we trust one another implicitly; no one else took our vows for us. The hardest part of this one is that we might end up hurting the other, and that is the worst feeling in the world. A splinter requires some digging around, and so does a tick. Repacking wound dressings from surgery might be a part of what we do. Blood, stitches, dental extractions, vomit, and even colonoscopies might need another set of hands to help or a soothing voice and a glass of water. It's gross, but we do it because it strengthens what we have. Another layer to our love.

A song from the late 1970s from Sweet called Love is Like Oxygen hit the spot with “You get too much, you get too high/Not enough and you're gonna die/Love gets you high.” That pretty much sums up the essence of a married life when love is still present. It’s a need, it’s a demand, it’s essential to life. However, too much of a good thing is…well, bad? Is it possible to go overboard with love? Can we ever go so far out of our way to make sure our partner’s needs are met? The answer is simply no. The more you give, the more you get. My father tried to explain that with how we love our children. Having more than one doesn’t mean that your love for them is divided. It multiplies with each child. The same for the love we pour out year after year for one another; it can’t go stale or too sweet. It’s always just the right amount if you make love the center of your world.

Love can get loud, funny, cloudy, hungry, quiet, or nerve-wracking as it serves as a bridge from the past to the future. It takes a huge investment of time, work, and vision. Where do we want to go? Who do we want to be? The older we get, the better it gets. That’s a hard truth (or hope?) for twenty-somethings who look at older generations and don’t get it. Why are we still together if there is so much “more” out there? Choices? That’s not how our love has been shaped over the years. We understand there are other frameworks that happily support different relationships. We’re just happy with who we are right now. We accept the challenges that test our love; as partners we recognize that’s going to happen. It’s a given that this world is full of wormholes and speedbumps that we must travel around, or through, to get to the other side unscathed.

ceremony and reception

About the Creator

Barb Dukeman

After 32 years of teaching high school English, I've started writing again and loving every minute of it. I enjoy bringing ideas to life and the concept of leaving behind a legacy.

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