My claim to fame, as far as I'm concerned is setting up two of my favorite people. I created a whole singles event just to camouflage my intentions. They are now just under ten years into what I consider to be an inspiring marriage. They still, to this day, make each other genuinely laugh like they did the day they met.
The other day it was Elisa's birthday and from the moment she woke up Bob celebrated her with surprises galore, including making a homemade birthday cake -- his first ever. It was perfectly, exquisitely made, which as a baker myself I think is practically a miracle. But that aside, it was incredibly delicious and I swear the secret ingredient was the "Like Water for Chocolate" love he added.
I am surrounded by happy, loving marriages that inspire me. I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses either. You can't fake making each other laugh, or the fact that a glance from across the room makes your face light up. These couples truly delight in making each other happy. They make it their business to do so.
I had a mentor once who said that the secret to her 20-something year marriage was that they each woke up with the thought "What can I do to make my love happy today?" She told this story with a mischievous twinkle in her eye as if she delighted in scheming to bring joy to her love's heart.
I have a single wildly attractive 82 year old friend who lost her husband far too young. They were in their early 50s when he had a sudden heart attack after being given a clean bill of health. She recently mentioned that she has only known one truly happy, loving marriage. She was neither citing her marriage, nor her son's. I have known her son since we were 14 years old, and have watched his marriage of roughly 25 years endure some extraordinary stress, only to grow more beautiful and happy as the years progressed. They, too, still make each other laugh, and celebrate each other daily. It moves me to tears when I see her walk in a room dressed up and see it take his breath away even for a split second.
Are my standards too low? Absolutely not.
Am I looking to be inspired? Definitely.
And there is just too darned little acknowledgment going around in this world. When a couple can get through life-threatening diseases, losing children, extreme money issues, losing jobs, etc. and come through the other side with the flame in their hearts still lit, that is heroic. I have seen many of my couple friends reach out to guard their partner's flame when the other's protective walls were tumbling down due to excruciating pain.
I'm not saying the road was easy for any of these inspiring couples, or that every day is laughter-filled. But damn it, the more we acknowledge the heroism of nurturing love rather than succumbing to pain, the better off we all will be.
How many times has an acknowledgment made you take another step? How often has someone else's acknowledgment made you realize that in fact, darn it all, you had accomplished something fairly amazing. Acknowledgment by total strangers helped me complete a marathon. Acknowledgment by friends helped me recover from a broken heart, stronger and better than ever. Acknowledgment by mentors gave me hope that I might be onto something with my new book. It makes a difference.
I am lucky to be surrounded by loving couples all of whom deserve more acknowledgment. I consider them all superheroes. Superheroes make cakes when they don't know how. Superheroes make their spouses burst out laughing in the middle of a heated discussion. Superheroes make compromises, go out of their way, and run an extra mile here and there for their partners who need to be #1 for a time.
It's a dance, and you don't have to be in the marriage to be a part of the celebration. Like at the first dance of the wedding (yes, it's Elisa and Bob nearly a decade ago), we can applaud and cheer from the sidelines.