A Marriage of Heaven and Earth

All you need is love...

The other day my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary; we have been together for a total of 17 years.  Outside of my family, that’s the longest loving relationship I’ve ever been in.  Today, as I waited for our oatmeal to cook, I began to think about what my morning was like 15 years ago, the day of our wedding.  My six year old son, Jacob, was so excited about his tuxedo and bow tie, that he stood at the kitchen table, wolfing down his cereal, begging for a bath.  Skip was too nervous to eat and the only thing keeping me connected to my body was my inner dialogue with Mother Nature begging her to stave off the rain gods for just one more day!  Nine hours later, Skip, Jacob and I were married at the Hotel Bel Air; the swans gracefully skimming along the pond, our friends and family gathered together outside as the clear blue sky changed into a purplish hue of reverence — witness to our vows.  After 40 years on this earth, my brand, spanking new husband gifted to me a beautiful wedding and one helluva party afterwards.  I reference back to that magnificent day all the time for soulful nurturance.

So fifteen years later, I’m in our kitchen making oatmeal and I turn to my Prince Charming and this is what I see – a middle aged man, with a bit of a Buddha belly (good for rubbing), thinning hair (styled to mimic a cockatiel’s distinctly erectile crest also known as bed head), and a thin wad of tissue shoved into his right nostril, (a very functional and inexpensive way to eradicate the flow of mucous from one heck of a cold.)  Gerard Butler, look out!  I smile at Skip and beg him to allow me to photograph this beautiful image before me.  He studies me for a moment, letting me know with the blink of his hooded blue eyes that I’m a vision to behold as well, and says quite lovingly, “Yes, you may take a picture of me, but if you do, I’ll have to kill you.”  Please take note, this is my husband’s warped sense of humor; Skip ushers spiders out of the house via Kleenex or glass jar.

A friend of mine asked me if I see myself married to Skip for the rest of my life.  Had she asked me that last Tuesday, I would have said yes, but my fingers would have been crossed behind my back, but as I write this, 24 hours after we celebrated our anniversary, the answer is yes, yes, emphatically YES!  Has it been bliss?  There have been moments, long moments of bliss, but there has also been interminable moments of pain.

Truth be told, I really believed that once I found the right man, fell in love, and married, that I was set for life. I was going to live in the land of Bliss on a mountaintop overlooking a beautiful lake, called Security.  Growing up, I had a serious crush on John Lennon, so when he sang, “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, love…love is all you need, it’s EASY” I believed him. 15 married years later, a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, a lot of pain, a lot of pleasure, a lot of making love to make up, a lot of not making love to stay unloving and unlovable, well, let’s just say that belief is limiting; actually that belief sabotages the spiritual truth that love is – drum roll if you please – transformational.  It requires that we CHANGE.  It insists that we accept being VULNERABLE.  Why vulnerable?  Why change?  Because when you live with and love another in an intimate, conscious way, that person constantly illuminates those dark things that dwell inside of us; our worst fears, our habitual patterns, our neurotic ways of being that make us feel “safe,” but really limit us and disconnect us from our ability to love and be loved.

This is the good news, bad news bears …Our partner shines this gigantic searchlight into the very core of our humanness – our pain, our fears, our sadness, our confusion, our aloneness, but if all of that “stuff” isn’t illuminated, then how can we meet ourselves just as we are, find compassion for ourselves, flawed, imperfect, a work in progress, and develop a truly loving, kindness toward ourselves?  And that requires self-acceptance, which I believe to be the foundational building block for self-love.  Because if you’re not loving yourself, than how are you loving someone else?  And bigger still, how can you possibly feel worthy and open to the love coming toward you from another.

I read a beautiful quote from Wayne Muller that said, “No more is required of us than this:  that we love ourselves and one another with gentleness and mercy, for we each carry within us the tender heart of God.”

Happy anniversary, Skip.  You are a heavenly mirror for me to see – really see –who I Am in this exact moment of time and who I’d like to become.  With you asmy life partner, I hold a tremendous desire in my heart to be an unconditional source of kindness and love for myself and for you.

Perhaps my marriage to Skip is heavenly bliss manifested here on earth after all.

The way we were...

The way we are...

19 thoughts on “A Marriage of Heaven and Earth

  1. So lovely, moving, heartfelt, honest, funny. Your words brought me right into your kitchen and I could see the two of you. I come away from this and notice how feeling loved by Skip allows you to connect with something rich and powerful in you. I feel, like John Welwood says, that no one can ever provide the connection that finally puts our soul at ease but that you have found the connection that allows the window of your heart to open so you can be you. Skip has given your heart a home. I laughed out loud at Prince Charming, the line about the cockatiel, and how you describe what the tissue does. Your candor and gift of language is a treat to read. It is such an honor to be your BFF, soul sister and be able to watch you in your process. Love you, hannah

  2. a beautiful post and i think the two pictures you have chosen are a beautiful illustration, there is a real sense of growing together in the second one that is so lovely to see. congrats!

  3. Been there, done that, and now onto year 32! Time does fly at the speed of light. It’s funny that an anniversary makes you hunker down to take a look at what’s come and gone, and what will come in the future., Lovely, JB

  4. I love this blog…and I have to say..youre pic after is even lovelier than your before pic…so all I can assume from that..is that a loving happy marriage agrees with you!!! I cant wait for your next blog!!

  5. I loved reading about the quality of your relationship-about how each of you wants the best for the other…it’s a story of a wonderful journey…great read

  6. I love your style, I got warm fuzzies throughout reading this. We’ve been married 32 years, I could relate to your story. Keep writing please!

  7. Brauna, I so enjoyed this blog. Looking forward to reading your others for this is my first reading of your word creations. You got it right self~ acceptance, self~love. I was taught this young, not really understanding it until I was in my late teens.
    It makes Bliss.
    Happy Anniversary to you both.

  8. Great post. Love your willingness to share….Your photos are gorgeous, then and now!

    Congrats…We’re into year 11 (!) and it’s the longest I’ve ever been with anyone. My first (miserable) marriage lasted a total of seven (sad, lonely, angry) years,no kids. My sweetie and I, now in our early 50s, are enjoying the hell out of each other and feel lucky to have found one another. But, both of us being hard-shelled driven journos, whose primary identity was work, it took years for us to (re) place it with one another as the most important in our lives.

    That does, as you wisely say, mean — gulp — making yourself vulnerable. It’s hard to do if you’ve never done it before. Then it becomes normal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s