One of my favourite literary passages was printed on our wedding invitations.
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
― Louis de Bernieres, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
About a month ago, I went out for margaritas with a friend and she asked me how I knew my husband was ‘the one.’
I thought back to those early days, a dozen years ago, when the earthquakes were still erupting.
I couldn’t say exactly ‘how’ I knew. But I did know. I wrote in my diary after our third date that I was going to marry him.
The conversation between my friend and I drifted to her grandmother. My friend spoke about how she had washed her grandmother in the shower that day. How it was only family members she let bathe her, rather than nursing home staff.
Can you imagine being in that position? she asked. Becoming that vulnerable and putting your trust in someone to take care of you like that? It’s not pretty.
Then I realised how I knew my husband was ‘the one.’
It may not have been immediately apparent in our state of temporary madness. But it is now.
Can I imagine growing old and frail by his side, becoming so vulnerable that I need to be bathed, dressed, fed by him? Can I imagine him growing old and frail by my side, becoming so vulnerable that he needs to be bathed, dressed, fed by me?
It’s not pretty, but that’s what love is. It’s what is left over when being ‘in love’ has burned away.
Our roots have grown towards each other underground, and as all the pretty blossoms begin to fall from our branches, I have already found that we are one tree and not two.
– Tomorrow is our fifth wedding anniversary.