One is obvious to anyone who knows us; we have learned to love each other. The ancient Greeks were an intelligent people. They had six words for love while English has only one. In English, the same word is used for the affection between two people and a liking for potato chips.
When Barbara and I first met, we developed a fondness for each other, an attraction of two young people with hormones running wild. With the passing of years, we moved from youthful romantic love to an unconditional love as a couple. Each of us has developed a love where our partner has become the most important person in our life at the cost of our own personal wants and needs.
It is my contention that most marriages fail because many people do not grow in their love for their mates. Their concept of marriage does not expand beyond romance and no married couple can survive on sexual attraction alone; it fades and must constantly be renewed. Eventually for many, it becomes too hard to retrieve the old physical sensation with the same intensity and dies.
We have shared the second non-secret to our success numerous times when people ask us about our sustained romance. Nevertheless, it appears to be particular to us. That is, we have never encountered another couple who have made the same commitment to one another. While we had a formal wedding which included vows we exchanged in the presence of our family and friends, we also made a private vow to each other prior to our marriage. There was no ceremony, no candles, romantic music or warm atmosphere. I do not even remember where we were or what we were doing at the time. However, we made a verbal pledge, we spoke the words out loud. Our declaration to each other was clear and unmistakable.
Our promise was that we would never, under any circumstances, ever use the D-word in connection to our marriage. We would not speak the word in anger, frustration or antagonism and even decided that it included not joking about the word. We would not tease or mockingly use the D-word with each other or about each other. After 41 years of marriage, we have never used the word in a conversation between the two of us or with anyone else in reference to our marital relationship. Not in our most heated disagreements or lightest moments have we said it or implied the meaning of the word. It is a promise that we have faithfully kept.
It may be, for some, difficult to believe, yet I assure you that it is the absolute truth. Even now, I cannot bring myself to write the word as it relates to the union of Richard and Barbara Black. A habit of 41 years is hard to break.
In a world of instant everything and the fragility of obligations, contracts and agreements, it is often forgotten that anything which is worthwhile takes work, perseverance and determination. Rarely is anything of value or permanence gained easily. We have developed something special and enduring with a dedication to keeping our commitment.
Forty-Onederful Years of marriage speak for themselves.