Monday, October 30, 2006

Madly, Crazy, Wildly in LOVE!

One of the online courses I teach is Sociology of the Family. In the discussion area for that class the students have been debating whether or not it is possible for a single monogamous relationship to meet a couple's emotional needs throughout the life course and if it is realistic to expect such a relationship to remain passionate over many years. The opinions expressed have been all over the map. Some have said YES, that by making the right choices a relationship can continue to grow in power and intimacy. Others have insisted NO, that familiarity will wear the passion out over time.

This was my response:

After a quarter century of marriage I am madly, passionately, crazy in love with my husband. I look at him and I get weak in the knees. Yes, we have the comfortable security of a long term relationship. But we also have that catch in your throat, heat in the loins PASSION raging strong. I know it's possible. I'm living proof.
I know all too well that long term monogamous marriage is a huge challenge that can get derailed by a million and one things if you let it. But if both partners are willing to do the work it takes, the pay off is well worth it. This is a second marriage for both of us so we both know all too well what happens when the relationship is taken for granted or if either partner is more concerned with self than with the union.
Our happiness together is NOT a product of exclusively shiny circumstances. Our marriage has definitely had some big challenges - merging kids from both our first marriages into one family, dealing with the death of a child, an extended period of unemployment, moving eight different times due to corporate mergers, health crisis, you name it! We aren't blissful because it has been easy. We are best friends savoring our lives together because we have learned to operate as a supportive team during the tough times as well as the celebrations.
Life is messy and families are complicated. But YES, marital satisfaction is possible over the long haul. It's one of the greatest blessings of my life.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fish Liberation

Frodo and Sam have gone on a new journey. Not the ones in the Tolkein tale. The ones from my pond.

I have a small pond in my front yard with a bubbling, gurgling waterfall that I love to listen to while sitting out on my porch. Generally I've kept the thing running all winter long by putting a small stock tank heater in it to keep it from icing over.

However, I also have several giant, near 100 year old maple trees that are blanketing the yard (and therefore the pond) with many grand piles of leaves. It's a bit of a battle to keep it clear this time of year.

After giving it some thought, I decided to drain the pond and give the pump a rest for the winter this year. That will allow me to scrub the thing out good, get some new filter material and start fresh in the spring - with the added bonus of not having to keep scooping cold gooey leaves out of the water every few days all autumn long.

However, shutting down the pond for the first time in four years meant I had to find a new home for Frodo and Sam, the two giant Shubunkin fish who made kingdom there. So I scooped them into gallon sized zip log bags of water, put them in a bucket and carted them off to a new pond that happens to be at the college where I work. I walk from my office up to the pond just about every day on my lunch hour just to get some fresh air and exercise. So I'll get to visit my pals and watch them grow in the deeper, larger, more versatile environment. They also now have a whole host of new friends to get acquainted with.

The fish in the college pond are mostly just plain gold fish. I don't know if Shubunkin and goldfish are closely enough related to make babies together...I kinda hope so. My fish are beautiful mottled calico colors of black and white and gold with large, sweeping fins and extra fancy tails. The goldfish are just ordinary, run of the mill goldfish. I think it would be kind of cool if next summer I start to seem some multi-colored babies with long tails show up during my walks there.