Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Lucky in Love, Happily Ever After, and the Last Man by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

I didn't marry the first man I was in love with. Instead, I married one of his friends--who he introduced me to. To make our beginning even more auspicious, the friend didn't like me. Not even a little bit. Which was okay with me because, you know...I was in love with the other guy. It was fast with him, all heat and adrenalin and being thrilled and scared. Is this it? I'd wonder with my heart thumping. Will I always feel like this? Will HE always feel like this? Will we grow old together?

However, sometimes love stories that flash heat and excitement in the blink of an eye go to hell in a handbasket that fast, too. Such was the case of the guy I loved first and me. And it was messy. My heart was broken. Shattered. I wanted to...well, not die, but I wanted it to be all right again. To feel all that heat and sparkle and anticipation. Grow old together? I didn't even get to be 19! 

His buddy had been drafted into the army and was going to be leaving soon. We'd become friends by that time. Did I want to go out? 

Sure. Why not? Life as I knew it was over anyway.

He left in July. Came home in December for leave before shipping out to Vietnam. We saw each other almost every day. By the time he left, we were in pretty serious like. He proposed and I said No. I was still carrying a torch for the first guy, too. 

There's a lot more to it, but it's not just my story to tell, so I'll stop it there. Except that when he came home 14 months later, I asked him to marry me because I was afraid he wouldn't ask again. 

He said Yes. 

We have nothing in common. Through our married life, we have been at different times labor and management, morning and night, liberal and conservative (that part changed), Protestant and Catholic, country and city, talkative and quiet (and vice versa), writing and music, clumsy and athletic, cat person and no-pets-preferred. I like country roads, he prefers interstates, I could travel once a month forever, he could go forever and never travel again. His favorite color is white. Yes, white. My favorite color is all the others.

But this is where you get to the Gems' theme of the month, the whole "lucky in love" thing. In May, we will have been disagreeing about everything for 50 years. I think it would have been more peaceful if we'd had more in common--you accumulate a lot of emotional scar tissue in a long marriage to someone who's wrong about virtually everything 😄--but it wouldn't have been more fun. We didn't get married because we thought alike; we got married because we loved each other. 

We need a better term for Happily Ever After, don't we? So many of the Ever After days are sad, angry, or dreary. There are door-slammers, suitcase-packers, and don't-talk-to-me periods among the waking hours. There are times of intense loneliness and times you'd sell your soul for just a few days alone.

But I hardly ever think about the first guy I loved, whereas I start and end every day with his friend. We've said "I love you" every day for 50 years. And done our best to show it. (Sometimes "our best" sucks. Just sayin'.) Lucky, yeah, but luck in love needs to be intentional, doesn't it? 

First love was fun. Exciting. That flash of heat. Last love, though--it's just the luckiest thing there is. 





24 comments:

  1. What a fabulous post and yeah, lucky in last is the best!

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  2. Perfect post. You have a lot to write about when you disagree and are into adventures you'd never dreamed of taking. Enjoy your last love. He's the best.

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    1. Oh, the adventures. They do add so much to the overall picture!

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  3. I absolutely love this story!! My husband and I are similar to you. We did have common types of childhoods, but we have nothing in common. Even more so now than when we got married. Shows, books, music, what we like to talk about. SOOO different. When we tell people how long we've been married, we say, "Thirty-three years...at least 15 of them happily. But his 15 and my 15 aren't necessarily the same 15."
    But I make sure to do a bunch of stuff that he likes doing, and he makes sure to do a bunch of stuff that I like doing. Compromise. And every now and then we realize that doing what the other wants to do isn't so bad...because you're with someone you love!

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    1. I love that about the 15 years. I know we've talked about best and worst days, and they're not the same, either. We do share a lot of likes, but it was definitely a learned process!

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  4. Love that lasts. That's the best kind.

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    1. I feel so very lucky that we have had that. We talked yesterday about people in long marriages getting divorced. I don't want that, but I CAN understand it. I can imagine divorce, but what I can't imagine is us not loving each other. I was kind of glad to realize that. He was, too.

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  5. Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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  6. I am a proponent of loving with your head. Doesn't mean you are any less romantic. Heat and sizzle often equates to quick fizzle.

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    1. It’s one of those phenomena that belong mostly to the young, I think!

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  7. How wonderful! And you're right about what Happily Ever After really is. This is such an awesome story and congratulations on 50 years!

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  8. Oh, Liz. What a wonderful post. It's difficult for two intelligent beings to live together, but it's so worth it.

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    1. It is, isn’t it? And there are unexplainable riches to be gained in accomplishing it.

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  9. This is an absolutely wonderful post, Liz. And a lot of wisdom. You're lucky indeed.

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    1. Thanks, Hannah. That "wisdom" is sure hard-won, though, isn't it? :-)

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  10. You're going to get to 50 about 2 months before me and my husband do and I definitely know it takes a lot of luck to get there. But it also takes a whole lot of hard work. You both obviously have done that part. Congratulations and I hope you and whatshisname have many, many more loving years--cause that is what gets you through the hard work! So far, so good. Right?

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