We are not two, we are one

Today, press day, Tuesday, October 27 is the 37th anniversary of Denise and I getting married. We have nothing special planned. Actually, we never really did on this day.

Since day one, we’ve never been blessed with the type of bankroll that would allow us to go to tropical islands, take cruises, or go on extensive trips.

Once in a while we could manage a weekend get-away, or eat at a place that isn’t graced by big arches.

But that’s not important. We’ve been blessed in other ways — with four great children, and the fact that we’re still together after all these years.

We were married in a church that later burned to the ground, taking a whole city block with it. We were married by a man who is no longer a priest. We were married in a parish that no longer exists. Three of our children attended a Catholic school that no longer exists. The fourth never got to go because the Good Lord loved him so much He took him back after only a few days.

The days of starry-eyes and Camelot romance have long since passed. We had 10 months of living alone before our children wanted a piece of our lives.

Our lives have been ones of sacrifice for our kiddies, but those sacrifices were wise investments in the futures of our kids. No regrets there — ever.

We have never been the poster people for the perfect couple. To paraphrase Led Zeppelin, “Good times, bad times, you know we’ve had our share.”

There have been lots of laughs, and lots of tears. We’ve had our share of disagreements and arguments; periods of silence and anger. And yes, we have countless times gone to bed angry, without saying, “I’m sorry.”

In fact, through the last 37 years, we never really did apologize for hurting the other — the remorse was sensed and accepted. That’s what happens when two are no longer two, but one.

Through the years, we have, as one, been hurt and disappointed by others, even by some in our beloved Church, yet we’ve always had each other to soothe the pain and erase the disappointment.

I think it’s been a long time since we’ve been “in love,” but we’ve always loved each other. I think being “in love” is far less iron-clad as loving each other.

I’ve often shared in a witness talk at Confirmation and Emmaus retreats, “When we were first married we cut so many corners, all of our furniture was round.” “In love” doesn’t get you through that, love does. “In love” doesn’t get you through the death of a child, love does.

Getting through or around major illnesses and worries isn’t buffered by being “in love,” it’s the impenetrable armor of loving each other that does.

And I hate to say that there are times when we question whether God even cares about us, but the love we have for each other ultimately comes from Him, so that, too, passes.

Even today, there are some major storm clouds gathering on several horizons, and the waters have risen around us to a level we’ve never before encountered, but the bond we’ve forged over the last 37 years will sustain us. We know we have each other’s back. That’s what love is.

Last week I went to a Dave Davies’ concert in Fall River. He was a member of one of my all-time favorite bands, The Kinks. I went with a friend and not Denise, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t think of her when he performed a Kinks’ classic written by Dave, “Strangers.” I’ll close this tribute to my wife with a few lines from the song: 

“So I will follow you wherever you go, if your offered hand is still open to me. Strangers on this road we are on. We are not two, we are one. We are not two, we are one.”


© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts