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Sue -

I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again.

Today is my wife’s 60th birthday. We are experiencing a semi-empty nest situation where our kids are no longer underfoot all the time, but away at college and we see them on weekends.

To our surprise, we have found that we actually enjoy each other’s company now that the sturm und drang of child-rearing are mostly over. It is so hard to say why our marriage has lasted 25 years, except that I still prefer her to every other woman I know and she prefers me to every other man.

I think there is/was an element of fate or Divine Providence involved in that the very first time I met her I heard a voice in my head: “This young woman is going to bear your children. Treat her with respect.” It took me six years to convince her of this, though, and the road to the altar was exceptionally rocky. We are both of us deeply religious [although of different religions], so it makes sense within our narrative.

One thing I did do early on was to win over her mother. I invested a lot of time and energy in making sure Mama thought well of me. That investment paid off handsomely when the inevitable marital spats arose. I simply had to call up Mama and put my wife on the phone with her and let Mama do my work for me. I have to say that my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was a remarkably fine woman and a pleasure to know.

Now, 25 years later, I cannot tell my story without it inevitably being a story about her. Our narratives have blended, and it would do unnatural violence to it to rend it asunder. That will happen too soon when one of us passes. No need to go looking for trouble.

I also have to admit that I was fortunate in finding a traditional-minded, very attractive woman who had been burned by a couple of alphas [one of them French] and was ready for the Beta With Benefits treatment.

2INTJ February 15, 2013 at 11:16 am
@ Susan

Good article, though it is aimed mostly at female readers:

Companionate love, what Helen Fisher calls Attachment, does not preclude intense desire or happiness. Fisher and others recommend that couples do novel things together to stimulate the dopamine response. In other words, you don’t just stop trying. Couples mistakenly assume that the waning of OCD-like behavior is a bad sign. This assumption pervades the culture, and makes many young people wary of signing a lease for a “depreciating asset.”

I doubt many guys consider it a depreciating asset because passionate love ends. In general, I don’t see many guys seeking passionate love – at least until they actually experiencing it.