Today is the eighth anniversary of our marriage, and we’re off to a two-day holiday in the mountains north of here to celebrate.
I created a card for Shonnie and gave it to her this morning:
Happy anniversary, my sweet Shonnie!
The longer we’re together, the more certain I am that we’re supposed to be. We’ve created such a rich and fulfilling life together in just eight (plus 2.5) years together, I look forward to seeing what we manifest in the coming decade. I love you, I love you, I love you!
And Shonnie responded with a card and a note of her own:
Once upon a time
two people fell in love . . .
They took every smile and every tear,
a few differences of opinion,
some major triumphs,
and several minor miracles,
and turned them into something very beautiful.
I love what we’ve made together.
I love you.
In just 8 years of marriage we’ve been on such a fantastic, interesting, challenging, opening, expanding, enjoyable journey. As this card says, “I love what we’ve made together.” I look forward to many more memories as we travel into our future. I feel confident in our abiity to find/create/follow the best life path for us and I feel grateful that we are so good at sharing all parts of the journey with love, grace, humor, agility and strength.
With love and gratitude, Shonnie
Yesterday I wrote about how we’ve created a rich and rewarding relationship. Below are my thoughts on this:
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Tomorrow we will have been married eight years. In addition, we lived together for more than two years prior to our marriage. Our relationship continues to grow, deepen and become more fulfilling. Some of the reasons for this include:
We were both clear about what we wanted in a primary relationship (and what we didn’t want) before committing to one another. In fact, I (Bruce) had a four-page typed list of attributes I wanted in a mate. Approximately ten of these were non-negotiable, including authenticity, integrity, compassion, physical attractiveness, athleticism, and commitment to personal and spiritual growth. By going through this process, I gained the clarity I needed as to who I was looking for and where they’d be hanging out. Then the Universe responded. I met Shonnie at a marathon training group in Austin in the summer of 1995.
We have a clear vision about where we want to go together. We are not on the exact same path, but we do have a similar vision of where we want to go in terms of right livelihood, spirituality, personal growth, sustainability, and service. To paraphrase Neale Donald Walsch, the two questions that must be answered are “Where are you going?” and “Who’s going with you?” And they must be answered in that order. Not to do so presents problems for couples, if not now, then somewhere down the road.
Our values are in alignment. We were clear that we both valued love, compassion, honesty, integrity, authenticity, commitment, impeccability, emotional and spiritual growth, generosity, service, gratitude, playfulness, and simplicity early in our relationship.
We made a deep and abiding commitment up front, and we keep that commitment. Before we moved in together, we created agreements about how we would be with one another. And before we married we created marriage vows for the ceremony and as commitments for how we would live our lives together.
We meet regularly to review our vows/commitments, acknowledge one another, and tell our truths. In fact, at each evening meal we state at least one thing we’re grateful for, then acknowledge each other for at least one thing they did that day.
We tell the truth. Each of us tells the truth even when we believe it might be challenging for the other to hear. And we do our best to really listen when that truth is being told.
We focus on what is working in the relationship and the positive attributes of one another. The tendency in today’s culture is to focus on what’s not working and what we don’t like about our partners. To do so, guarantees that more of the same will be created. On the other hand . . .
We clean up our space as we go. We step over nothing. For example, if I (Bruce) do something thoughtless, disrespectful or unloving, Shonnie has committed to bring it to my attention in a way that I can hear it.
We refuse to hold onto ill will. This is the real relationship killer–resentment that has built up over weeks, months, years and creates walls between partners. We have a process that we use regularly to cleanse ourselves of resentment.
We support each other to be fully authentic, rather than try to get our partner to become the person we sometimes might like him/her to be.
Thanks to all of you who have acknowledged us on our special day. And thanks to those of you–family and friends–who helped create our marriage weekend May 28-30, 1999 (see photo above). This remains one of our fondest memories during all of our time together.