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I read an article today that wiggled its way into my head and has swirled around ever since.  It wasn’t even a significant article but what it triggered in me has stirred up emotions planted by other things and left to grow roots.  In it, the author wrote about a relationship of eight years ending and the beginning of a new one.  She talked about how she felt at the beginning of that first relationship, the all-encompassing love, the sense of belonging, the hope she felt that it would be bliss forever.  She didn’t say very much about why or how it ended other than to say that she had met someone else who stole her heart away.  She goes on in the article to write about how this new person is her true soul mate, the one she was always meant to be with, “when you know, you just know.”

My first thought was how absurd.  On what basis does this woman think she can know for certain in a very new relationship that it is meant to be, especially having just admitted that she thought the same thing at the beginning of her previous relationship. It’s true that I don’t know her, or either of the partners she wrote about. I don’t know what this new relationship is like, what’s its built on, or (obviously) whether it really will last. I didn’t want to judge her, but I found myself thinking – how delusional, how stupid, how naïve.

But the more I thought about it, I began to wonder if she is not so alone in her experience.  So many of us promise our forever to someone. Sometimes relationships last through both joys and challenges. Other times it seems it was always destined to fall apart. I tried to justify thinking maybe there were red flags in her first relationship that she just didn’t notice.  Maybe if she was willing to look more honestly she would see the gaps in their “forever” that existed all along.

They say that love blinds us.  Does love blind us?  My wife read a quote recently that said “love is blind, marriage is the eye opener” and we laughed but I started to wonder what those words mean.

Kathryn and I have promised to choose each other above all else everyday for the rest of our lives.  We made those vows on our wedding day and we try to renew them each day in our words and actions toward each other.

Here’s where fear has started to take root.  I think the reason I wanted to know if there were red flags in that author’s first relationship was because I too feel like this love I have with Kathryn is meant to be forever. I can’t imagine meeting someone else who I feel this intensely drawn to or who sees me so completely, even in moments when I can sometimes barely see myself.

And my head starts to spin. What if she meets someone else?  What if life gets hard and we forget to be kind to each other or we start to take each other for granted or we just become bored?  She has told me so many times that she believes being committed to love is a choice that is made everyday, in every action, and that if she ever felt like she was unhappy she would communicate that to me. But I wouldn’t want her to stay in an unhappy relationship just because she had made a promise.

In a tv show that I watch, one of the main characters (who is married) was kissed by someone else and she wrestles with whether she should tell her spouse or not.  I asked Kathryn what she would do in that situation and she said she would tell me.  And I believe her.

But then that fear spins faster and I wonder.  Would she really tell me?  She might be afraid of hurting me.  She might be afraid I’d be angry.  It’s possible she might even wonder…

It’s a hypothetical situation and yet my eyes have begun to water.  So many times when I’ve struggled with my mental and emotional health I’ve feared that my behaviour in those moments will push her away.  I’ve been so afraid that my fear will ruin the good in our relationship.

Fear has a way of corroding everything in its path, of causing questioning, spinning, circling, wondering – causing yet more fear.

And when this kind of fear spins me in circles, I have tried to remind myself that I choose to love.  I choose to motivate my life based on love and not fear.  The only way to keep fear from corroding what is good is to bring it into the light.

I can’t control the future.  I don’t control Kathryn’s feelings and actions. And worrying about losing Kathryn – whether it’s to another person, or to the breakdown of our ability to communicate, or even to death – won’t make it more or less likely to happen.  What will affect our future is the choices I make today to motivate my life based on love and not fear.

And the possibility of these things happening doesn’t change the good that exists today. It doesn’t change the choice we make today to honour each other, to love and respect one another.

I don’t know if our “forever” will be forever.  I want it to be.  I believe Kathryn when she says she wants it to be.  And I know forever is not easy, that sometimes forever will be difficult choices, to love despite pain, to love in the face of fear.  To remember in small moments to appreciate what we have now.  To tell each other that regardless of forever I choose you in this moment.

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