love is a project

That first Valentine’s Day, I flew to Los Angeles and Michael met me at the airport with a
dozen red roses. His apartment was filled with dozens of shiny heart balloons and one giant pair of lips
bobbing in the living room. In the fridge was a small round
cake with
I Dig You Baby scrawled on white frosting.

On Saturday we strolled the sunny streets of Santa Monica. Michael wore a big
straw hat. We held hands and wandered in and out of shops. Two people with a camera
and microphone stopped to interview us about an upcoming John Gray video they were
shooting. John Gray, the author of
Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars. The
question was posed: How do couples stay together? We smiled, arms wrapped tightly
around each other, so certain.

“Talk to each other,” we said, “communication is everything.”


It’s been 20 years since that
Valentine’s Day. I’d be lying if I told you it’s been all balloons and roses, an I dig you baby cakewalk of communication and love. More than I care to admit, we retreated to our corners, unable to speak our hearts and minds. We’ve suffered losses, setbacks, lugging our old worn out baggage behind us. We’ve shut down. There were weeks, months, a year when I thought, we’re not going to make it. 

Everything is easy in the beginning. Starting a project, or falling in love, and love is a projectthere’s an excitement and mystery and the mystery feels good. But somewhere along the way the veil falls and we’re standing squarely in the middle. What the hell do I do with this? 

This is when things start to get interesting. 

I tend to have one foot out the door, or at least that’s the story I tell.  If you go with me to the movies, I’ll be in the aisle seat by the exit. Don’t crowd me. I’ve come to accept this about myself. In my marriage, both feet are in, even if one squirms for the door. Now I accept the squirming foot. My husband does too. Another reason why we’re friends above all else. 

How do couples stay together, they asked.

“Talk to each other,” we said, “communication is everything.”

xo b

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