My wife and I are celebrating our 35th engagement anniversary tonight. Quietly and intimately, with a candle-lit dinner and a bottle of our favorite wine, at the most exclusive eatery in town: our house.
You may have caught the reference to Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera. Why? Well, for one thing: it was published in 1985, the year we became engaged (and got married). For another, it’s a story of love struggling against external and internal challenges. It’s about imperfect people learning to love better.
That’s us. Or should I say Us? Because a new person, Us, came into being the day we got engaged. We’ve fought to keep Us alive and in-love against all kinds of external and internal challenges since then. The latest being the pandemic that has produced isolation, bare store shelves, dwindling funds and, yes, closed restaurants.
So we’ll be dining in tonight. And chances are it will be one of our more memorable outings (innings?). Because facing challenges together, and coming out of them together, has always made Us stronger.
Now I understand why my parents reminisced more about the hard days of their marriage than the easy ones. Those were the days their love grew stronger.
It’s not just romantic love that can grow in times like this. We all belong to a huge Us that is struggling to love, rather than die and be replaced by a bunch of detached Me’s. Will we learn how to love each other better during this time? Will we come out stronger?
It’s up to Us.