Home Couples & Family Psychology Developmental LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVIII. PLATE FIVE: SEPTEMBER SONG (GROWING OLD AND FACING MAJOR LIFE CHALLENGES AS A COUPLE)

LOVE LINGERS HERE: INTIMATE ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS XVIII. PLATE FIVE: SEPTEMBER SONG (GROWING OLD AND FACING MAJOR LIFE CHALLENGES AS A COUPLE)

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As they came to face their own personal life challenge, as well as the challenge facing their partner, both Martin and Victor ironically, found a new sense of independence, perhaps needing this in preparation for the potential loss of their partner. Martin observes with considerable insight that:

. . .we are becoming much more caring about each other and also becoming a lot more independent than we were. It’s like the “leaning on” part is gone. We don’t feel like we need to lean on each other anymore for support. And that’s being replaced by something a lot nicer. It’s hard to explain what it is. The only word I can come up with for it is love. It seems to be intensifying a lot more. I don’t know if it’s because of Victor being sick or just what the reason is but it just feels like it’s. . . I thought I could never be more in love with Victor before, and I’m finding that every day I’m loving him a lot more than I did.

Victor concurs in expressing his own growing, maturing love: “The more I see you becoming an individual and taking care of yourself, the stronger my love for you grows. We are individuals, but so closely tied.”

There is much to be learned from this couple about the nature of commitment and about the very essence of love. Martin and Victor have learned much about themselves and have much to teach the rest of us as a result of the intrusive life events they have experienced. Their experiences have galvanized their commitment. Victor claims that “there’s nothing at this point that would stand in the way of our relationship.” This commitment has stood the test of time. They are both still alive—to tell a tale about their own enduring relationship. [Martin] felt [during the 1990s] like we may have another 40 years or we may have another six months, but there was that feeling that was going to last a lot longer than however long we had and, basically, more or less we knew that we could face just about anything and come out of it okay.” Clearly, the developmental processes of this couple have been neither stable nor always pleasant. They have produced a relationship, however, that is truly exceptional and enduring. We can ask for little else from any contemporary American couple.

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