After 15 years, it’s hard to believe we are still together.

We will be celebrating our 15th anniversary this May.  It is surprising to me that we are still together.  We are so different in many ways.  We have not married but we are committed.

She is warm blooded, I am cold blooded.  This causes problems in the car and house.  She is in a tank top, sandals and shorts, I have on long pants, merrell mocs and a sweatshirt.

She loves dogs, wanted two of them to sleep in bed with us,  I didn’t.   I endured until both died.  We have been dog free for 3 years but that will change in the near future.

She is politically conservative, I was liberal.  Times have changed and I now see the ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of liberalism.  Issue resolved.

I was active in the church, she wasn’t.  This has provided many interesting discussions and we attend church occasionally.  This is mostly due to my profound hearing loss and the difficulty of hearing what is being said.  We are on the same page:   faith is an important part of our lives.  Issue resolved.

I adopted a son as an infant, she came into our lives when he was a junior in high school.  Her upbringing was much, much tougher than mine and that was reflected in our parenting styles.  I would say that we complemented each other.  The challenge this raises now,  is who to leave certain assets to, in my will.  I imagine this is an issue for other couples where one has children, and the other doesn’t.

It is difficult for us to work together.  We are both strong women and have opinions on how things should be done.  Inevitably, one starts to boss the other.  When its time to do yard work, we work on separate projects.   We take breaks together, admire our landscaping, then return to our separate areas.  Yes, we help each other when it comes to heavy lifting.  Issue resolved.

Vacations were important to me,  not to her.  She saw them as a waste of money.  After three years together, she saw the value of traveling and relaxing from a stressful job.  Issue resolved.

Three years ago, the decision to get our motorcycle endorsements and purchase motorcycles was a time of conflict.   She thought it would be so much fun.  Our friends agreed with me, that it was a high risk activity.  She was determined.  With fear and trepidation,  I finally gave in.   She financed the cost and it has turned out that we have had some wonderful vacations and time spent together on our Honda Shadows.  I thank God every time we return safely from a ride.   We are in our early sixties and not sure how much longer we will ride.  Issue somewhat resolved.

What has kept us together in spite of our differences?   Let it be said,  every couple has problems, that is a given.  Yes, we still love each other after 15 years. However,  love is often not enough.  A long term relation ship usually needs other shared values.

We mostly agree on finances, what to spend money on.  We both are cautious in our spending.  If you have big differences in this area, it can be a big problem.

We both value monogamy and are sensitive to not flirting with others or causing doubts about our faithfulness.  We have two couple friends who also value monogamy and that helps in our socialization.  I had to be out of state for a total of three-four months last year, due to elderly mother issues.  I had no doubts that  i could trust my partner during my absence.

Another big thing that we appreciate about each other, is that we feel supported.  She loves landscaping and gardening,  I went along with it,  dug out lots of clay, built a large raised bed, laid paving stone, stacked rock, etc.   She wanted to play the flute, learn to bead,  fine with me.  I wanted to play the Ukulele,  she bought a beautiful instrument for me.  When I became interested in digital photography and Photoshop,  she made sure I had the appropriate equipment.  When one wants to get together with our family members,  the other supports it.  She has had a stressful job with long hours for 11 years.  I don’t complain.  I do most of the household, shopping, errands and yard work, so our weekends are free to play or relax.  It is a wonderful feeling when you feel supported in your choices.  It encourages freedom and trust in a relationship.

I’ve told my son and daughter-in-law, “there might occasionally  be somebody who looks better than the one you got.  The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.”  However, remember that the new mate will not be problem free,  just different issues.  Before you jeopardize your present relationship,  be sure that the present problems are an absolute deal breaker.  The “greener grass” may provide worse problems than you have now.  Be careful what you wish for!

I know its downright personal, but if you are in a long term relationship,  what has kept you together?

drp ©2016




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