Tom Strini

Falling in love again and again

By - Feb 4th, 2010 10:55 pm
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Oct. 30, 1976: Trying hard to smile for the 479th picture of the day.

Oct. 30, 1976: Trying hard to smile for the 479th picture of the day. Gary Nichols photo.

Lee Ann Garrison and I have been married for more than 33 years. At the moment, we’re crazy about each other, infatuated, much as we were at the start, only better.

It’s not always like that. We always love each other, but we’re not always in love as in, you know — in ♥love! Sometimes we can barely stand each other.

That’s only natural. Given the romance-crushing stress related to children, extended families, money, sex, careers, mutually life-changing decisions, housework, illness and so on, conflict is certain to flare.

All of that seems obvious, but when you’re 20-something and head over heels on the way to marriage, you don’t see any of that coming. She’s (he’s) perfect! What could possibly go wrong, ever?

When something does go wrong, it comes as a shock. Early on, you don’t realize that falling out of infatuation is not the same as falling out of love. Then you make up, get back where you were, everything’s fine… and then something goes wrong again! Oh no!

What a panic, in youth, to suddenly see marriage as an endless, unpredictable tumble of skirmishes, loving alliances, uneasy truces and passionate affairs.

The bad news: That’s what marriage is. The good news: That’s what marriage is.

True love does not come and go with the shifting weather of a relationship. It remains steadfast throughout, a bedrock of respect and partnership. When both partners come to understand that love is not the same as fleeting passions, be they positive or negative, the highs become more precious and the lows more tolerable — and shorter. You start to see the humor in your own and your partner’s shortcomings and your impatience with them.

He: You know last Thursday, when you said it was recycling day, but you were wrong? When you made me take all that junk out, and then they never hauled it away? And then I had to put it all back, all because you had the day wrong? Well, today is the fourth Thursday of the month, and I remembered to take it out, and it’s gone.

She: Great! But you didn’t take it out last week. I did.

He: No, I took it out. Because it was a big mess all over the garage and I had to pack it all first.

She: No, I took it out because I was late for work and was afraid we’d miss the truck, so I did it all anyway, and I was late.

He: No, I’m sure that I took it out.

She: Aaargh! I hate it when you are so sure about something and so wrong.

My wife has never had a flamenco dance lesson in her life, but at this point her frustration drove her to drum her heels into the floor with the fury of Cristina Hoyos. I tell you, it was adorable!

The start of a long drive.

The start of a long drive. Gary Nichols photo.

When something like this occurs early in a marriage, it can lead to a big fight and several chilly days. But now we’ve been through far worse a thousand times. Two minutes after the flamenco outbreak, we were laughing. These days, even when we’re at odds over more serious matters, we know that no matter what, our love will bear up to the pressures within the relationship and from the outside world.

Maturity and perspective have made it easier to put aside pique and impatience. Even on our most quarrelsome days, we manage to say, “I love you.”

He: You love me? Even though I’m a total moron and you can’t stand me?

She: Yes. Yes, I do.

That’s real love, grown-up love. Happy Valentine’s Day, to my dearest Lee Ann and to everyone.


0 thoughts on “Falling in love again and again”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Just…wow. You don’t happen to have a single brother, do you?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Julie. But sorry, both bro’s are married.–T.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great insight for those who are young and a wonderful reminder to those not so young. Twenty five years this year for my wife and I. Great thoughts/observations.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So true. Thanks for sharing this, Tom–a great reminder for everyone.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You’re behind the curve Strini ;o) I already had this epiphany regarding Nancy and myself last Fall but you are spot on :o) Funny, too, how it positively affected all my relationships out side of that most precious one…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Aw – What a sweet V-day gift to Lee Ann.
    Once again, you hit just the right notes … with your perfect touch of humor and just the right amount of mushy! Certainly an article to save in the family Bible, to pass down to future Strini-Garrison generations.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lovely — funny and tender and just right. You two do realize how lucky you are, I hope. Those of us who have lost beloved partners read pieces like this and are a little wistful, remembering happier days long gone by.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tom, you brought tears to my eyes! How well I remember your wedding day! Carole and I flew very early from Richmond to St. Louis and didn’t get home again until 24-hours later. How we laughed with Lee Ann as we were changing clothes to leave and she exclaimed about her wedding dress, “I’m going to wear it every Halloween!” And I’ll bet it still fits her! Russ and I will celebrate 42 wonderful years together and you couldn’t have explained a good marriage better! Much love to both of you!


  9. Anonymous says:

    Happened upon this quite by accident and the timing was impeccable! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is precious!
    I am in awe of any two people who can find this kind of love.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a sweet Valentine’s Day message for your lovely bride! I am so lucky to be able to relate and share your feelings (except exchange trash for window blinds)about my Valentine.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A BIG happy VD to you both. Aren’t those photos just great, too?!?!? Hehehe. Gary Nichols

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