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Love will conquer all

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary and my husband, Greg Thomson, started our day by playing a video on his Iphone of the Flintstones singing “Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary.”  Like our wedding day, today started with reckless giggling.

My husband is an amazing man. In that quiet time just before we get up in the morning, I sometimes feel as if there is an angel beside me.  He is man who has made it his goal to balance compassion, tenderness, strength, wisdom and grace — and he has succeeded.  Greg has never chased after power or fame, and he doesn’t need social status or wealth to define him – but he makes allowances for those who do.

Greg is rarely critical of people or ideas, he doesn’t possess the arrogance that too often develops in men who achieve success. Greg believes in human potential – in that ability people have to achieve things that others think impossible.

Greg would never hurt anyone and he would never try to limit or undermine someones confidence. He is wise and knows that those who think they know best are fools (although he’d never say that to them). He is a man who feels a duty to give back the world, to tackle mediocrity, and conventional thinking. In his work, he studies the social impact of charities hoping that he can help the small charities who have a large social impact. He gets frustrated over the amount of funds that get wasted by charities that have little social impact, but are filled with influential board members.

When I think about our marriage, I believe our happiness rests on our willingness to give up our individual selves to become part of something bigger. I remember when we were just married, I used to write about my love for him; about the things he did that inspired me, about the awe that I had over this man who chose to share his life with me. Today, I realize that my love is now weaved together with the love Greg has for me. It is constantly expanding. It encompasses our children, and, like a warm breeze, it spreads out over our family and friends. I think our love grows with the choices we make, with the friendships we have, and the experiences we gain. By living up to the people we want to be we are able to feel more deeply, and experience things more richly.

When we were first married we talked about what we wanted in our future. Greg wanted to feel more, to do more and to make a difference in the world. Back then I couldn’t understand what Greg meant by ‘feel more” because I had been raised to put both my heart and mind into everything I do. At the beginning of our marriage I realized that Greg put his head and thoughts into what he did, but not his heart.  He learned to be cerebral, to hide his feelings, but part of him knew he was missing out on something. Over time as our love weaved together Greg let himself feel more, he put his heart and not just his head into everything he did. He allowed himself to go beyond just thinking about the world to sensing it. I learned to see the world through Greg’s eyes just as he learned to see it through mine. Our world became much bigger, more vibrant, sensual, and beautiful. We are soaring above the ground we walked as individuals.

A few months ago a man told me that I should be much more afraid of failing than I am. I’ve thought about his words a lot since then; about what he thinks is failure, and about the limitations his kind of thinking has placed on him. In the world of keeping up the Joneses he’s succeeded, but in the world that Greg and I live in, he seems shackled by fear, limiting his involvement in things that might expand his world because he fears failure.

The love that Greg and I have has allowed us to embrace the world. Together we can take on any challenge. And the only true failure that either of us could have is to fail to live up to the moral code that guides our lives. Our love has made us free, and has given us confidence. Together we experience life, we set out to achieve our dreams and we live every moment to the fullest.

When our eldest son was born, I remember sharing that moment when we both realized that our duty extended beyond just what we could give to the world, but to provide our children with love, compassion and a value system that will allow them to find the love we have managed to build.

Everyday I wake up and I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. Greg is the strongest man I have ever met. He would never compromise himself for gain, or use “business” as an excuse for hurting someone. I think he would actually be physically sick if he thought his words had hurt someone. He is kind, compassionate and every day he defines what it means to be a gentleman.

The vision of who Greg wants to be captures all the qualities that go into making a true hero.  He is a part of how I define myself, the pulse inside me that drives me forward and makes me want to put everything I have into everything that I do —  so that one day I just might be good enough for him.

How to want him without needing him

When to walk away, is wisdom. Being able to, is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity.”

There it is; Wisdom. Courage. Dignity. More often than not, we confuse the three. And every once in a while, you’ll find yourself immersed in someone else’s idea of these values. All of a sudden, they come into your life with such ease, becoming so important to you within such a small amount of time, you begin to question why there was any confusion in the first place. It’s what makes life worth living- and sometimes so challenging.

But while its worth living, this someone is like a plate of deep fried chicken wings- both mouth watering and unhealthy. You enjoy the moments you spend together, not realizing the consequences. At first sight, he’s a real looker, one with a smile that can make you palpitate. Except unlike the plate of fried chicken, he can’t be packed away for later. And the damage he will do to your heart cannot be fixed with healthy diet or exercise.

***

After coming out of a serious but rather mundane and loveless relationship, I had sworn off any emotional attachments for the time being. I began to approach men with a casual attitude, shutting them down when they began questioning ”our future”.

He was no different on this list — until I realized that I couldn’t shut him down. Although we’ve never met in person, mutual connections brought us together and we took it from there on social media. Through frequent texting and flirtatious exchanges, it was apparent that our common interests, combined with his suave demeanour and my distinctive personality had us both intrigued.

The late night phone calls began – and after a lot of persistence on his part and a lot of reluctance on mine — mostly due to his mysterious ability to always say the right thing at the right time — I soon found myself in an emotional relationship. Our feelings were addressed, dreams were discussed, and our goals and ambitions for the future were encouraged. I would play along, knowing fully well there was a slim chance of it becoming a reality. It was just all too good to be true.

But he made me happy.

His passion towards his unconventional career choice made him sexy and different from the men I’ve previously been involved with. He didn’t just slip into his profession. He chose it. And although it was difficult to picture myself actively adapting to his unpredictable lifestyle, I could never let his priorities change because of me. I wouldn’t.

However, being so different, yet so incredibly similar left us with a compatibility and chemistry that I had always craved for. And although we had our share of turbulence along the way, I genuinely cared about him. His straightforward personality and way with words left no room for speculation. He loved me. And I loved him.

But hearing him whisper “I’m not the right guy for you” every other night made me wonder what I was getting myself into. In the midst of our twisted games and ability to toy with each other’s emotions, I grew accustomed to his doubtful pursuits. It was soon after that I realized I needed more certainty in my life- certainty that wouldn’t come from him.

I’ve attempted to take the high road and walk away. Be a ‘wise’ person. And because I even considered it, I guess, made me ‘courageous’. But its walking away with ‘dignity’ that I’m still working on.

Too often, we choose the idea of settling in fear of never meeting someone like him again. We break under the pressure that the man we’re destined to be with won’t be in the form of the handsome, charming, and alluring man that we first fell in love with. The intensity of our relationship was one that was reminiscent of the sappy films we watch on rainy days. And no matter how many obstacles come in front of the love struck couple in these films, you sit and hope that they’ll somehow end up together in the end.

But most of the time, they don’t.

It’s not going to be easy coming to terms with the absence of him in my life. And even more difficult once we meet in person. The memories of his arm around my waist, the smell of his cologne, or the way he looks at me will probably linger in my mind for years to come. But it’s a step I’m willing to take to remind myself of my individual strength and my ability to see him as a desire and not a necessity.

Because he’s something I’m going to have to learn to live without.

How do you handle difficult relationships? Let us know in the comments below!