I have written enough blog posts about heartbreak by now. It is time to move on and to leave the past behind. An interesting reader question to one of my last posts was, “How do you know when a relationship is right?”
The other day, my son and I took a walk at the Rideau River in the evening. He played with sticks and looked for ghosts while I just enjoyed the sound of the cicadas. Shortly after, I came across an “Ottawa moment” I will never forget. I spotted a couple having a candlelit picnic just at the river. They dined in grey lawn chairs pulled up to a fold-out camping table. As we passed them, they were just talking about the sunset and how awesome the food tasted. On the little fold-out table they had two glasses of wine, cheese, bread and a big salad. They smiled at my son and I so I introduced myself to Beth and Jason.
It was the most pleasant conversation. While my son played they asked me to join them for a glass of wine. Just like that. They told me that they have been watching the sunset every “nice and comfortable” night for over 28 years since they moved to Old Ottawa South. After a certain amount of dates, they thought it would be great to bring some wine or beer. Neighbors asked them many times, “You guys are still going down to the river to watch the sunset?” Beth answered, “We have never stopped. This is our paradise.”
I asked them what their favorite supper conversation is and if they ever run out of things to discuss. Jane smiled and said, “We do not run out of things to discuss. The longer we are together, the more we have to talk about. We have more experiences, more friends in common, stories about people and plans for the future. We are planning our upcoming vacations and where we would love to travel to.” “Did anyone ever join you for your supper, ” I asked. Jason smiled this time and said, “Well, you just did. And so did many others. A musician came by here once. He brought his guitar and played some songs during our dinner. It was great. We shared out food with him.”
“Beth and Jason, how did you meet?”, I asked thinking that their marriage is so awesome. Jason told me that they initially met in Highschool, then did not see each other for a couple of years and met again in graduate school at Carleton University. He proposed marriage three months later. I asked Beth how she knew they were meant to be. She said that one night when she was feeling sick he walked through meters of snow (Damn, Canadian winter) to get her her favorite book from the Black Squirrel Bookstore to read her to sleep. He also made an awesome chicken broth that night.
“What’s the key to a good marriage?”, I asked. Apparently, I don’t know. Both answered pretty much at the same time saying that connecting again at the end of every single day, sitting down without distractions and talking is the most important thing. A connection is key and enjoying each others company as well as how to talk to each other and discussing, sharing and analyzing things. The advice they gave to me is that everything is easier when you are in a good mood, spend time together, have fun, be generous to another and apologize. They both added, that each partner is responsible for their own happiness because you cannot rely on your significant other to always entertain you.
They wanted to share their supper with my son and I but we decided to walk back home. While we packed sticks, water bottles, and ghost detectors, Jason took me aside and asked me, “You know what is also important?” I just stared at him and he continued, “This is for your brain on the way home: In a relationship, it is important to laugh at each other’s jokes. Nobody has ever made me laugh as much as Beth. We are each other’s ideal audience. We had this ‘knowing’ feeling. It wasn’t love at first sight but rather this strong feeling of ‘but of course this feels right in a good way’. I just had this feeling that this person is very important in my life. Then we became a team. We were initially just together but then we gradually solidified into a team. Then out of a sudden, we were in love. She made everything better. Being with her felt like being on vacation from real life. Disagreements did never threaten to end in a divorce. I always had the feeling we would keep going. We make plans. We keep it interesting. We do not spend too much time apart from each other.” He dropped a pebble in the water and made it dance, wiped his hands clean on his pants and smiled at me.
It has gotten dark by now. We packed our things to leave for good this time while their little candle shone brightly at the camping table. Beth said “I could not imagine my life without him. It is all about choice. We choose to be together, nobody forces us. However, there are times when I am not entirely sure how things will evolve. We, like all couples, argue and fight at points and then there was/is doubt. Doubt is a part of life. But I believe in us, in our marriage because of the small things we do for another every day and what we have been through. We just have this energy together. He is the one.”
We said goodnight and left. There was so much positivity and thought on my mind while we walked home. I took a closer look at my life and the people who are in it and everything feels okay. Just the way it is. I am moving on.