Ask Gabby Gayle: Love evolves over time

By Gayle Lagman-Creswick

Dear readers,

The last few months I have received many letters from people who say they have chosen the wrong mates. So, last month, I asked to hear from readers who chose the right mates. I received a beautiful letter from a gentleman who described his marriage in such heartwarming terms that I want to share the entire letter with you.

Dear Gabby Gayle,

I just read your recent exchange with a reader in which you requested comments from readers who made good mate choices that have stood the test of time.

I met my wife in 1963. We were both in college and went steady until we married 2 1/2 years later. I was immediately attracted to her because she had many of the assets and few of the liabilities that I had come to realize worked for me when I dated in high school and college.

What made her unique is that she had a very balanced personality with lots of intelligence, humor, compassion and tenacity, and very little pettiness, selfishness or control issues. I really didn’t think about the future then; life seemed to be so long and full of opportunities that I just wanted to be with her for whatever we experienced together.

We have been married now for 55 1/2 years and have weathered some difficult times and some wonderful ones. We raised a child, traveled to many places, lived around the country, and finally retired to enjoy our leisure years and time with family. In all those years, our love for each other’s unique blend of character traits remained strong, even as our slim, fit bodies gradually morphed into those of old people.

She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia and has been struggling to function as her mental capacity slowly disappears. As her primary caretaker, I have been surprised and pleased to realize that my love for her has not diminished over the years, but instead has evolved to reflect the commitment we made to each other when we married.

Our circumstances have changed considerably, but our respect, affection, trust and enjoyment of each other has remained intact. We have few illusions about the future, but are committed to facing it together, which is the same strong bond that we realized that we had when we met and dated so many years ago. Love evolves over time, but it can be the glue that makes long term commitment a foundation and not a burden.

Signed, MM in AZ

P.S. Thanks for your columns; they always provoke some reflection and recognition.

Dear MM in AZ,

Thank you for your beautiful letter. I hope it sends a message to my readers that selecting the right mate is important, but it is just as important to honor the commitment.