During a recent trip out west for a much-anticipated vacation, we were fortunate to enough to be welcomed to stay for a couple of days with some old friends — er, I mean some long-time friends.
Kim and I went to high school together and shared some great memories of young adulthood. She even let me stay in her wedding party even though I inconveniently had a six-month baby bump beneath the pretty peach bridesmaid’s dress. We have lived in different provinces and not seen each other — except, of course, via Facebook — for about 23 years. How did that happen?
I was anxious and excited for this visit and was pleased that, miracle of miracles, both she and I were still married to the same guys we married decades ago.
It was a stellar visit and it was easy to re-establish a bond as we laughed and reconnected. We were fascinated with their life, which seemed, on the surface, so different from ours. They are childless by choice, have no pets and lived where the nearest family member was hours away.
We, in contrast, had our first of three children after only a year of marriage, have always had at least two pets and had family from both sides living mere moments away.
But what fascinated me most about this visit was the tone Kim and Ken have set in their house. It is full of love and this was obvious with every gesture they made and every word they spoke. Not only did they make us feel welcome by providing a house key, an open fridge policy and shuttling us here and there — it was how they treated each other that stood out.
After being together for a quarter of a century, the love, respect and admiration hey have for each other was so clear, so evident and so refreshing to experience.
I feel saddened only by the fact that the hubby and I were surprised. Is it so uncommon to hear spouses treat each other with dignity and reverence? Was it so surprising not to hear condescending talk and orders being barked out?
It made me wonder how people feel after they spend time in our company.
How about you? Are you living in a house that love built? Do your children see it/feel it/experience it?
We asked Kim and Ken what their secret was and they said they worked hard to create this environment, this type of relationship. It was not an accident, they did not get lucky, it did not just "happen.’’ Brilliant.
I invite you to take a third-person perspective and notice what you might observe if you were on the outside looking in. If you are on the right track, I salute you — please carry on. If you notice you may be a little off track — maybe it’s time for a reset and recalibration.
Stephanie Staples is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org