Bill Matthews, Kennebunkport: Going through life with my old friend by my side

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Unfortunately, many of my old friends have died, at least those who are really old friends, childhood friends.

I hesitate to call my wife Marcia an old friend. However, we have known each other for 58 years and have been married for 55 years. And I don’t think she’ll mind if I offer it, especially if I put the emphasis on “friend” rather than “old”.

But what, I wondered, are the qualities that keep a friendship going long enough to be considered “old”? I think I would start with something like this turning into love. You don’t always have to like someone to love them, especially when you’re younger. Young love is often driven by physical attraction. True love, young or old, generally develops from true equals. It took about a year before friendship and love came together for Marcia and me.

My younger friend is also an all-star forgiver. I can be brooding, but Marcia doesn’t hold onto anger. She’s not a pushover, but she lets go of her anger quickly. Sometimes it takes courage and empathy to forgive. I am grateful that my old friend has both.

There are no other qualities that match love, affection, and forgiveness. We are different in many ways, Marcia and I – for example I am an introvert and Marcia an extrovert. But we’ve been loving and loving for 57 years and learned to forgive perhaps half the time – all of which led to a rich, old friendship.

And no, I know you don’t have to be married to your old friend. I’m just lucky my old friend is my wife.


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