On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. — Jules Renard
That makes all the years of working out how to best love and serve each other worth it. I'm sure we'll look back on this time and find it has done nothing but add to our deep love and respect for each other.
Dear, even-tempered Tom is truly my soul mate. I'm so very lucky that he loves me as much as I love him. He has taught me so much over the years about music, about thinking, about humor, about originality, about kindness and consideration. Not because he actively taught me but just by being around him. That in itself tells you a lot about the sort of person Tom is.
I'd be remiss not to mention that we are also very indebted to our parish's Beyond Cana program. It's the sort of thing we wished for when we hadn't been married very long and ran up against problems in learning to live together. Which is simply to say that in these days, often without the wisdom of our elders easily available, we need good advice. Beyond Cana offers that for us. As have books like For Better, For Worse, For God and Just Married. Just as in practicing your faith, when you are in a long-term relationship you have to keep paddling or you'll get swept downstream. No one in a good, long marriage makes it without work and advice.
It's wonderful having spent 32 years with someone. You know each other's references (jokes become real one-liners), you understand each other's moods, and it is a deep, restful relationship that is not without delightful times of surprise and passion.