When you've seen a happy marriage with your own eyes...

When you've seen a happy marriage with your own eyes...

I used to love going to stay with my grandparents as a child. Their home had a deeply-relaxing atmosphere of peacefulness. My grandmother's name should have been “Joy”, because that, in one word, expresses her personality: joyfulness shone out of her and warmed everyone with her vibrant blissful love. The sound of her exclamations of delight and laughter filled the house and wrapped itself around us all, soothing children's upsets and relaxing adult frowns. A few minutes with my grandmother could make even the most obstreperous child or the most truculent teenager beam with happiness.

My grandmother loved being a woman and she loved by my grandfather's wife. She proudly called herself “Mrs [my grandfather's first name] [my grandfather's surname]” and did everything she could to make my grandfather's home his castle, his haven from the world of his work, and his palace. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She warmed my grandfather's clothes for him by hanging them near the fire on cold winter mornings. (They had no central heating in their house.) She would get up early to bring him a cup of tea in bed on the mornings on which he had to go to work, then she would cook him breakfast and present it to him on a silver tray with a clean linen tray cloth and a fresh little flower arrangement that she picked every morning in the garden. He would read the newspaper and eat his breakfast alone, preparing for his day at work in the peace of the early morning, before anyone else was up, while my grandmother hummed happily to herself in her kitchen, making the mountains of breakfast necessary for everyone else in the house. I used to creep downstairs early, just to watch my grandmother prepare my grandfather's breakfast, just to hear her little laughs of delight, just to be near this so special and so serene and happy woman in her kitchen, seeing her doing what she loved: serving her family joyfully.

My grandmother's kitchen dated back to an earlier age before the dawn of modern conveniences. It had a huge dark wood dresser that took up a large part of one wall, an old-fashioned pantry cupboard that kept things cool in the days before refrigerators, a range cooker with a fire in it, and an enormous white sink that was big enough for several children to bathe in. On one side of the sink was a wooden draining board. She had no electric whisk or dishwasher or washing machine. Everything was done by hand. And yet, when she would come and announce that (afternoon) tea was ready, we would gasp as we entered the room, at the sight of the vast dining table filled with mouth-watering cakes and pastries, stunning little sandwiches cut and arranged artfully among the candles that adorned the table in that dark dining room. She always set the table with a beautiful crisp white linen tablecloth, translucent dainty bone china cups and plates, and freshly-polished silver cutlery. And always, there were dainty little flower arrangements that added the finishing touch to the table. My grandfather always sat at the head of the table, and smiled and graciously thanked my grandmother for the beautiful spread, expressing pleasure that my grandmother had managed to find some [whatever kind of flowers they were] for the table.

My grandfather loved to provide my grandmother with flowers and spent a lot of his spare time in his garden growing beautiful flowers for her. I remember lying on the grass in the gentle sunshine listening to my grandfather talk as he planted more flowers, and when I visited again later, seeing the glorious array of colour that his work had produced. My grandmother would pick flowers and put fresh flowers in every room almost every day. Even in the winter, there were flowers available to bring beauty into their home. My grandfather made sure of that.

My grandfather was an old-fashioned honourable and kind-hearted English gentleman with a strict sense of morality and the sharpest, most intelligent eyes I have ever seen. He worked hard in his very intellectually-challenging work, and he brought to my grandparents' house an intellectual atmosphere and quiet mastery. He was a little scary because he was so intimidatingly clever and he seemed to take it for granted that all his children and grandchildren were as clever as he.

I remember spending hours sitting around the open fire, my mind fully focused, and concentrating hard on whatever discussion I was having with my grandfather, trying to keep up with his brilliant mind. He would speak softly and deliberately, and never raise his voice or be disrespectful, and his blue eyes pierced me as he waited patiently for me to form my argument and haltingly and childishly express it to him. His deeply respectful manners were not limited to his interactions with adults. He had the same courtesy and respect for everyone, from the most intelligent adult to the youngest child. But his softest, most gentle tenderness was reserved for my grandmother. He clearly loved her so deeply it moves me to tears to remember how dear to him she seemed.

My grandfather was the master of his house. He was the king of his castle. He was the man. He was in charge. He wore the trousers. He made the big decisions.

It is not that he did not consult my grandmother before making a decision. He certainly did. My grandmother's happiness meant as much to him as his meant to my grandmother. He considered my grandmother and his family carefully and undoubtedly sometimes sacrificed his own wishes in favour of his family's happiness. He listened carefully to anyone who had something to say, and his control never felt oppressive or overbearing. He had been through the horrors of the second world war, yet had managed not to lose his humanity. He had commanded men, but did not bellow orders at his family. Instead, his leadership in his home was quiet and respectful, loving and kind. I can see why my grandmother loved him so.

My grandparents quite simply adored and worshipped one another, and went out of their way to give one another joy. Their relationship was such that I have never lost hope that a truly happy marriage is possible. I have seen it with my own eyes, over a period of many years. I saw how tightly my grandparents clasped one another's hands and how they looked at each other with adoration and love just weeks before my grandfather died. I saw how happy my grandmother was with my grandfather, and how, after his death, although she was the same sunny person, she never exuded the quite same exuberant joie de vivre again.

I have always longed for a relationship like my grandparents had. A relationship in which my husband leads, protects and cherishes, and I make myself available for him, and joyfully receive and follow him wherever he takes us. I have always longed to belong to a kind and loving man completely, to be his, to obey and submit to him, the man, the head of his household, my lord and master, for ever.

I have not given up hope. One day...

the boss

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Comments

Happy Marriage

This is so lovely a description. This is the type of wife I would like to be. To find such deep love that lasts and such graciousness, I wonder if it is possible still in a world so changed. Me, me, me. How self-focused society suggests women to be. Achieve and be, be, be. How fine it would be to find deep joy and achievement in the simplicity of serving one's family. One's spouse. This is what I strive for in my heart.

Thank you for the descriptive story.

One Day...

That is truly the most beautiful post you have done on this site! And it’s so good to see someone else not giving up on the fairy tale! It feels like a continuation of the one you did Make each other feel the luckiest person alive! which I was drawn to as well, and also Could this kind of relationship be for you?. The latter post is the very one that first drew me to this site in the first place, it reminded me of that “sweeper” dream I had mentioned in the last thread, the woman from a dream who had this sacred cherished glow to her who was humming as she swept her ancient Japanese home, blessing all those that came near with this deep joy and peace. The closest image I could find that matches that energy for me is the one I’d mentioned here. And I know that is the deeper thing I seek, being cherished like that, so cherished that even sweeping one’s home for the one she loves becomes a truly sacred thing. I don’t think it’s serving though, I think that serving crosses a critical line into clamping down on one’s own comfort cues and thus one’s female receptive core—and your grandmother in your post and the woman in my dream were both humming and glowing, which feels like the very opposite of a clamp down on comfort cues to me. It feels like true obedience, which is a received thing to me, a natural extension of being cherished.

Maybe it’s semantics. I remember one comment I had received from someone saying they “wantonly served” that had really struck me and stayed with me (link), I was drawn to it despite the mention of serving. Because I felt deep cherishment and trust hidden there instead, that she must know deep down she was safe and cherished enough to give “wantonly” because she was protected and would be cared for and have her feelings and needs honored rather than being used. She used the word serving but she did not at all feel like a servant to me, she felt very cherished. As your grandmother felt as well.

Because I bet if there were times or areas she felt bad and needed a break or an adjustment your grandfather would have not only not have been upset but would have protected and actively supported her. From the picture you’ve painted I can picture him shooing away any who would disturb her as she rested when needed for example, or if she was doing something and it was taking a toll I picture him noticing that and asking her to slow down, or if there was a way to make things more pleasant for her I picture him wanting to be on top of that. Because I picture her comfort and feelings being the very top priority to him and he being actively protective and supportive of her, and that is the critical key. It means she CAN let go and trust and “serve” with reckless abandon because she truly knows she is loved and safe, and giving back from that place is so very healing, so natural.

But this is NOT the world of a female servant, a female servant’s feelings come last, her comfort cues must be buried, her true receptivity and trust are killed bit by bit and thus her female core is damaged. This is not the same thing at all as a man being a
servant-leader and sharing his male imparting core, it is rather destroying a woman’s receptive core. Very deeply dangerous stuff. And I don’t see that at all in your grandmother or my “sweeper” dream. I see cherishment and glowing. And as an extension of that I still get images of things like Snow White and her “whistling while she works” knowing “someday her prince will come”.

To explain that…
Here is where I am right now with all this. I am slowly opening more and more to how God cherishes us, and more personally how he cherishes me, letting myself quiet more and more and feel that. And whenever I can feel that, something heals a little more inside and there is more openness and softness, and that openness and softness is what I find brings me deeper into my female center. So I’ll “whistle while I work” knowing “someday my prince will come” and am so completely with you when you say you want

A relationship in which my husband leads, protects and cherishes, and I make myself available for him, and joyfully receive and follow him wherever he takes us. I have always longed to belong to a kind and loving man completely, to be his, to obey and submit to him, the man, the head of his household, my lord and master, for ever.

I have not given up hope. One day...

I was also really drawn to the flower image, moved by it. How she brought the beauty of the flowers into the home with such care and blessing, yet he was the one who lovingly gave them to her in the first place by planting them for her. Now there is a man who instinctively understands male giving and how a woman gives back. It’s a very rich and healing image.

One day…

Imagery...

Thanks for sharing this part of your life. The mental image of such a gentleman as your grandfather (as English as English gets—my grandfather was also from England) is very sharp and clear.

Contentment is an extremely wonderful position, and it seems that your grandparents had arrived at this location in life—particularly with each other. From your writings we gather that these were two people who were in synch, who knew each other so well, and were so content in their respective role in their relationship.

And, by the way, it is apparant that your grandfather's grandaughter is as clever and sharp as he was.

Sam

The Deep Impact of Memories

I really love how you looked at your own family for inspiration. I can neglect to do that because my more immediate family was overall abusive. But there was a relationship in my family as well that moved me growing up, and you have inspired me to give it closer attention. It’s a different one than yours obviously, and I also know I won’t be able to express my experience so poetically (I was very moved by your vividness), but since your post inspired me to look at part of my own family more closely I thought I’d share it here.

My paternal grandparents lived in this very sweet house up in the mountains by a river and trails (yet walking distance to a little town), and you never saw two people more different from one another. My grandmother was always in the middle of some art project or home decoration project and had a room also dedicated to her colorful crafts, yarns and cloths and you name it cozily spilling over and filling up every corner of her craft room. She was ever outgoing and social and bubbly and had this deep sense of adventure, always wanting to do new things or go new places. As I was very quiet and introverted, her outgoingness intimidated me in a way, yet in another way I was close to her and also shared her love of adventure. To the day she died she kept her favorite craft project I had done as a child hanging right up in plain view for all to see centrally in her tasteful house, and I never forgot that.

My grandfather on the other hand was more quiet and kind and calm and reserved, and with my shyness I felt more affinity with him. But more, he was humble yet wise, and that is the most healing combination for me to be near, I just knew deep inside me I could trust him. He was kind of an intellectual and very into reading and writing many various things when he had the time, and also really got into researching genealogy (his was the founding family line in our family). His study room (and parts of the house too) was full of old England items and classic Americana and papers and books of his neatly stacked all over the place. Looking at my grandparents there were never two more different people. But that was part of their gift I think, they were truly a polarity. And I think they knew the gift hidden there—and kept it that way.

The thing about them was their relationship was THE top priority to each of them, even when they had children. Its not that they didn’t love their children, but they never stopped being true partners and sliding into more just mother and father instead. Even when their children were small and a handful, they went out on a date every single week just the two of them, and it was always something special. My grandmother (unlike me) was one who just loved to socialize and dress up, so he would take her out dancing or to a lovely restaurant or to something new she didn’t expect (she loved surprises). He put real care and planning into these weekly dates, they never became just scruffy or casual things, and he beamed with my grandmother by his side I’m sure, as he did the very same thing at home. And I wouldn’t say she had exactly that same glow as the sweeper in my dream I spoke of before (the sweeper had more a deep and peaceful feeling I loved) but my grandmother really did have her own sort of wonderful glow in her ongoing excitement and happiness and zest for life. She definitely knew her place in the world, and it was as a very beloved wife and mother, and it was my grandfather who most helped her know that place. Her happiness was his top concern of that I’m sure, and she blessed him right back with that happiness he helped create. The detachment I see so many couples fall into I never even once sensed with them for a second, it was like this invisible cord always connected them.

The other thing they always did, and this stayed with me the most, is they took a long walk in nature each and every day (unless weather was truly terrible). There was just something about that, them side by side along the mountain paths, the magic between them so tangible and recharging each and every day. Nothing baring an emergency or hailstorm or something kept them from their weekly dates and daily walks together. And this continued until the day my grandfather passed on. He literally died peacefully in her arms (he died in his sleep), and she passed away a few years later. I am sure they are together now, taking their magical walks together each and every day, just as they had done every day when alive.

I always suspected they were soulmates. And I envied their relationship with its deep closeness. But I was reluctant to identify with it because I am not very like my grandmother in key ways, she was just SO extraverted and I am extremely introverted, so I knew I could never be like her. But lately it’s hitting me that their differences from one another were part of their gift, so I shouldn’t let my difference from her mean I couldn’t have the same sort of closeness from a partner in my own way.

By differences I don’t mean detachment. In Doesn't anyone blush anymore?, Manis Friedman talks about how there is a sacred sense of differentness between a husband and wife through both gender and personality that should be nurtured, not barged into and torn down like we have learned so wrongly to do. Our differences are mysterious, deep, sacred, and complementary---true polarity. The key though is to embrace and respect those differences while “remaining on the same side of the fence” as he calls it. Remaining on the same side of the fence is true intimacy, knowing that even in your differentness and also disagreements you are on the same team truly FOR each other, never on the other side of the fence against each other. And its one or the other, there is no neutral—you are on the same side of the fence or you are on opposite sides of the fence. Detached or neutral really means you have left being on the same side of the fence and left being in true relationship. And it is the combination of respecting and embracing each other’s sacred differentness while at the same being firmly on the same side of the fence that creates the magic of love.

Anyway, that image of Friedman’s’ reminds me very much of my paternal grandparents, and it was your post that encouraged me to open up to those memories more. I’m realizing I never once either saw or even heard second hand of them arguing—ever. They may have disagreed at times but they never argued, they always stayed on that same side of the fence. And I’m realizing their relationship impacted me more than I thought, even in the whole obey/serve difference I keep finding myself coming back to. Because my grandmother was definitely not the serving and self sacrificing type, she was caring and kind but she was very much “in her skin” and attuned to comfort, she did not ever feel to be pushing or prostituting herself by becoming a female servant like so many men expect their wives to be. Yet she still naturally blessed all those around her. My feeling was that what she gave was what she authentically desired to give overall, and that really came across and was so healing to be around. That doesnt mean that every little thing she did was enjoyed and chosen, but I truly did get the sense of her overall comfort and fulfillment. And with my grandfather, he actively and truly made her happy and that happiness of hers blessed him right back.

She wanted him to be happy too of course, but she went about it much differently. Would she follow and obey him? Absolutely, she wholeheartedly trusted and respected him. But this didn’t happen in a void, it was a natural response he brought forth in her by his cherishing her. Because he very actively and manifestly nurtured her, not just in their intimate relationship but also in more mundane everyday things. He was not one for mere talk but for tangible giving. He was always researching new and exciting places to take her that he knew she’d love, and making sure her kitchen was suited to her and making her life easier, and making sure she always had money for her crafts and projects she loved so much, and providing her with a lovely home and the time to enjoy it come what may (even when he passed on—her continuing providence and well being was paramount to him). He truly gave to her and he really showed his love this way. So she knew she was safe and she knew she was truly loved. She could trust him and she could trust her life, a life so corely impacted by him.

And she didn’t have to negate this all by serving, rather she very naturally gave back. She loved trying new recipes and would naturally seek out those she knew he’d love, but this wasn’t a demanded serving, it was a natural thing for her to do out of her love for him. And she really made sure their home was a nice warm peaceful nurturing place for him to come home to but that wasn’t being a servant either, it was comfortable for her as well. Her crafts she loved for example were a delight not only to her but to him as well with how they made their house a home. And while I’m sure she definitely decorated with his tastes in mind she still really loved to decorate. She was also a “whistle while you work” type too, putting her showtunes on while she cleaned, and doing her household tasks according to her own inner rhythms it looked like to me. She never really seemed stressed or burdened but rather in her skin and truly okay overall with what she was doing, not pushed or used. The house was no spec free museum but it was always tasteful and warm and comfortable and inviting, and I am thoroughly convinced that her happiness and
at-ease-ness in her home and life was key to what made it so. A happiness and at-ease-ness a servant is never given.

But the thing was, it wasn’t what she did so much that my grandfather seemed to love so much but rather just who she was. He did showed appreciation for what she did, but what made him beam was who she was. To go back to Pat Allen’s stuff for a bit as I understand it, masculine energy type love is demonstrated by one’s doing/imparting (heroicness), feminine energy type love more by one’s being/receiving. This is a felt thing--of course a man under it all is loved for who is, but his loving her should be EXPRESSED through what he does; a man who is all talk is not imparting and heroic and so that does not feel loving to a feminine energy partner, it feels hollow. A masculine energy man is a man of manifest action. And I felt that sort of dynamic with my grandparents, it was her being that he cherished and loved so much. She truly was the feminine receptive energy in the relationship, not forced into being the masculine instead like so many other women are. HE was the masculine imparting heroic energy, again so unlike what so many men today give. What she gave was just icing on the cake really on top of the core he loved, a natural extension of who she was and what she naturally gave back, not a self sacrifice he demanded or expected.

It was her soul, her glow, her happiness and love for him and respect for him that he loved, not her service. It was the way she looked at him, the way she deeply focused on him out of her true desire whenever he walked into the room, the way being around her lit him up too, and also just who she simply was as a person that my grandfather cherished so much. And underneath it all, I think it was also how she received him and glowed from that that went straight to his heart, not the desire for her imparting and service.

And I think that deeply impacted me whether I realized it back then or not. Particularly because it was such a contrast to my maternal grandparents, where my other grandmother was treated very much as an in-house servant rather than cherished for who she was. With this other grandfather, everything was his when it came down to it—-he saw it as his house, his car, his marriage, and all must be on his terms to suit him, and my maternal grandmother had to in so many ways ignore her own comfort and adapt and serve. Such a contrast to how my paternal grandfather truly put my grandmother and her happiness first and truly gave his all to her. My maternal grandfather on the other hand was not the master of the house in the cherishing sense but in the using and controlling sense. And so being uncherished my grandmother served and “obeyed” him in front of him only, behind his back she kept secret after secret from him, as although he went through the motions of providing and protecting I think deep down she knew he was doing the opposite of truly holding and nurturing her. Talk about being on opposite sides of the fence really.

And her uncherished life took its toll, on both of them in the end. She died much younger than my paternal grandmother did, and very painfully, and certainly less happy. And my maternal grandfather died sadly too, in pain in a hospital bed rather than in his partner’s arms peacefully as my other grandfather had. I so wish things between them could have healed.

So I’m realizing I’ve seen not only a cherishing marriage up close but also a non-cherishing one right by its side, and I suspect seeing that contrast has never left me. And it’s not just that my cherishing paternal grandfather didn’t expect a servant in my grandmother, but that he wouldn’t have even ACCEPTED one. I think he would have been just mortified if my grandmother ignored her own comfort cues and forced herself to serve, he truly wanted to take care of her as was the more traditional ideal. From what I know of him he would have jumped in and in his gentle but focused way nipped in the bud any harmful serving tendencies she started showing. I think he would have done so in a heartbeat. And having been around all this and the realness of it, anything less to me is just not cherishing.

I think you’ve shared something truly valuable here, not only your lovely and moving memories in themselves but also an understanding of how these memories truly do impact us.

I am the child of a marriage

I am the child of a marriage where there was no cherishing loving nurturing feelings at all.My father was and is a domineering cold bully.My mother confided her feelings and relied on me,pouring her unhappiness into me.In many ways I was her mother.She kept secrets and spoke badly of my father to anyone who would listen,but never to him.Consequently I married a weak man,that was needy,I suppose I carried on being a carer of someone needy,I just swapped my mother for him.I did think it was love I felt but with hindsight it was his neediness I reacted to.I divorced him after thirty years,his repeated adultery being the cause.Its taken till now for me to realise I needed someone stronger,a loving dominant nurturing man.Our formative years,what we observe, shapes what we become.Often we are a reflection of all we internalize as a child,but there are exceptions.I have a close loving relationship with my children and am now in a loving relationship with a lovingly dominant man...so theres hope for everyone.

Full circle

Here in the Netherlands, until ten years ago, anything vaguely resembling the relationship the boss describes was frowned upon by very nearly everybody. The Dutch didn't invent 'political correctness', but they might have. Now it seems we have come full circle, at least in the segment of society that is my habitat. Highly educated and otherwise sophisticated women are choosing more and more often to serve and obey their husbands, or at the very least they are hoping to find, 'one day', a husband capable of making them submit.

I prefer the present situation over the one our grandparents found themselves in, not because I do not recognize and appreciate the beauty of the traditional relationship between a strong, loving man and his joyfully subservient wife, but because the element of choice, the young woman's renouncement of alternative options now available to her, makes her submission an even greater (in the 'momentous' sense of the word) step.

To conquer and call your own an intelligent woman, who might have pursued a brilliant career, or wielded a big stick on the board of a large company, to have her at your feet and tending to your needs, and obeying you, and bearing your children, and following your lead, accepting punishment for her mistakes and striving ever harder to please you—is there anything more a man can wish to accomplish in his personal life? I think not. And for a woman to be that woman, too, must be the highest virtue, bringing the highest reward.

It has been suggested that you should write a book. If you do, I'll happily provide a Dutch translation.

By his side, not at his feet

I enjoy my husband's bossiness, but I am not at all subservient to him, and I don't think of myself as being at his feet, but by his side. As far as tending to needs goes, he tends to mine at least as much as I do to his. And he tries to please me as much as I try to please him.

Pleasing and tending needs to be on both sides, otherwise it could become a depressingly one-sided affair. There is nothing remotely appealing about servitude.

There is Something Better

Dutchman, I must disagree with this statement:

To conquer and call your own an intelligent woman, who might have pursued a brilliant career, or wielded a big stick on the board of a large company, to have her at your feet and tending to your needs, and obeying you, and bearing your children, and following your lead, accepting punishment for her mistakes and striving ever harder to please you—is there anything more a man can wish to accomplish in his personal life?

Yes, there is something more a man can wish for, than to deflect a woman who might have made a positive difference in the outside world, a woman with the smarts to do so, away from making a contribution that could benefit millions of people in favor of serving at your feet.

A man could wish to have such a woman "at his feet" but at the same time encourage her and cheer her on as she achieves these outside goals. He could be the wind at her back, and her support when things get rough. Instead of wanting only to keep her to himself, cloistered away from the world, being the mommy and hausfrau and never the woman with a paid or voluntary career, he could be the bow that sends her forth as a beautiful and compassionate force for change.

As a matter of fact many dominant men do guide and encourage their women to be the best they can be, not only in the inner world of the family and obedience, but in the outer world of contributing the best their brains and skills can offer, so that the world as a whole can benefit from her gifts. I think that is what a dominant man can aspire to.

"Pat"

Silver trays and flowers

Pondering this article, I wondered whether my husband would really like it if I did these sort of things for him. "Would you like it if I brought you breakfast on a silver tray with bone china and a flower arrangement?" I asked him. He looked at me incredulously. "If you did that, I'd know you must have done something REALLY bad" he said.

Extra attentions

Well, the traditional English breakfast is my husband's favourite meal, but he can't face it in the mornings, he prefers it for lunch or dinner. In the morning all he wants is a cup of tea. However, bone china wouldn't last long in our house, and any flower that shows itself in our garden is usually flattened by a football very quickly. But now every time I take him a cup of tea he says: "Where's my silver tray?" If I got one, I suspect though that it would end up being used as a toboggan or something.

A beautiful and inspirational article

Wow! What a beautiful and inspirational article!

And, contrary to the opinion expressed in “Full circle,” the kind of a man who is worthy of a good woman wouldn’t subjugate her by diminishing her. He would not clip her wings.

A man who is truly confident and strong needs the intelligent woman he has conquered to continue to be his equal and partner. It brings him joy to nurture her and to enable her to become far more than she could have become without him. He delights in helping her to soar as high as her spirit will allow.

I think that placing herself at your grandfather’s feet, figuratively speaking, brought joy and peace to your grandmother because placing her on his shoulders was what brought the same to him.

The type of relationship that your grandparents created (“My grandparents quite simply adored and worshipped one another, and went out of their way to give one another joy”) is more valuable than all other possible achievements and possessions combined.

Gram and Gramps

As I leisurely and randomly go through the pieces you have written here I find this one a special treasure. I think many of us carry deep within this kind of warm glow in the belly of loving grandparents and the childhood magic of all eyes and ears wonder and learning and awe. My secret stash in this regard are boyhood memories of a smiling, laughing, teasing grandpa and an ever loving, devoted grandma—in the setting of a large colonial house perched on a hill in southern New Hampshire, amidst a spread of apple orchards. On clear evenings one could see the distant glow of Boston. I think of hidden stairways, attic treasures and curiosities, desks with secret compartments.

I’ve known a number of women to carry similar memories. Tragically (and this is almost a kind of theory I’m elaborating) those rudely snatched from that paradise by which, in early years, they were almost “adopted”, lose something elemental in their capacity to trust. They long to feel safe in exposing their tender underbelly yet cannot, sustainedly, let their guard down protecting their deepest vulnerability. Nutshell, they no longer believe the fairy tale, the bliss they find feels “unreal” to them, and, against their deepest needs, they inevitably sabotage it in self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thanks again: your writing is always a delight and a treat.

Happy Marriage

I read most of this with tears in my eyes and the feeling of poignant loss fills me still. I saw this happy marraige with my own grandparents, i have spent many years looking for it for myself and never finding it.
I thought my grandparents were the epitome of a successfull marraige, their mutual love, respect, joy and tenderness for each other was a shining example that lives in my heart. I remember the spread my grandmother used to put before us with delight and also the thanks that my grandfather used to give her for it. I remember him toiling in the garden, which was his joy too. This article brought it all rushing back and i must thank you for it.