It seems that my feelings and ideas about marriage are a function of where I am emotionally, psychologically, financially. Although I thought I had loved, and in a way did love, my first husband, the quality and nature of our love was substantially different from the love I feel now, in my middle years. The predominant recollection I have about my first marriage is that it was a comfortable, safe, and, I thought upon entering it, loving backdrop against which I planned to live out the other aspects of my life. I was excited about being a bride, about the wedding gifts, and even a honeymoon.
I always had certain prerequisites for the man I would marry. My choice for my first marriage met these criteria. At the time I was naive and had little, if any, experience as a single woman. I went from my father's house into the arms of a protective college environment and from there directly into a marriage home. In retrospect I can see we were two innocents who were mismatched. We had different expectations and needs and, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to resolve or even discuss or work them out.
I wish I could claim credit for a brilliant choice of husband this time around, but the truth is that he is a random gift from God. I think second marriages can be storybook situations. The first time, because I was younger, it was easy to drift away from the focus of the marriage. With maturity, financial stability, and grown children, it's possible for me, with will and discipline, to tend the relationship. Despite the complications we experience with blending our families, this marriage is more manageable, under most circumstances, than my first marriage, with its tugs and pulls.
There is another element: my husband and I share a high degree of physical passion, and our need and desire, along with the pleasure we gain from physical contact, affirm that our lust is alive and well. This was totally absent from my side of the equation in my first marriage. People have different opinions about the importance of physical connection in relation to a joyful union. Now I can compare my more passive first experience with the true visceral connection we share in this marriage.
Our passion gives us intimacy, a privacy in our relationship. This bond is for the two of us, and only the two of us, and I don't think it can come from anywhere else. So much results from our intimate connection, such as respect and my desire to give pleasure to my husband emotionally as well as physically. I do for him because the pleasure I get in providing for him is my payback.