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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Jeff and I will have been married ten years this August. When I was a kid, ten years seemed like an eternity. In some ways it still seems like forever to me, but in a good way.

I used to think that a romantic relationship should be a constant whirlwind of passion, flowers, and candlelit dinners. The early flush of a relationship is almost always a heady one; you can't stand to be away from the other person for more than a few minutes, you think about him all the time, and when the two of you are together, you're floating on a cloud of constant ecstasy and agony.

Eventually, this tumult of emotion fades somewhat. Some interpret this as meaning that the relationship is having problems. Some leave the relationship to find another; it can be like a drug, that initial flush of romance. Personally, I'm immensely grateful that my relationship with Jeff "settled". I would be a basket case by now if I had to endure ten years of the rollercoaster of emotions earlier in our relationship.

I think the most rewarding stage of a romantic relationship comes after the "honeymoon" period, when a certain comfort is established. "'Comfort'", I hear you sneer, "You mean like an old slipper or badly worn couch!" But that's not what I mean at all. By comfort, I mean the knowledge that the other person knows everything about you, both good and bad, and hasn't run screaming. You've seen each other at your worst, and through difficult times.

Jeff supported me as I watched my mother die from cancer; he was there in the surreal, nightmarish days after my brother and his wife were killed in a car accident. Times like those will either break or strengthen a relationship; ours grew much stronger.

Jeff is my best friend. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, and we'll treat each other in ways we would never treat our other close friends. It's also hard not to take each other for granted sometimes. Overall, though, I think we've done well (and plan to do better). The passion is still there, but it's a quieter and more enduring passion than in the "flowers and yearning poetry" stage.

And we still have candlelit dinners. :-)

Today's Blatherpic:

My first snow angel of the winter, up at the cottage this past weekend.

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