“Two are better than one…”
Ecclesiastes 4:9a

On this date, 11/17/2012, ten years ago, I asked Heidi to marry me.  The left photo shows the day I first told her I loved her (Sunday, March 4, 2012 – at the Exit 6 Starbucks in Stamford) and the other is the day I extended the greatest invitation a man extends to a woman…to spend the rest of our lives together.

From what I recall, it was a balmy but sunny day at a garden we frequented.  The flowers were not in bloom, however.  Right afterwards we were heading to a doctor’s appointment in Stamford (little did we know how much doctor’s appointments would shape our marriage existence), and then I would go to work at the Stamford Mall making lattes at Starbucks. 

Heidi and I liked keeping track of random and fun dates so I know that if she were here today, I would take the day off work, we would walk around a craft store, and enjoy a nice meal at a favorite restaurant.

Today marks 599 days since she went to be with Jesus.  The other day, I was speaking to a group of about 30 men from my church about my life with Heidi.  I gave them a brief history of the medical story from heart transplant to the day of her passing; then recalled a couple ways God has shown comfort to me in the first year of her passing.

Something I’ve been reflecting on lately is how I had come to conceptualize what it is to love someone.  I am seeing with greater clarity that my understanding of what it means to love a person (a wife) was almost entirely shaped by my life with Heidi.

On one hand, I think it is natural to assume this much.  In a real sense, you too are being shaped by your current relationships in how to love someone (and I am specifically thinking about spouses, but this does apply to other relationships). 

But when the object of our love dies, there is a strange vacuum.  You still long to keep giving that love, but now it cannot return.  And though they die, the weight and power of your love for them does not.  It still needs to go somewhere.  This is, in part, why grief bogs the heart down in the way it does.  

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartaches crushes the spirit.” 

Proverb 15:13 (NIV)

The love in our heart is left with a terrible need to rest somewhere and with our spouse no longer here, there is no place rest it.  The vacuum creates an isolation effect.  This is why community (like you) is so paramount for those who grief.  The love reciprocated by a caring community doesn’t so much “replace” the love of a spouse inasmuch as it bears the burden of the weight of a love that no longer rests as it once did.

When God stirs the affections of a man and woman for one another, there is almost nothing more powerful in its force and is totally unstoppable but for death. 

The ebb and flow of loving your spouse becomes tailored made and then reinforced more and more beautifully as time draws on. 

Those passions stirred within us ignite tremendous capacity to love, so much so that we would even be willing to die for the one we love.  And when that love is reciprocated to you by the one you love, the union therein is a beautiful and mysterious symmetry (See Ephesians 5:31-32).  

If I wrote a thousand more pages on this mystery, I would still not plumb its depths.  There is nothing in all creation quite like it.  It is, to my mind, God’s most beautiful design.

This is why I am convinced, now more than ever, why two are better than one.