Friday, 7 February 2014

Recycled Love

Recycled Love
To recycle something is to put or pass it through a cycle again, to give it further treatment, or to start a different cycle. This is how I view my marriage or love-life at the moment...a recycled version of what it once was. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but each cycle loses and gains a little something on the way. Where we are now, and the love we have for another, is different than what it was seven years ago. It is evolving and enduring as we sail together through storms and floods...and search for the calm, still waters of our dreams. It is so easy to lose a little faith when faced with hardship or trauma, so there always needs to be a shining light, and sometimes you need to look for it...or plan towards it.

For those of you who may not know (I don't know how, I have been talking about it for weeks), I have just returned from a short cruise with my husband, Paul. It was a Christmas present I paid off over the past year because I knew that we needed to get away on our own, to have some quality time without kids or flood repairs, or bills, or work pressures. Last year we were fortunate enough to travel to Thailand for my sister's wedding but that was different...we still weren't alone.

One could also think that being on a ship with 2000 other passengers is also not being alone, but we were free to wake up when we wanted, do what we wanted, to make our own decisions based solely around ourselves...with no-one else to consider. To us, that is just bliss. With six teenage kids, and the burdens of our farm and work, it emptied our heads to the point that we could just be ourselves...and talk. This was something we had not been doing enough of.

It was not our first cruise trip. We are fortunate enough to have taken our kids on two cruises, both on the same ship, the Pacific Dawn. So, this ship is like an old friend and holds many special memories for us. It is comforting and familiar, and despite the three year absence, it has only had minor changes.

The focal point of the Bengal Bar, Paul's favourite golden tiger, we feared had been lost when we heard the bar had been renovated and renamed.

No, he was recycled and placed in a less ostentatious position, but there to greet us nonetheless.

Our first cruise trip was special, but also a tough one for us. When we met, Paul and I had a whirlwind courtship, buying a house within six months and moving in with six kids. So, when his Dad's 70th birthday cruise came around it's hardly surprising that, with three years of floods, life had taken it's toll on us and the kids. I was living in town and Paul at the farm (a separation to save our family) when we boarded Pacific Dawn in 2010. He wanted to get married but I had said no because our children could not live together...we both knew that we had to stay apart until the kids were ready, so there was no point getting married.

But when our kids did finally embrace our blended family, we were married (with all of them in attendance) and off on our honeymoon cruise...all of us again. We had an amazing time which none of us will ever forget. It was the start of a different cycle, one in which we placed our relationship and marriage before our children. We regained our faith in our love for one another and knew that nothing could keep us apart.

So, this time, on our first cruise sleeping in the same room, we remembered each of the other special times we shared on this ship...the different cycles of our love that we had passed through...and we remembered just who we are to one another - the loves of each others lives! Not just mums or dads or colleagues or daughters or sons or even just husbands and wives. We are more than that, but somewhere along the way we had forgotten to remember it.

To recycle also means to recondition and to adapt. Seeing the world through a different view (the first time we had a cruise cabin with a window) was just what we needed to do that. We still have 'it' and will make sure we treasure it, because love is so easy to misplace, funnily enough.

Do you ever feel like your love life needs a boost or a recycle?

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