A Toast To Love… And Swimming!

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Love and Marriage
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook and social media is such a part of our lives today that it’s almost hard to remember being without it.  Of course, social networking can be a double-edged sword.  It’s great for connecting with people in today’s busy world.  It can also be a place where people air their dirty laundry, share too much information, and are victimized by predators.

While we were separated, my wife and I were both careful about what we posted on our Facebooks and for that I am grateful.  I understood that my wife wasn’t including me in her virtual life during that time, even though she never changed her relationship status from “married.”  She simply never responded to my posts, and didn’t interact with me online.

We had also been going to the gym separately, which was excruciating for me, especially when chance put us there at the same time.  I wanted her to want to work out with me, but instead she barely acknowledged me.  I respected her boundaries and didn’t push.  I understood why she was doing what she was doing and even though I didn’t like it, I took the unselfish road of loving her in the ways she would allow me to, and not trying to force anything.

Last August, in those first days of being back together, we were still figuring out where we stood with each other.  Of course, we went to the gym together then, but things were still awkward.  Even though my wife had dropped out of triathlon training, she had kept up her swimming and was constantly increasing her distance.  She would set goals for a certain number of laps and then raise the amount as she obtained each goal.

Ironically, she had never learned to swim as a youngster.  I took it for granted that my mother had taken us for swimming lessons every summer when I was a kid.  When we first started going to the pool together last Spring, I had to show her the strokes and convince her that she could do it.  At first, she couldn’t even do one lap.

Soon after she started swimming, we split up.  I only swam as much as I needed to for training, because I view the swim as a necessary evil of being a triathlete.  She found that swimming energized her and the water gave her a type of solace, so she began spending a lot of time in the pool.  After only about four months from when she began, she set her sights on two miles with no rest.

The morning she was going to attempt it, I started out in the pool with her.  It was going to take about two hours by her estimate, so I was only beside her for about the first thirty minutes.  At that point, I got out and went to run and do other things while she continued.

In our fitness center, there is an indoor track that has windows on one side overlooking the pool.  When I knew she had been swimming for more than 90 minutes, I began taking a look each time I came around.  At first she looked steady and strong, but as it approached an hour and 45 minutes, I could see that she was starting to struggle.  Her form was faltering and I could tell she was exhausted.

I decided to go down to the pool and I knelt by the edge of her lane.  She saw me and gave me a signal of how many laps she had left.  I stayed there and gave her encouragement each time she turned around.  When she finished, she hugged me.  It was the first time she had publicly shown that type of affection since we reconciled.  Then she posted on Facebook that she couldn’t have done it without me.

That was a breakthrough for us.  I don’t really know why, but somehow, her accomplishing that goal and me being there supporting her changed things.  Where she had been so reserved for so long, the floodgates opened.

A Toast?

Champagne is a universal drink of celebration, and she had planned her next tatoo as a celebration of swimming two miles.  The fact that it not only occurred right after we got back together, but also provided the catalyst to set her free to love me outwardly again made it a celebration of much more than just swimming endurance.  I’ll drink to that!

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