Lease On Love

By Staci Welch-Bartley

Just what is marriage? Commitment? Deep love? Adoration?

What is being in love? Lust? Companionship? Commitment?

Questions about love and relationships have been asked since the dawn of the human experience.  For me, they began about the age of 32 when my 13-year marriage ended. You know the questions I am talking about. Things like does anyone ever stay together?  Does marriage have to turn into something that is old and boring? Do you just get comfortable with whatever you end up with just to make it last?  Is love inspired, and is it of a spiritual nature, or is it just a physiologic need and we just think that it is a spiritual thing? Is there such a thing as soul mate? And just what is this commitment thing? Is commitment necessary? Does it serve us and our partners? Does it make us better people? How do I know when I have met "the one"?

I did find a couple who had met their one and only. I remember 15 years ago, I walked into a McDonalds early on a Thursday morning with my then five-year-old son Tate.  We were playing hooky that day because wanted to spend some time together after a rough week. After ordering our food, we picked our place to sit down.  When I glanced up, I saw a 70-year-old couple eating breakfast together. Much to my amazement, they were laughing and I could see the man teasingly poking the woman’s leg under the table! This was a contrast from everything I had previously seen and believed. In the past, I didn't see a lot of interaction between couples who had been married for a long time. I was captivated. I overheard them sharing fun memories of a birthday party they had just attended, along with plans of their next fishing trip through giggles, teasing, and grins.

As my son and I picked up our tray to leave the restaurant, I dumped our trash in the can. The man caught me staring. I felt like I just got caught with my hand in the cookie jar! I shyly spoke, “I am so sorry, I have been watching you both since I sat down.  The two of you seem so in love each other.  May I ask, how do you create what I have witnessed here today?” The man looked up at me with tears beginning to flow. He said, ”I have been with this woman for 52 years and I am grateful for her in my life every single day!” Then, as I began to cry myself, the gentleman reached out and shook my hand.

Love and being in relationship is grand. As I celebrate the anniversary of my new marriage, I have now been divorced as long as I was married. The years of contemplation and experience have caused me to wonder, do we need a Lease Option Contract for love and relationships?