Marriage—Not for the Faint of Heart

A Tribute to Survivors

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Miles and Gail Kimball, Engagement Photo, August 1984

When I was 22 years old, I met Miles Kimball. Two months later we were married. We were young, attracted to one another, and had an uninformed confidence born of youth and optimism that we could make a successful marriage.

When I looked into Miles’s eyes, I thought about all the wonderful things in our future: kids, jobs, and building a life together that would be fulfilling and joyful. I imagined the love I felt for him would naturally grow, with no thought of the real work a successful marriage requires.

I’ve sometimes wondered if I could have seen the challenges ahead, would I have entered into this partnership? If I could have seen the grief, heartache, and work it would take to find common ground . . . would I have gazed into this man’s eyes and agreed to spend my life with him?

Miles and I have been married 33½ years. We’ve had the tragic misfortune of burying three children—each separate loss taking a tremendous toll on our family. We’ve regrouped many times, struggling to find the language to explain our separate experiences in order to move on together.

Romantic love is fun and mostly easy. It’s widely celebrated and desired. But I’d like to pay tribute to the troopers, the couples who manage to sort through all the challenges, upheavals, job losses, grief, health challenges and more . . . and still manage to connect, eye-to-eye with the person they long-ago promised to spend their life with.

Love is complicated . . . and sometimes very simple. I remember the time I saw Miles walking toward me for our first date. I felt a surge of hope and wonder. Now when Miles walks toward me I feel the validation of someone who sees me, has comforted me, and has shouldered our shared burdens with grace and humor. After all we’ve been through, he continues to approach life with a happiness and optimism I’ve come to rely on.

Today, Miles and I still want to be in the same room with one another and face whatever is coming, together. Who could ask for more?

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