The Open Hand of Love



In the face of their parents divorce, I’d like to tell my shell-shocked nieces and nephews that my marriage is solid; But it’s not.

The truth is that I don’t want a solid marriage.  There’s no room for movement in that. Certainly, solidity implies security, but I need to love with an open hand.

20 years ago,  I defaulted to the traditional wedding vows (albeit without “obey”), but honestly I got married because I realized that it was a decision that I could make “anew” every day–or unmake on any given day.

There have been “moments” of course, but there has never been a day to which I would not commit to this marriage–Not because I always love my husband or appreciate him, or even desire him, but because there is always space for growth.

Given our commitment to “love,” Casey and I know that there are no sure things.  There is no “forever” written in our story unless we re-create it day after day.

The 19th year of our marriage was one of our sticky ones–though not “touch and go” as my sister might suggest.  My husband confided in her that he wasn’t sure how much longer I’d put up with him; and it’s true, I did feel that way.

Every handful of years, our relationship seems to get stuck, and I get clear that some patterns have to die for our love to survive. So far, Casey has always stepped up the plate.  We are both willing in that way. And “willingness” is the quality that I credit most about our 25 year old relationship.

For these reasons, it’s not a solid marriage that I seek, but a pliant one–one which allows for bending and pruning and new growth–like relocating to Vermont, or building a house, or leaving for 5 weeks to live with my sister, or even more recent–the month my husband took to study yoga at a center where he lived and ate and played–without me. Or my new job which will take me to faraway places. Without him.

It was about a decade ago during another marital sticky spot that we realized that we had worked to make our lives more solid than tender, and that we were suffering because of it.

Let’s agree to follow our passions, we said, even if it takes us in different directions–even if it leaves one of us behind.

It was a scary proposition, but not as scary as remaining static and un-lived. Because Love is a living thing.  It cannot be clutched in a fist if it is to survive. 

Every day that we love with an open hand, we take the risk of “us” ending, but we decided long ago that keeping our love alive is more important than keeping our marriage solid.

Kelly Salasin, November 2010


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