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The Evolution of a Relationship

Updated on March 22, 2019
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Seafarer Mama/Karen enjoys writing about spirituality as it is expressed in our everyday lives.

An Enduring Friendship

“There is no greater risk, perhaps, than matrimony, but there is nothing happier than a happy marriage.” -- Benjamin Disraeli

Once Upon A Time…

The love between Edward, and I grew slowly – from friendship. We met each other the summer of 1997, while both working at the Paul Revere House museum in Boston. We discovered quickly that many of our interests converged, and that we delighted in each other’s company. Attending exhibits at the MFA and summer evening walks after work through the Boston Public Garden led to attending Shakespeare productions on the Boston common, independent film festivals, and picnics along the Esplanade.

Edward and I found that we adored each other's sense of humor, and that we both harbor an abiding belief in one another’s capacity to achieve the goals closest to our hearts. Still, we took small steps. We needed to build a bridge of trust between us, and this happened very slowly, almost imperceptibly.

Casting Bread upon the Path through Dappled Woods

The first major leap occurred when Edward brought me out to celebrate my birthday over dinner in June of 1998. While sitting on a bench in the Boston Public Garden after a lovely meal, he told me that he loved my dimples and asked if he could kiss them. I said “yes.” It was a very sweet kiss. The very next day, we met at a local beach to soak up the sun and surf. From then on our passion for one another grew.


That autumn, Edward accompanied me as I drove from Boston down to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in the Pocono Mountains. It had been a place for me to hike down wooded trails with my family, to sit by a roaring fire sipping a goblet of wine, to unwind far away from city life. It meant much to me that Edward was able to share a Thanksgiving dinner with me there. The setting was informal, and it eased the way for me to acquaint my family with him, and he with them.


Another memorable moment since then was on April 25, 1999. Edward visited me at the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum , where I was then working, and afterward we decided to take a walk downtown. He stopped for a moment at Borders Books & Music. My own path was pointed toward a nearby ATM machine. Unfortunately, I looked back to get his attention and walked into a street lamp. I would have kept on walking as if nothing had happened, but when I saw that I was bleeding I panicked. I ran back to Borders , and the staff there gave me some ice, paper towels, and bandages. When I spotted Edward descending on the escalator, I called to him and he ran over to me. Immediately, he began attending to my wound. The look of tenderness in his eyes as he wiped my brow and stretched a bandage across it touched my heart. I knew then and there that he would make a wonderful daddy some day. When my eye turned temporarily purple from the trauma, he never ceased to let me know that I was still his beautiful “dimpleface.” That same year, he brought me on my first whale watch as a birthday present.

Visions of Peace on Earth, both Inland and by the Sea ~

Wooded Path at the Arnold Arboretum in JP, MA.
Wooded Path at the Arnold Arboretum in JP, MA. | Source
Bird feeder in our friend Fran's wildflower garden in East Boston
Bird feeder in our friend Fran's wildflower garden in East Boston | Source
Musician on the porch of the inn at Geneva Point, where we attended music camp together in 2004
Musician on the porch of the inn at Geneva Point, where we attended music camp together in 2004 | Source
January sunrise over The Riverway in Boston
January sunrise over The Riverway in Boston | Source

Taking the Next Step ~

Jolly Adventures at Sail on the Seas of Love ~

Our engagement was a celebration of the evolution of our courtship. Edward knew that one of my passions is maritime lore and culture, so he made reservations for us on a harbor cruise upon a schooner, for June 25, 2000. It was a breezy, sunny summer afternoon. We were introduced to a delicious mixed drink of rum and ginger beer called a “dark and stormy,” and we helped the crew raise and lower the sails. Slipping upon my finger the diamond ring I had chosen earlier in the year, he proposed to me at sunset, with the Boston skyline as the backdrop. The pictures from that evening never cease to bring back the warmth and romance of that eventful sunset schooner cruise.

My husband is a gentle man who loves to make me smile. He goes out of his way to make me happy. I try to remember this when we encounter conflicts between us. These conflicts are the territory of the interaction between two very strong and dynamic personalities. Yet what causes these conflicts also attracts us to one another. We challenge each other’s inherent way of thinking about the world, and invite each other to grow. We have unintentionally caused pain in the process, but we have also readily forgiven each other. Our mistakes reveal as much about us as those things we do “right” for one another, and through them we learn to work together toward compromise and cooperation.

Edward and I were married on September 28, 2001. We celebrated our lifelong commitment to one another with readings, music, and the company of friends and extended family at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA. However, the day did not happen the way we dreamed it would be. Our sunflowers and roses never arrived, which made our Flower Girl, and me, very sad. We were an hour late for the ceremony because of heavy traffic. It rained that day, so the chairs that we rented needed to be hauled away from the gazebo that we originally intended as the site of the ceremony. Despite the details failing to make our dream day come true, we kept in mind that we were doing this for each other, and we decided to be happy with whatever happened.

The dance floor of the ballroom at the hotel was beautifully set up for the ceremony. The lights were turned down, and our friends and family members read wonderfully the passages we chose. The live musicians of both sacred and secular songs performed with great warmth and liveliness. The wedding cake was beautifully decorated, with live sunflowers encircling each tier; it was one planned detail that definitely went right.

Following our wedding day, the week of our honeymoon in the White Mountains was full of vibrant autumn foliage, scenic train rides, and walks to waterfalls. It was the romantic getaway we envisioned. One gentleman congratulated us at breakfast one morning as he and his wife departed Stonehurst Manor in North Conway, NH, where we stayed. They were at the Hawthorne Hotel the night we were married, and recognized us in the dining room of the inn.

Most importantly, Edward and I are committed to cultivating a marriage filled with love and respect. We are committed to making one another laugh often, and to giving one another abundant encouragement and affection. We have both faced immense frustrations and setbacks, yet we have kept faith in ourselves and in one another. This has brought us to a place of deeper trust and friendship. It’s a lovely place to be.

Dancers at the Arnold Arboretum
Dancers at the Arnold Arboretum | Source
Duck in a pond at the Arnold Arboretum
Duck in a pond at the Arnold Arboretum | Source

Marriage and Parenting ~

The Story Continues at the Home Port ~

It has been almost 9 years since Edward and I were married, in the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. Despite the backdrop of wars, family loss, and national financial instability, we have been blessed with a delightful daughter who keeps us young, and have recently celebrated our first year of living in our new home in Central Massachusetts. Living in a co-housing community with a remarkable group of intelligent, generous people has added fresh richness and color to the palate of our lives, for which we are deeply grateful. Through our presence in and contributions to our community as individuals, we flourish, and bring that positive energy back to our marriage and family life.


Raising a child involves lots of faith, hope, and love to share with each other and the world. We have become members of a Unitarian Universalist church near us so that she may develop a strong faith in herself and life, and the unique gifts she has to offer the world. The healthy development of her spirit is as important as the development of her mind and body, and it is important for us to contribute to a faith community as a family. Our Unitarian church community is a warmly welcoming and safe place for us to be for that purpose.

Love and Finances: From Courtship to Parenting on a Budget

Courtship on a budget has now taken on the extra delightful dimension of parenting on a budget. My breastfeeding/nursing her made sure we did not need to pay for formula, and also meant that we gave her the best food we could for the first year or so of her life –mother’s milk. Next, we plan to home-school our daughter in the years ahead, also on a budget. Each day, as she grows more adept at interacting with her world, we share our art materials with her, and thus all of our talents are used to create unique gifts for family and friends. She also uses her magnetic letters to learn to read and spell, attends dance lessons, and participates in a Girl Scout troop as a Daisy.

Making a Living from What We Love

Edward and I use our photography and other artistic endeavors to create unique gifts from our art, and to create a passive income from what we love to do so that we have more time to spend with our lovely daughter. My husband is a fine art photographer, and most of the pictures above feature his photography. I design and sell clothing and other types of gifts with mine on Cafe Press . We both earn money on Hub Pages , as well. Our photography has also given us the tool for capturing and keeping precious memories.

Creating Memories through Learning Together

My daughter has been my inspiration and my muse for other types of projects, such as writing a book, writing poetry, and designing a flag for the children's librarian of our local public library. I have sketched her, shopped for art materials at Jo Ann' s with her, and walked around parks and botanical gardens with her. Our favorite place to spend the afternoon exploring together is Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, MA.

Cooking, Puppetry, and Other Crafts

Another passion of mine includes cooking, which I am very good at doing on a budget, and have often included my daughter in the preparation of meals and desserts. I have also taught her how to stitch with yarn and plastic canvas, and worked with her to create Halloween costumes using materials she already has. Last year, the two of us performed a puppet show for other home-schooling family at a Barnes & Noble book fair. Since we have moved into our new home, she has been delighted to roam the village as a fairy princess and as an adorable chipmunk.

Images of innocence ~

A Mama holding her two favorite flowers
A Mama holding her two favorite flowers | Source
Gingerbread House ~ a fun family home holiday project
Gingerbread House ~ a fun family home holiday project | Source
Our daughter enjoying her first fondue experience at 4 1/2 yrs old
Our daughter enjoying her first fondue experience at 4 1/2 yrs old | Source
Making a Snow Angel
Making a Snow Angel | Source
In the tank with the fishes at Sea World, FL
In the tank with the fishes at Sea World, FL | Source

Sacred Spiral

My daughter's chalk rendering of a labyrinth
My daughter's chalk rendering of a labyrinth | Source

My daughter is my poet's muse ~

Be inspired and laugh about parenting with the Good Doctor ~

Love, Magic, and Mudpies: Raising Your Kids to Feel Loved, Be Kind, and Make a Difference
Love, Magic, and Mudpies: Raising Your Kids to Feel Loved, Be Kind, and Make a Difference
Dr. Siegel is an inspiring writer and speaker who combines spirituality with his medicine and his parenting.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Karen A Szklany


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