AmyTuteurMD

AmyTuteurMD
Bio
Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician-gynecologist. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Tuteur is a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School.

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FEBRUARY 5, 2009 6:15PM

On marriage, a love letter to my husband

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Our daughter recently gave us a very fine compliment. Discussing her day over dinner one night, she reported that her high school “Issues” class was studying marriage. The teacher had told the students that a successful marriage has three elements: friendship, intimacy and passion.

“That’s you guys,” she said, looking toward her father and me. “I raised my hand,” she continued, “because I had lots of examples to share.”

I was thrilled, both because of the compliment, and because she has been observing what her parents are trying to teach to her and to her brothers. My first, greatest, and longest lasting joy in life is my husband.

My children, of course, are my heart. They are as much a part of me as an arm or leg. Their joys are my joys; their sorrows are my sorrows (generally multiplied by a factor of two) and their fears are my fears (generally multiplied by a factor of ten). But my husband is the source of most of the good things in my life, and has been for more than the past 30 years.

As the “Issues” teacher said, the basis of a successful marriage is friendship. According to the late, great Ann Landers, “Love is friendship that has caught fire.” That is indeed what happened in our case. We met sophomore year of college as part of a large group living in the same dorm. When I started making my interest known, it was his fear for our valued friendship that made him hesitate. However, after throwing myself at him (there is no more glamorous way to describe it), I wore down his resistance.

Yet as our relationship grew, the friendship remained at the very core. He has been at my side through medical school, residency, work, the births of four children, the struggles we have shared with our children over their challenges, not to mention countless Little League games, Back-to-School nights, and dance recitals. Eight years ago when I stepped out of the MRI scanner and told him that I had brain tumor, his first words were, “I wish it were me.”

There is no one I would rather be with, talk to, read with, or watch football with. We are about a micron apart on the political spectrum, but have managed to have countless heated discussions about it, nonetheless.

Intimacy is also a vital quality for a successful marriage. I can share anything with my husband, including every fear and every embarrassment. He is always in my corner. I can also expect good advice. Although I’d like to tell you that he agrees with everything I do, the truth is a bit different. He’s not afraid to gently chide me, or counsel me to approach a situation differently. He’s a much nicer person than I am; in fact, he’s the nicest person I know, so that makes his advice and criticism easier to take.

There are additional components beyond the three that the “Issues” teacher discussed. Commitment and compromise are vital. A lifetime together involves a lot of momentous decisions, and the ability to compromise is necessary to smooth the way. For example, my husband thought he wanted two children, and I wanted four. So we compromised on four and he is very happy that we did.

That issue aside, there have been a lot of compromises: about careers, about work hours, about whose needs will be met when. If you can’t compromise, a marriage can be sunk. And when compromise seems very distant, commitment to the relationship, to making sure that everything works out, and to hanging on even when it seems like it might not, can tide you over to better times.

Everyone knows about the passion part of marriage. What I didn’t know 30 years ago was that the passion only increases. The boy I married because I liked, loved and was attracted to him is now the man who held my hand in labor, who tenderly nurtured our children, who supported me through my personal crises and who has become a respected and admired professional. I still like him, I certainly love him, and I am more attracted to him than ever, but even that does not adequately express the passion I feel for him more than 30 years after he captured my heart.

I am the luckiest woman alive, and I know it. He made all of my dreams come true, including the most the most important one. He showed me that true love is real.

The lyrics from the old standard, I Remember You,  convey my feelings best:

When my life is through,
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of them all.
I will tell them I remember you.

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That is one of the nicestreflective love letters I have ever read. You are lucky to have met such a great guy and he is fortunate to have you.
This is priceless, Amy!

Rated!
The single greatest gift a mother can give to her children is a loving, respectful, passionate, committed and steadfast relationship with their father.

Great job, Doctor Amy.
Wow. That was a wonderful piece Dr. Amy! Brought tears to my eyes, actually - I could have written parts of that myself. I, too, feel like the luckiest woman alive. I'm only eight years into my relationship (about to celebrate 1 year married), but I hope that 20+ years from now I can say the same you've said here :-)
I enjoyed very much this chance to get to know you better through the lens of your love for your husband. You are very lucky, and I am lucky enough to know exactly how you feel.
Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

You know how people refer to their spouse as their "better half?" He really is my better half.
This is a lovely post and I am happy for your love and your family.

As you may or may not know from my posts and comments, I was blessed with a wonderful husband too. He had a glioblastoma, but I will never be without his love. It remains with you always when it is special.
Lea Lane:

"As you may or may not know from my posts and comments, I was blessed with a wonderful husband too. He had a glioblastoma, but I will never be without his love. It remains with you always when it is special."

The love you shared comes alive in your writing. My husband particularly admires your writing, and is as moved as I am. He often asks me if you have anything new up, so he can look for it.
"The teacher had told the students that a successful marriage has three elements: friendship, intimacy and passion."

Ah but she left something out. Enough TVs so that one can watch the game, the other some gay womens movie. Intimacy is nice, but being a couple doesn't mean becoming attached at the hip. People need their own space sometimes, their own friends, their "me" time, own computers and headphones too. Conflicts arrise from conflicts of interest. The other whit mentioned happend naturally. The rest takes some planning.
The latest dating bible "He's Just Not That Into You", says that if a man says "I don't want to ruin our friendship", it's actually an excuse, a brush-off and you should move on, girlfriend.

Just shows to go you. Of course dating bibles are aimed at singles in their thirties.
Amy I think you are truly blessed when you have a happy marrige. I am grateful to say that I also have a very happy marrige and I think that does have a huge impact on my children.

I am so sorry to hear about your brain tumor! Are you OK now? That is a truly horrific experience.
I simply love this piece and wish for a similar fairy tale life myself.
Amy,
Thanks (yet again) for a wonderful and heartfelt post. I would like to add that great love keeps us young. My parents have been married for 54 years. They live in Peacham, VT, where on Thursdays they cross the street to feed the "old people" (they are 83 and 78 respectively) at the church. They live half of the year in Mexico, playing tennis every day and keeping up with a social calendar that would kill me.
Their secret? They married their best friend. Their soul mate. My dad never went out to "hang out with the boys." My mom found Dad to be her best company.

I have five brothers, and two parents who are best friends. I am, most certainly blessed, as our your children. Thanks for the post!
Beautiful.

Not only is the post lovely, but it's nice to see from many of the comments that a lot of us are lucky in the same way.

The post is also a nice counterpoint to your previous post; it's the best response one could give to a kid who is confused about the difference between real love and intimacy, and sex.
"There is no one I would rather be with..." Exactly how I feel about my husband of 27 years. We have other friends, but we are each other's first choice. He's just the most fun! AND we are appreciative and grateful daily! Thank you for a heartwarming post.
Myriam66:

"The latest dating bible "He's Just Not That Into You", says that if a man says "I don't want to ruin our friendship", it's actually an excuse, a brush-off and you should move on, girlfriend."

I'm glad I didn't know that!
Thanks for the lovely comments and particularly for other, similar stories. I know it sounds silly, but I absolutely love stories of great relationships! And it is my most fervent hope is that my children can find the same happiness in their relationships.
This is lovely. Thank you.

For those interested in other stories of good marriages, I highly recommend the book The Good Marriage. It gave me hope and insight when I was not in a good marriage.

I disagree with one point: I'm the luckiest woman alive!!!
A friend of mine read recently that there are more single (never having been married) people now in the US than at any other time in history. I don't know about other cities, but in LA, it seems to be particularly hard to find meaningful relationships. Thank you for posting this and showing that love is still alive and well!! It's very inspirational.
Marianne Ruanne:

"Thank you for posting this and showing that love is still alive and well!! It's very inspirational. "

My pleasure ... and my good fortune.
This is lovely, Amy. It's always a treat to see an example of marriage working as it should. I hope that you've printed out a copy of this to give to your husband.
Amy,

My step brothers father was a doctor. So I know all the BS that you had to go through to get there and still have to go through.

I'm glad your husband was there for you. The question I have is what kind of work does he do? Is he a Dr. so he could help prep you and teach you how to survive, or is he someone that has a steady 9-5 M-F so he could carry the home life while you were out bring in life?
“That’s you guys,” she said, looking toward her father and me. “I raised my hand,” she continued, “because I had lots of examples to share.”

At this point I would be afraid of that TMI was about to be reached or even shared in class.

I can hear the class now, "last night I got up to go to the bathroom and mom and dad's door was not closed tight and............
Lisa Kern:

"I hope that you've printed out a copy of this to give to your husband."

I surprised him with it! I know that he checks my blog a few times a day, so I posted it, and waited for him to see it.
How beautiful! I enjoyed this very much. In part, I'm sure, because I feel the same way about my wonderful guy.

It's nice to be so utterly lucky, isn't it?
Amy,

What you have is a blessing, thank you for sharing. Your love letter gives me hope. God bless you and your family!