Stages of Love: Accepted Love

Editor’s Note: More than 137 years ago, my great grandparents Amand and Estelle Fey received “The Stages of Love” as a wedding present. That sweet series of five painted postcards hung in their house for 68 years, until Estelle died at 87 and Amand followed two weeks later. He was 90.

My mom loved the artwork as a child and brought it home with her after her grandpa’s funeral. She has hung it on the wall of every house she has lived in ever since. In fact, it’s hanging there now.

I saw it as I visited recently, and I thought it would make a perfect series for this blog.

So, for five posts, I’m going to write about C. Clyde Squires’ five stages of love. They are: Mother Love, Puppy Love, Accepted Love, Binding Love and Undying Love. On Monday I covered Mother Love. Wednesday, I wrote about Puppy Love. Today I am featuring:

Accepted Love

I heard the whispers when my sister Kathy and her now husband Keith announced their engagement. But I’m a big fan of #finlkat, so I brushed them off.

“Did you know?” some people said in that just-north-of-gossip way people do. Then their voices dropped a little lower. “He doesn’t like cheese!”

When that admittedly startling revelation failed to raise an objection from me, they leaned in a little closer.

“What will the pizza in their house look like?!”

On one level, it’s a valid point. I mean, for the love of gouda, we live in Wisconsin! I will never understand how anyone can pass up on an extra melty grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter Saturday afternoon. Or, even politely decline a nice, stretchy piece of lasagna — I always add extra cheese to my recipe.

But, isn’t pizza the perfect universal example of celebrated individualism within a shared social setting? Pizza IS marriage if you think about it. You can share a pie and still enjoy your individual preferences. Leave the cheese off half, it certainly doesn’t affect your own ability to woof down a gooey slice.

Given the opportunity, I always order a fresh mushroom pizza and almost everyone in my house says, “Fresh mushroom? Gross!” They’re mostly pepperoni people. Still, when my pizza arrives piping hot and not greasy at all, everyone wants to try a slice. And, they like it. Every time.

That’s the acceptance stage of love, when you recognize that your differences shouldn’t scare you because they’re going to make you both better, more interesting people.

When I think of all that Keith has brought to our family — the way he maintains his dignity in any situation, his extreme devotion to and generous definition of family, his sense of style and sizable stockpile of sophisticated suits — I am very glad my sister didn’t listen to any naysayers who tried to warn her about life with a cheese-o-phobe.

They’ve been married for eight years, been together for decades longer, and are walking tributes to their wedding vows — especially the in sickness and health part.

Here’s to the two of them and to any couple brave enough to recognize potential in differences, and resilience in love.

My most recent photo of the dapper Finley folks. You might think it’s easy to take a picture of these three photogenic people. But, I give you GIF evidence that it is not:
Someone always has to jump in the frame, someone else was shooting flash pictures with his new Christmas camera behind them and a third interloper was merely relaxing while keeping an eye on the second interloper. Still, he was in the frame. Being the family photog is not as easy as it looks.
They may not agree on cheese, but they do share an appreciation for good music and they both love Mile of Music.
Generally, the best dressed couple at any shindig, this is them at my mom’s 80th birthday party.
Kathy looking flirty at her 50th birthday party.
Annual Christmas shot. This one was from two years ago and I need to point out that there is a railing in front of Charlie’s mouth. He is not missing a front tooth.

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