By Charlotte Nergelius
Paris in January 2013.
I am in Paris.
Paris, of course, where else could I have written these lines. Paris where it all started…..
This year, 2013, I have been married for 28 years. Not only have I been married, I have been happily married for 28 years with a man who is exactly
28 years older than I am.
How could this odd couple of ours survive I ask myself and so might you ? Do I have any secrets to share with you on how to achieve this happy
longevity in a marriage ?
Teaching you anything on the subject would seem far too presumptuous of me. Let me just tell you my story…
My memories thus take me back to the summer of 1982 and my very first meeting with Per, my husband , in Paris.
Paris, the most romantic city in the world and our story started with the most unromantic thing there is i.e figures, accounting, balance sheets etc.
I was a young woman at the time, working for a French-Swedish auditing firm, on my way to become a chartered accountant. Per had a company back in Sweden and was living in Paris. However, he didn’t speak much French and was looking for a Swedish firm to take care of his French business. He came to see us and asked for our services. I was to take care of this client.
Was it love at first sight? Love is a big word but yes there was something very special between us from the very first moment we met. The French would call it a “complicité admirative “. A beautiful expression.
From the start Per gave me a huge responsibility. He must have trusted me I say to myself remembering all the hard work I put into these accounts.
Yes, we had an immediate and reciprocal trust and confidence in each other. Our accounting meetings and discussions rapidly evolved into much more
than just figures. Over long luncheons and dinners we got to know and appreciate each other.
I had this great confidence and well being and security with this man. I soon found myself discussing things, telling him things about myself and my life that I had never done before.
We were then as we are still, very frank with each other, there were no secrets between us just honesty and confidence.
In the summer of 1985 we got married. On our very own in the Swedish Church in Hamburg, Germany. Everybody was, of course, utterly against this wedding, ot at all ” comme il faut ” . People had a lot of opinions.
Maybe this made us stronger together. It was like ” Per and I against the world “.
I just remember our happiness.
So many years, so much happiness along with hard and difficult times as well.
How can I best describe this marriage to you?
Perhaps with three wonderful words. Three words are essential to me and important to remember every day in every relationship:
ADMIRE. DESIRE. INSPIRE
Per and I have always admired each other.
I can only speak for myself. I admire so many sides of his personality, his mental and physical strength, his tolerance, his unconventional way of being and thinking, his unconditional generosity, his great integrity and more…
It has not been easy living with such a strong personality but I have learn so much from my husband.
We have always desired each other, physically as well as emotionally.
I can be anywhere in the world, I still have the wish and the reflex to call Per in the evening and tell him about my day. We have never ceased to inspire each other. Though we have lived closed together there has always been space in between us for independence.
Per reads what I have written and I let his motto end my story:
Respect yourself and your partner, listen to each other, be honest and frank and trust one another.
To which I add:
Trust in life to let the right person come your way.
“Men dina fötter älskar jag,
blott för att de vandrade
på jorden över vind och vatten
tills de fann mig ”
Dina fötter av Pablo Neruda
*Charlotte Nergelius and Per Christensson are still living their love story and were kind enough to share it with us.