Thirty-two years ago on our Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend, I was shocked to hear that love is a decision. I thought love was a feeling. I thought love was like the head-over-heels thing you see in movies. As beautiful as my love with Ed was, it was not love at first sight. We were good friends for three years, best friends for one year, dated for two years and were engaged for a year. Our wedding day, June 21, 1986, was the seven-year anniversary of the day we first met. This June would have been our 35th wedding anniversary.
Eight months after we were married, my mom died. I froze my heart to numb the horrible pain of losing her. On our weekend, I realized I was pushing Ed away emotionally, because I was afraid that if my love for Ed continued to grow, it would hurt unbearably to lose him. I had to make the decision to take the risk of loving Ed even if it meant that losing him could crush me. On that weekend, I made the decision to love Ed in spite of my fear.
Throughout our marriage, Ed and I kept making decisions to love. It got us through the many ups and downs of marriage. On that weekend, I decided to love Ed with my entire being and not hold back. Ed decided to love me unconditionally.
Someone asked me if I knew it would hurt this much to lose Ed if I would have loved him as much as I did. They were surprised to hear me say, “No.” Then I said, “I would have loved him even more.”
Now I’m making the decision to trust that the powerful love we shared has the power to heal me.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug. 1, 2020. In honor of what would have been their 35th wedding anniversary on June 21, Leo has decided to donate $100 application fees to the first 35 couples that sign up for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend Nov. 12-14 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Couples can apply at www.wwme.org and use the discount code ED&LEO35.
To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.