Looking back on over 30 years of being married to a soul selfish woman I feel enormous gratitude. I have learned the value of taking the risk of being completely authentic and found that I am still loved, perhaps even more. What a relief it is to be this honest.
I asked Jane to marry me when she turned 50 and was 16 years into her soul selfish journey — the best decision of my life. She was (and still is) a vital, loving, sexy, fascinating and adventurous woman. Ten years earlier she had the guts to leave her 19-year marriage with four children and no career to return to, even though it meant facing severe financial difficulties. She had come to realize that she couldn’t remain in a marriage so damaging to her soul.
I had little understanding of the impact Jane would have on me. Nor did I have any idea how much we would evolve together. By being intimately aware of her sensuality, emotions and her soul, Jane inspired me to become increasingly aware of mine. I had no meaningful spiritual life, and no thought of even having a soul. My ego was the primary driver of my thoughts and behaviors. I relied solely on my intellect in making decisions which worked well in the business world, and I considered myself highly successful.
I spent the last 20 years of my career as a CEO and felt lost when I retired. Not knowing what to do with my days, I started taking on some household responsibilities. Jane’s gratitude for my help touched me. To be taken in and have my efforts so fully appreciated was a new and satisfying feeling. It has made me a far more generous and consistent giver.
Thirteen years ago we went to a Unity Christmas Eve service where an inspired minister so moved us that we continued to attend to this day. These experiences remind me to take the time to look inward and connect with my feelings and my soul. Decisions that used to be automatic now get more thought, as I check in to see if they are authentic. I see myself as a far more genuine man now than I ever was, precisely because I have this discipline.
Living with an inner directed woman can sometimes be challenging! Although I frequently get called on my avoidances and inauthenticities, which is no fun at all, I have the chance to think about and correct them. I now understand many of the beliefs I have been holding, and realize that some no longer serve me. I go to my heart far more often, gradually learning to become a more unconditionally loving man.
At the same time, I have been able to utilize my strengths to help Jane grow in areas where she has been more vulnerable. The culture and era in which she grew up restricted her opportunities to participate in the world. I encourage her to give more to herself, and to feel OK about saying “no” more often — even to me. I delight in supporting her success in the world and am proud of her accomplishments.
In 2014 Jane started writing her first book, a memoir. I asked to read a couple of chapters and found her writing and story-telling natural and moving, and asked if she would like my feedback. Her delight with my interest led us to an even deeper level of intimacy as I served as became her preliminary editor. Sometimes our discussions were long and passionate, yet they always ended with high-fives when resolved. Since her book has launched, I act as her business manager and marketing partner and am excited to be stretching myself with new projects and challenges that energize and stimulate me.
Jane’s decision to write her memoir when 78, and publish and promote it at 80 has changed both of our lives. Each morning when I awaken, I realize how blessed I am. Thirty years later, I am ever more grateful to be married to a soul selfish woman, and to be growing into a more soul selfish man.