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My first blogs, you may recall, were dominated by this house: the Stone Age garden, with its petrified cacti and fallen lumber; the gutters hanging down like the beaks of hungry pterodactyls; the electricity fusing and sparking in the middle of the night so that it seemed as if, startled awake in our darkened cave, we were about to discover fire; the pool transformed into a primeval swamp from which, at any moment, some huge, scaly creature might rise to the surface and climb out onto the land….well, as I remember writing, in the end the house was tamed, refreshed, brightened, its spirits cleansed with holy smoke, its ghosts placated, and all by Rob, whose curses and blessings and sheer hard work made this place habitable again. And this week – exactly a month, Rob reminded me, after we decided to get married – I found a buyer who could see the potential, who was willing to take the house on as a renovation project, and I sold the place.

Without Rob’s effort and care, this would not have happened – or, if I had found someone willing to tackle the task, it would have been at a fire-sale price. If there is a price to be put, in this instance, on love, it is 50% more than a house sold without sweat equity.

Just writing this, and thinking about our marriage – not just the wedding we are planning, but the shared life we are building – I am reminded that grown-up love is about all of this: working together for our shared good; caring for and sacrificing for one another; sharing in the rewards.

There are other aspects, too, to a good marriage – but these, let it be said, are strictly between man and wife.

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