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I sometimes wonder what makes couples think they've found true love. Is it the deep attraction they have for each other? Or perhaps the feeling that they've found their soul mate? What exactly is a soul mate? We hear that phrase so often these days. Is it someone you can talk to about anything and everything? Someone you can't live without? Someone who shares your values, morals and desires? I'm not sure there is a real answer for this question. I do, however, know my answer to this question.

This past year I've had several health issues and have needed three surgeries. The first surgery was an emergency repair for an incarcerated hernia, the second for a gallbladder removal, and the third to repair the hernia which came back. All together, I was in the hospital for about ten days.

My husband was a pillar of strength for me during this time. He sat by my side each and every time, talking to me and trying to ease my nerves … I was terrified that something would go wrong. My last surgery was supposed to take place at 7 a.m., but was delayed because the doctor had an emergency situation, so it didn't happen until 2 p.m. —- you can imagine the stress I was feeling, sitting and waiting all those hours. I don't think I could have done it alone…the waiting, especially when you're nervous, can be excruciating.

After the surgeries, my husband was there — holding the bedpan as I vomitted, helping me to get up, walk around and go to the bathroom. He would arrive at the hospital first thing in the morning and leave well after visiting hours were over. I felt so guilty because I knew he was exhausted, but he refused to leave me alone. Lying in the hospital bed, I often thought "this is really true love"… someone who's willing to put aside his own comfort to help care for me. I was reminded of our wedding vows … "for better and for worse, in sickness and in health…etc."

I know I shouldn't generalize, but I've seen so many young couples today who separate at the first sign of any trouble. They don't look at the big picture. True love means that your partner is there for you no matter what happens, helping you even in the most difficult situations. Love shouldn't be measured by the material gifts you're given, or by the romantic dinners out to fancy restaurants.We recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, and with each year that passes, I see how dedicated my husband is to me and I feel so lucky to have found my soul mate and true love.

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