Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married for fifty years. That’s a long time–especially in Hollywood. When asked about the success of their marriage, Paul Newman said,
[Love and marriage requires] some combination of lust and respect and patience. And determination.
“Lust.” It’s not a crude word–it’s a romantic fact! It’s that physical connection that holds you together. I know a lot of people say, “I married my best friend,” and I understand what they mean by that: that they love spending time together, talking, and building the part of the relationship. But in my mind, “best friend” kind of discounts the romantic part the relationship, and I think that private, physical connection is too important to sideline.
When I hear “best friend,” I think buddy. But Mr. Johns isn’t my buddy. He’s my soulmate, my confidant, my resting place. When I slide into his arms and fit right under his chin, my heartbeat slows–I can feel it!–and we both exhale this sigh of relief. When we’re uncomfortable in social situations, we lean toward each other. Our physical connection–even on a heartbeat level–is like a seal around us.
Joanne Woodward famously said, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”
So maybe she saw it a little differently than her husband did, but you can’t say that their relationship didn’t have that spark! And without that elemental physical connection between the two of you, what’s the point? I think a marriage would be long and monotonous without it! Perhaps as the years go by, that part will wear a little thin as Mrs. Newman said, but I don’t think that my spot right under his chin where our heartbeats echo each other will ever change.