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Keeping the flame alive

Nina London and her husband, Bill Rosser (Photograph by Robert Rosser)

How to keep the flame of love alive after years together as a couple?

Romance, affection, support … there are so many aspects, but one that is rarely mentioned among all the wellness and self-help advice is something Bill and I discovered in the very early days of our relationship 11 years ago: adventure.

It is so important that couples have an interest, a sport, a passion they share and pursue together. Often couples drift into separate spheres where they pursue happiness independently of each other and their time together evolves into mere mutual problem-solving. Practicalities replace the fun and excitement which drew them together at the start.

On my first date with Bill, he took me five miles offshore to the beautiful shallow reefs of Bermuda’s West End, handed me a pair of fins and a mask and snorkel, and said, “Try this. I know you were a competitive swimmer, it will be easy for you.” I looked at the calm assurance and certainty in his face, put on the gear, and slipped over the side. It was a moment that changed my life.

I plunged into a galaxy of tiny, shimmering fish, countless minnows darting inches from my mask. I gasped through my snorkel in astonishment. The sun caught each tiny minnow like a mirror and, for a moment, I felt I had entered a maelstrom of quicksilver energy. Thousands. Millions. The school extended beyond my vision and as I swam it parted around me like a veil, just beyond my reaching arms.

Soft purple corals with candelabra branches swayed in the mild surge, back and forth above the shallow reef. A school of rainbow runners darted out of the blue depths and raced towards me as if shot from the bow of Artemis, a silver flurry of small, perfect, streamlined fish.

My mind was blank. No thoughts intruded. I was in the moment and I gave myself wholeheartedly to this. I felt Bill’s hand in mine and we swam together slowly; he gently showed me his world, his passion, and I learnt more about him in those moments than a hundred dinner conversations could ever reveal.

Thus, began a journey we are still on together. Eleven years later, I am a strong, confident, experienced, ocean swimmer. We swim in our mask, fins and snorkels almost daily from the beach to the breaking white water of Bermuda’s South Shore barrier reef.

Last week, the ocean was rough. I looked at Bill. He shrugged and smiled. I smiled back, and off we went. It was challenging. When we reached the breakers, the waves boiled over the shallow reefs in a chaos of whitewater creating currents that swept us back and forth. We had to flow with the sea, kicking at just the right moments to keep us off the rocks or being swept through to the open ocean.

Amid all the turbulence, Bill was looking for something. I knew what it was; it was his friend. From underneath an overhanging ledge, a 30-pound jack, sleek and powerful, swam out directly to him. They spun together in the current, sometimes almost close enough to touch, a mystical dance of man and fish.

I have seen it many times over the past three summers. It is the same fish. They recognise each other. They were playing together. It was not about food. It was about fun. The current washed Bill through the cut in the reefs and into the deep water. His friend followed him. They swam back together, pushed by an incoming wave.

I watched Bill. He was so comfortable in himself, moving effortlessly in such perfect harmony; I knew he was deeply happy and just where he wanted to be in this big, wide world. I knew I was safe with him, that we were safe together. We had each other’s backs and I loved him with the same passion as when we met so long ago.

If a couple can find something they both really enjoy and then do it together, it fans the flame of love and keeps it burning brightly through dark times and light. I know the kind of swimming that Bill and I do is only for a dedicated few. We feel so lucky we found it here in Bermuda in our own backyard. Perhaps for you it’s travel, or music, or long walks together, or volunteering for a good cause … only the two of you can find it!

When you do, it can be a bond that sustains your love for ever.

Nina London is the founder of Mermaid Wellness Centre for Women and a certified Chi Gong and Laughter Yoga teacher. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their bodies and mind. Contact her at www.mermaidwellness.com and on Instagram: mermaid_wellness

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Published June 22, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated June 22, 2023 at 11:19 am)

Keeping the flame alive

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