By Dr. Linda Seger, author of 15 books including The Alphabet Prayer, co-authored with her husband Peter Le Var.
This article was posted in Book Fun magazine this past Spring for our wedding anniversary in April. We recently attended a Quaker Wedding and it reminded us of our wedding. Thought we’d repost this for those who didn’t read it in the magazine.
April 12th, 2017 was our 30th wedding anniversary – 30 years married to Peter Hazen Le Var. Many people talk about their romances and spouses in terms of “love at first sight” and “we’re soul mates.” That’s not how I think about my dear Peter.
Peter and I met in Quaker Meeting May 3rd, 1983. Peter saw me across the crowded room and decided he wanted to get to know me. He thought I was cute. After Meeting, I met him briefly, and then quickly forgot I had met him. The next week I saw him in at Quaker Meeting and introduced myself, as I often do, with new people. He reminded me that we had met the week before. Clearly, he made no impression on me.
A week or two later, I invited him to join us for the Sunday brunch I usually had with my friends Cathleen and Linda. Perhaps we were all wondering if he’d be interested in one of us. After brunch, he asked me if I wanted to go out for breakfast that week, and I said “sure”, thinking he wanted to talk about Quakerism since I knew he was new to Quaker Faith and Practice. I was surprised to see we were talking about many other things, and somewhere during the breakfast, Peter said something that instantly caused me to respect him. I can remember the moment of experiencing this depth of his character.
We began to date, but more as friends. After six weeks of some dinners and movies, I wondered if I was interested in him in more than a friendly way. I finally asked, “Are you ever going to kiss me?” I figured if he kissed me and it was so-so, then I’d figure this was a friendship. If it felt good, then maybe it was more. He asked, “Do you think it’s time?” I replied “yes”. After all, it was six weeks – yes, it was time. And it was good!
And yet, there was one problem that still existed between us. In many movies, we often see the rather plain woman with glasses. She takes off her glasses and turns into a ravishing beauty and then the man falls in love. Well, Peter had these Henry Kissinger type glasses that made him look like a nerd, and detracted from his attractiveness. I was having trouble getting past the glasses. Finally, one day I said, “I know this is really superficial of me, but I’m not sure I can fall in love with you with those glasses.” Now, most men at that point would have figured I was superficial and not worthy of another date. But Peter asked, “Do you want me to get new glasses?” I said “yes” figuring that would be the proof of whether I liked him, or loved him. He got new glasses and I instantly fell in love. (And I’d be the first to admit that was one of the most superficial moments in my life.)
His first sort of proposal came in the middle of the film, Witness. During the barn raising scene, he turned to me and asked “When we get married, could we have a Quaker Wedding?” That was the first time it changed from “if” to “when”. The Amish from Witness and the Quakers are sometimes confused, but Quakers once wore Plain Dress like the Amish, and they have similar beliefs in terms of Pacifism and Simplicity. But we Quakers are modern – yes, we use electricity, and I am certainly not all that good at Simplicity.
Now, it’s more than 30 years later. Peter is the most caring person I’ve met. He loves to do things for others. He’s kind, supportive, sweet, and thinks I’m prettier than Annette Benning (I told him no one is prettier than Annette Benning but he insists! Who am I to argue with that?) He is also very direct and I’ve learned from him not to be so shy about asking questions or being direct. He’s not afraid of people’s problems -perhaps because he’s a massage therapist and acupuncturist. If someone is hurting, or limping, or clearly having problems, rather than shying away from talking about it, Peter will take an opening and give them safe ground for their response.
A few years ago, one of our fellow Quakers was dying, and clearly in the last days of her life. Peter asked what she was thinking about as she neared death – a very direct question. Kathy told him that nobody asked her that question, but she was very grateful that she could talk about it with someone.
Many years ago we were visiting my friend Susie and her sister. Susie had told her sister that Peter was direct, and the sister voiced some concerns, because Susie was small and petite and the sister was not. She expected Peter to comment on her size. Instead, Peter said, “you have the most beautiful eyes.” She didn’t expect direct could also be a very direct compliment – which Peter often gives.
Before I met Peter, I decided I wanted someone calm and comfortable – someone who wasn’t overly dramatic, didn’t make a fuss, didn’t fly off the handle, didn’t always have to have the spotlight on him, wasn’t controlling or dishonest or manipulative and supported what I felt was my Calling. That meant that Peter wouldn’t get upset because I was off to Moscow or Dubai for 2 weeks, and would care for me if I needed help – as I expected to care for him (and we’ve both had to take care of each other through various medical problems through the years.)
My love song to dear Peter is the chorus of one of Joni Harm’s Western songs:
Like an old pair of boots that slip right on your feet,
Or a stained up Stetson that shades ya from the heat.
My favorite things are broken in
they’ve been with me through thick and thin
and I’d never trade them in on something new,
Darling that’s the way I feel about you!
Dr. Linda Seger comes from a long line of Lutheran ministers, missionaries and theologians. She has three MA degrees including two in Theology and one in drama, and a Th.D. in Theology and Drama. Linda is internationally known for her 9 books on screenwriting and 6 on spirituality. In 1970, she joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) where she met her husband Peter. Linda and Peter were married in 1987 in the Santa Monica Quaker Meeting and are now members of the Colorado Springs Friends Meeting.